Culture
Young Georgian Painters Telling about Soviet Heritage
28 November, 2013
Georgian National Shalva Amiranashvili Museum of Fine Arts opened the exhibition “Heritage” on 14 November. Since early 1990s, like any post-Soviet country, Georgia has been re-defining and re-constructing its own historical identity, in reference to not only idealized ancient history and mythological “traditions” but also past and current experience.
The exhibition intends to raise awareness of importance of cultural, social and personal heritage as a continuous living experience, as well as critical analyses of the glorious past.
It showcases works of
Georgian artists based in the US and Europe, in dialogue with a special guest. Among the participants are Cristian Tonhaiser (Buenos Aires), Levan Mindiashvili (working between Buenos Aires and New York), Uta Bekaia (New York), Irakli Bugiani (Dusseldorf), and Tato Akhalkatsishvili (Tbilisi). These artists belong to a generation born in late years of the Soviet regime; they personally experienced intense transitions between various mentalities and political structures. That experience is reflected in their works.
An important part of the project is also the educational program, which includes open talks with participating artists, scholars and experts. Also, artists themselves will prepare special guided tours for students, including those at university level.
Lela Tsitsuashvili, Coordinator of the exhibition, commented, “I do believe that the Georgian National Museum has taken a very important direction, one that showcases the artworks of Georgian artists working abroad. These painters are quite successful abroad, and we are glad that we have a chance to present these artworks to a Georgian audience who are quite poorly acquainted with their creative works. This is an exhibition that represents the historic heritage via contemporary artistic media.”
Levan Mindiashvili, the organizer of the project - and who was presenting three countries - mentioned in his speech, “The idea was to remember our near history, after we were born, and while we have lived, too. We wanted to make it more global, around the concept of ‘heritage,’ and therefore invited our foreign friends. It was interesting to cooperate with the rest of the painters - who have different aesthetics - on one and the same topic.”
Tato Akhalkatsishvili presented a work with a theme concerning the Soviet Union and abortion. “This is a metaphor of the ceased dialogue with people who should have been born,” he explained.
Cristian Tonhaiser, the only foreign painter, from Argentina, said, “The name of my installation is Nemezis – a Latin word that means the divine punishment for sin. I was born in Argentina but I am the child of Italian and Slovak parents, so my subject of research is identity as a leitmotif of my creativity.”
The project is supported by the Georgian National Museum, TBC Art Area, and Rustavi 2. The exhibition will run until 24th of November.

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