A Hippo Clad in Shorts and Slippers May Appear in Tbilisi
23 July, 2015
A Hippo Clad in Shorts and Slippers May Appear in Tbilisi
What’s the connection between a Georgian sculptor, the Tbilisi Flood and Sandra Bullock?

During the natural disaster in Tbilisi, a hippo that escaped the flooded zoo went for a walk around the nearby Heroes’ Square. Photos of him unabashedly strolling through the wrecked square have found much affection on the internet – to the point that he might soon become the city’s symbol.

“Tbilisi needs a friend, not just a symbolic hippo.”


The tragedy was still the talk of the
city when people suggested that sculptures of two animals – the hippo named Beglar and the white lion cub Shumba should decorate the zoo. But at present the main concern of the zoo is how to provide winter shelter to the animals that survived the flood, including the hippo himself.
Georgian Journal has recently discovered that Niko Abazadze, a Georgian artist living in the U.S., is also thinking about Beglar’s fate. He’s even made a model, which, in case Tbilisi’s authorities allow it, will serve as the basis for erecting the hippo’s sculpture. We contacted Niko, who eagerly and with pleasure explained to us his concept of a bronze hippo sitting on a concave bench:

“I am not going to take any money for the sculpture – instead, I want the commission fee to be used for the zoo’s restoration. Actually, Beglar’s current dwelling is inadequate to his needs, so let’s use the fee to build him a normal one.”

– Tbilisi needs a friend, not just a symbolic hippo. I designed one of the limbs of the hippo – who is envisioned sitting on a bench, clad in shorts and slippers - in such a way that whoever desires can make him hold flowers or a glass for cheering, or sit next to it and take a picture using a selfie stick. Currently I am thinking of where to place the sculpture. It should be easily accessible for everybody while not exceeding the hippo’s natural size. I’ll most likely have to consult an architect on this issue. In the end, it boils down to Tbilisi City Hall permitting the sculpture to be erected.
If the permission to proceed is issued, I am not going to take any money for the sculpture – instead, I want the commission fee to be used for the zoo’s restoration. Actually, Beglar’s current dwelling is inadequate to his needs, so let’s use the fee to build him a normal one.
Even though I have already made a model, I don’t insist that the sculpture is to be erected under my authorship. Maybe other artists are working on a similar concept as well. I think it will be appropriate to announce a tender and select the best work. Unfortunately, emigrants rarely participate in such activities due to lack of information. There are many talented Georgians living abroad, and their involvement may be useful for building both the city and the country.

“I have pleasant memories of my relationship with Sandra and her father. Charmed by her personality, I gifted her with a sculpture named “Entreaty.”’

– The model you made has a bird sitting on the hippo’s head. It’s a snipe, which is a well-known “dentist” in Africa. Is it intended as a cleaner of Beglar’s teeth?

– Yes, it’s Beglar’s snipe. However, in my sculptures, birds have a different significance. They are my calling card that distinguishes my sculptures from others. Almost every work of mine has a different bird sitting on it. The birds serve as the expression of the inner state of their “masters.”

– As the word goes, the fate of an artist is difficult regardless of where he is; it doesn’t seem easy to achieve success in America, either.

– Here, just like everywhere else, it is very difficult to sell works of art, especially sculptures. But I have plenty of commissions. I belong to small number of those lucky artists who can make their living from their profession. But in the beginning it was not easy: I painted on napkins in cheap cafes and then I managed to make ends meet by sketching portraits in the street. Then, commissions slowly began trickling in.
Once I was hired to restore and reconstruct old fireplaces for Sandra Bullock. Then she asked me to restore an antique table, and then other orders followed suit. In the final count, I ended up keeping a key to Sandra Bullock’s home in my pocket for three years. I have pleasant memories of my relationship with Sandra and her father. Charmed by her personality, I gifted her with a sculpture named “Entreaty.”

geotv.ge

geotv.ge

geotv.ge

Print
Other Stories
Jvari Monastery closed for tourists
Jvari Monastery is temporarily closed for tourists.
Anita Rachvelishvili recognized as the best Verdi mezzo-soprano by Riccardo Muti
The New York Times has recently published an article about Georgian opera singer Anita Rachvelishvili.
Georgia to be a guest of honor in Paris in 2021
According to the director of the National Book center in Georgia Dea Metreveli, Georgia was offered to be a guest of honor at the annual book event in Paris in 2021.
Unknown painting of Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani uncovered in Georgia
Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani is among the most famous Georgian public figures.
Georgian opera singer Anita Rachvelishvili crowned as best classical music artist by the New York Times
In its end-of-year review about the best classical music of 2018, the newspaper frenetically celebrates Anita Rachvelishvili from Tbilisi.
Niko Pirosmani’s Georgian woman with Lechaki sold for 2 230 000 GBP
Niko pirosmani’s painting Georgian woman with Lechaki was sold at Sotheby’s for 2 230 000 GBP.
Nikortsminda Cathedral renovation works to finish successfully
Nikortsminda Cathedral is a Georgian Orthodox Church, located in Nikortsminda, Racha region of Georgia.
Georgian film “8 Minutes” wins 10 nominations on FICOCC
Georgian film “8 Minutes” became the winner for the 10 nominations on the Five Continents International Film Festival.
Ajika granted the status of an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Georgia
The traditional Megrelian and Abkhazian technology of Ajika, Georgian spicy sauce was inscribed on the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Georgia list.
Mountains, cheese and the colors of the national flag – these are the most obvious things that the two small countries share. But there is more to it.
Claudio Margottini about Vardzia
Vardzia is a cave monastery in Samtskhe-Javakheti. Queen Tamar ordered the construction of Vardzia in the twelfth century.
International Model United Nations to be held in Tbilisi
For the first time In Georgia, International Model United Nations, organized by Kant’s Academy, will be held in Tbilisi.
Charity project COATS to help 369 vulnerable children
The 9th Community Outreach Project COATS 2018 will be hosted by Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel on Sunday, November 18th, 2018
“We try to make Georgia and its culture better known to the Swiss people”
The Swiss based society “Friends of Georgia” celebrates this year its 30 anniversary.
London hosted Qvevri Wine Festival
London hosted Qvevri Wine Festival on the 8th of November.
Shota Rustaveli among the world's top 30 writers
Shota Rustaveli is among the top 30 writers on www.ranker.com
Rituals related to wine-making in old Georgia
In old times, wine cellars used to be considered as a sacred place where certain rituals took place.
Niko Pirosmani paintings in Vienna, in the Albertina Museum
The Albertina Museum in Vienna, Austria has organized a solo exhibition of the works of Niko Pirosmani.
The Fourth Official Ceremony of the Welcome to Georgia! National Tourism Awards
On December 17, 2018 Rustaveli Theatre will host the most remarkable event of the Tourism and Hospitality industry of Georgia
Mtatsminda Panthenon – a necropolis of great Georgians
Mtatsminda Pantheon is a necropolis in Tbilisi, Georgia.
The portrait of the Georgian King Teimuraz II returns to Homeland
The portrait of the King Teimuraz II belongs to the collection of Bagrationi Dynasty
Georgian song Suliko performed at the Frankfurt Buchmesse 2018
Georgia was granted an incredible title this year.
Representatives of Georgian wine companies assess Georgian Wine Festival 2018
Georgian Wine Festival 2018 gives unique possibility to around 50 companies to present their wine to hundreds of Georgians and tourists.
Representatives of the government attend Georgian Wine Festival 2018
“Georgian Wine Festival 2018 is a celebration of a successful Rtveli (vintage)” – says minister of Environment and Natural Resources Protection of Georgia Levan Davitashvili.
PHOTO OF THE DAY

Exchange Rates
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
19.01.2019
20.01.2019
USD
1
USD
2.6629
2.6629
EUR
1
EUR
3.0368
3.0368
GBP
1
GBP
3.4463
3.4463
RUB
100
RUB
4.0103
4.0103