I’ve recently returned from Tbilisi in Georgia where I was helping to set up a Samkura exhibition as part of Artisterium V, the 5th International Contemporary Art Exhibition in the Georgian capital. There was so much art related events going on there that I really don’t know where to start.
It was a 10 day programme of art exhibitions, performances, presentations and workshops in venues that were spread accross the city, from the Georgian National Museum, to the State Silk Museum, the National Parliamentary Library of Georgia, the Museum of Georgian Literature, the Rustaveli Theatre, I’m sure I’ve left some out, the Goethe Institute, The Gala Gallery, Kino Square, the Eliava Market and various other open-air locations.
The particular exhibition that I was working on, called the Samkura project, was located in the Tbilisi State Academy of Arts, one of the 3 original state art schools that were established during the Soviet era. To say that this building was in need of refurbishment would be an understatement but then there were parts of it that appeared like the palace of some fairytale prince, whilst the exhibition space itself was a modern white cube. See above.
‘Samkura’ is a cultural exchange programme that links countries on the periphery of Europe – Ireland, Greece, Portugal, Georgia and Armenia. It is organised by Cló in Co. Donegal and there are partner organisations in each of the participating countries. Generally speaking, artists from each of the countries have gone on residencies to the other countries and have collaborated and organised exhibitions and workshops together with local artists.
The overall theme of Artisterium V is: “The Protest that Never Ends” and, according to the curator Magda Guruli, the theme offered an opportunity to research and showcase artistic and theoretical reflections on the wide range of protest forms that we are currently experiencing around the world. The programme of events also aims to provide a platform for exploring how a creative work might once again become a “catalyst for change”.
There were many interesting presentations, perhaps the most significant being one by Vitali Komar ( who has collaborated with many international artists, including Andy Warhol ) and indeed, artist Claire Halpin and myself also gave talks about our work.
One of the pieces that I installed in the exhibition was an arrangement of drawings on cardboard that I had been developing since my exhibition in the Bourn Vincent Gallery in the University of Limerick earlier this year. I had extended it to include drawings relating to the political situation in Georgia. I called it: “Where there is art, there is Hope”. See below, one of the new additions…
See the catalogue at: www.artisterium.org
Also see a great article about it at