Posts with tag Georgia

Georgian – Swedish Cultural Exchange. Last day.

Art Villa Garikula is a contemporary Art center, placed in a village around one hour drive from Tbilisi. In the lack of infrastructure, Artist unions, and of space for Artistic work in the cities, Artists and curators try to fill this gap by taking initiatives and run projects. Many small projects start, to research, investigate to try to understand how to move in this new era, how to change.

The center is not a small project. It’s a big main building and a smaller one next to it, in constant need of renovation. A lot has been done already. There are bedrooms and studios, and a large garden to use for Artistic work, tenting or putting up exhibitions. And having parties. Art students and professional Artists come from the city to explore work forms and expressions, or for just relaxing. A new Georgian utopia is needed – Art Villa Garikula is where this new utopia will be formed, they tell us.

The visit to Georgia is part of the project EKAE 2009. People from Art, film, literature, publishing, cultural journals, education and crafts in Sweden and Georgia have met during a week in Tbilisi, having working meetings to form mutual project ideas within each area. The projects are planned to run during 2009-2010. Read more in posts May 12, May 11, May 9, and March 10.

Read also the article ”Crunch time in the Southern Caucasus”, written by Ivan Sukhov, Journalist at the Moscow newspaper Vremya Novostei, published at the OpenDemocracy website.

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13 maj, 2009

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Georgian – Swedish Cultural Exchange. Continuation.

”We need a new Georgian Utopia”. Magda Guruli, Curator and Artist, meet us in her  home in Tbilisi. 1970s and 80s was a very artisticly interesting period in Georgia, she tells us. Many interesting initiatives with artistic high quality were taken. After the Soviet period, this infrastructure fell  and everything needs to be rebuilt. A whole new infrastructure is needed. This takes time. Perhaps the gap between systems will allow for new ideas, a transformed artistic scene?  ”In the system of Art, we are still in the mentality of Soviet. We need something completely new”.

Many Artist have their own NGO, as the platform to work from. They have their offices at home. The driving force is to do Art with high quality, but also be part of transformation of society.

Human Rights Center is a center working with issues like freedom of speach, discrimination, injustice. Through newsletters, research, workshops, training and projects they want to work for mutual understandning between ethnic groups in Georgia and put the focus on injustices performed by the Georgian government. Informing the public is as important as working with target groups like refugees. They offer services like legal support and counselling in entrepreneurship.

”Through Art you can make the changes otherwise not possible.”

The visit to Georgia is part of the project EKAE2009, run by Natverkstan and financed by the Swedish Institute.

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12 maj, 2009

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Georgian – Swedish Cultural Exchange. Continuation.

The heroes survived. They were supposed to be killed after the film was made, but the film maker just couldn’t. The animated dolls were characters, personalities, so how could you kill them? Instead he hid them. After each movie he hid them in his house with the risk of getting caught. Intellectual property rights in the 70s, the government was afraid that the dolls would be used in another movie and they would have troubles with angry doll makers who wouldn’t get paid. Now we are able to watch them in a small, one-room museum. Beautiful hand-made dolls, made in Russia in the 70s for animated film made in Georgia. The most known is Bombora, a character who just wanted to go to school and in his frustration for not being able to sets fire on things. Now this character is posing over the entrance in the newly made amusement park at Tatsminda.

Wato Tsereleti, a well-known curator and Artist is describing the contemporary Art scene for us on a café. A major problem, many Artist tell us is space and funding. There is no space for Art or large events. In October the conference Artisterium is taking place, and a difficult part has been to find where to have it. A wonder, really, since Tbilisi is still very much a city in transition and there are many empty spaces. Wato Tsereleti has finally been able to find a locality, and the idea is to restore it into an Art center.

Many meetings has been taking place among visual Artists and Art education, between colleagues in the literature and publishing scene in Sweden and Georgia, as well as performance and film. Bakur Sulakauri Publishing is the biggest publishing house in Georgia, publishing around 200 books every year. They are meeting with colleagues at the publishing house Tranan in Sweden, together with writers, to discuss on how they can work together. The idea is that each Art form will come up with project ideas for future cooperation and exchange.

And as we walk to all these meetings, have  discussions between colleagues in the Art world, we pass the cells at Rustaveli Avenue and get reminded of the situation in this country. What is it we see in the streets? At Rustaveli, near the Parliament and Freedom Square the streets are filled with cells, small plastic covered boxes where people stay all day, all night in protest of the government. It’s difficult to analyse or understand what the cells stand for. Is it an organized protest of a well defined opposition? Or a more a protest of angry inhabitants showing their miscontent of the president? Or is it a show put forward by a few people with economic resources wanting to overthrow the president and take power? Perhaps it’s an Art show, or an installation? We get different versions, different stories. But it is clear that many people are very tired of the situation, of the threats of war, and long for coming back to a normal situation.

The visit is part of the project EKAE 2009, run by Natverkstan and financed by the Swedish Institute.

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11 maj, 2009

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Georgian – Swedish Cultural Exchange. Tbilisi Day 1.

”Meeting can sometimes be more dramatic than showing a Bergman-movie.”

We are at the Swedish Embassy in Georgia, Tbilisi, talking about the project Exchange of Knowledge and Experience (EKAE) 2009 just starting in Tbilisi. Johan Öberg, from Faculty of Art at Göteborg University, describes the importance of combining working with events with meetings, working with processes is a working method for the project EKAE 2009. Today, Saturday, four intense working days start where a delegation of thirteen people from literature, Art, Art faculty at the Göteborg University, publishing houses, and film in Sweden has travelled to Tbilisi to meet colleagues within these areas to discuss future exchange and a possible event in Sweden 2009–2010.

A pilot group travelled to Tbilisi to prepare and met with visual Artists, textile Artists, Theatre and Film Instute at the Tbilisi University, publishing houses. Beyond the geopolitical situation and the internal wrestling in Georgia, cultural practitioners meet and continue their work over boarders. We listen to the textile Artist, Nino Kipshidze, working with the new flow of immigrants from South Ossetia in Gori, visual Artist Anna Riaboshenko from the network Tram, planning projects with the neoghbouring countries and North Caucasus to raise the status of Artists, and Levan Khetaguri at the Film and Theatre Institute on educating young filmers.

The project is run by Nätverkstan and financed by the Swedish Institute. More posts will be put up on this blog as the project continues. The project is a continuation of EKAE 2004, read more here.

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9 maj, 2009

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Georgian – Swedish Cultural Exchange

Nätverkstan has been cooperating with cultural organisations and Artists in Georgia since 2000. We are now planning a continuation together with artists, editors of cultural journals, authors, film festivals and young dramatists and play writes.

Yesterday the first seminar was held in the localities of Nätverkstan in Göteborg, Sweden. Torgny Hinnemo, journalist, expert on Georgian situation and active in Georgia since 1971, held a presentation followed by a few words of the project presented by Project Manager Anders T Carlsson. The evening ended by the author Torbjörn Elensky reading from a book written by the Georgian author Aka Morchiladze; and author and dramatist Malin Lindroth reading Georgian author Anna Kordzaia-Samadashvili. Wato Tsereteli, curator and Artist in Georgia, presented contemporary Georgian Artists via Skype.

In May a group from Nätverkstan together with Swedish authors, artists, dramatists, people from cultural organisations and film festivals are travelling to Georgia to meet colleagues and discuss future exchange and event in Sweden during 2009-2010. The project is financed by the Swedish Institute.

Read more about Nätverkstan’s work in Georgia: EKAE Project.pdf. One interesting article on the situation in Georgia written by Torgny Hinnemo is found in Svenska Dagbladet (August 2008). Photos are from the Art exchange in Tbilisi in 2004.

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10 mars, 2009

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Lotta Lekvall
Director of Nätverkstan, a Cultural Organisation in Sweden. Nätverkstan provides services …

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