The Refugee Artists’ Exhibition
07 October, 2010

I had hardly entered the Karvasla Exhibition Hall downtown Tbilisi September 24, 2010 that my attention was immediately attracted by the photo exhibits on the left-side wall.

I slowly walked along the lengthy lane of pictures and peeped into every single photograph taken by the refugee artists and reflecting the life of refugees from Apkhazeti and Samachablo (a.k.a. South Ossetia). Sadness, grief and misery expressed in those weather-beaten faces, full of privation and hardship, were what immediately attacked my moistened eyes.

This has all happened in Georgia, to Georgians . . . And the pain is still there . . .

The Georgian Association of young Economists, in partnership with EU, Oxfam GB, Welfare Foundation and the Association of Physically Challenged Mothers & Children, organized the exhibition of the works of the refugee artists in the Tbilisi History Museum. This wonderful art event was titled ‘Together, we will make it happen’. When we say ‘refugee artists’ we mean the young painters, photographers and the applied arts specialists, who were compelled to leave Apkhazeti and Samachablo together with their parents and siblings as a result of armed hostilities which took place on those Georgian territories not very long ago. These people are today living in the regions of Georgia like Mtskheta-Tianeti, Shida Kartli, Kakheti and Samegrelo. The event is meant to promote the process of integration of refugees and their self-realization. Representatives of various governmental and nongovernmental organizations, local administration, international bodies operating in Georgia, mass-media, privately owned companies, students, actors and many other public figures made brief speeches, greeting the participants in the event. This kind of activities do their great job of reminding Georgia that the people who were displaced against their will make the organic part of the entire Georgian society and the talented individuals among the refugees are a huge asset to our culture and economy. Certainly, there are serious problems of settlement, housing, schooling, health management and employment among the refugees, but the life continues accompanied with all its assets and liabilities. The exhibition was a genuine demonstration of talent and the celebration of creativity. No matter how hard the history is turning the inevitable cruelties on Georgia, its people never stop generating kindness and beauty. This is what Georgia is all about. Enemies of our nation have many times tried to destroy what the Georgian people have built throughout history, but the self-same history remembers quite well how resilient our culture and national character have always been. Without an iota of exaggeration, the exhibition I am talking about is a clear example of all this. And Georgia’s Young Economists have made a very meaningful move to alert our society once again towards national phenomena like the one which has just been described.

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