Life-N-Style Art Festival to Become an Export 

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The FINANCIAL — Following exhibitions held in Batumi and Racha, the international print art festival Life-N-Style will be taking place in Tbilisi. The exhibition will be held in three different art spaces. Thus far the festival has been positive received by visitors. As the organizers stressed, the mission of the festival has been maintained, which includes the popularization of print art and bringing commercial value to it. Future plans of the festival include holding events abroad.

International print festival Life-N-Style, organized by Art Caucasus, successfully ran a workshop as the first part of the project in July 2016. The workshop brought together over 30 prominent Georgian artists of different generations. Representatives of the ‘80s, ‘90s and millennials were among the participants, the majority of them renowned Georgian artists. Over fifteen copies of each work have already been published. The festival was held in Batumi from 17 August-7 September. Together with Georgian artists, representatives of the US, England, Germany and Turkey also participated. After Batumi, artworks were exhibited in Racha. This time the destination of the festival will be Tbilisi. Print artworks will be exhibited in TBC’s art gallery, Rooms Hotel Tbilisi and “Fabrika”. This year the festival is also invited in Telavi and Kutaisi.

“The project has been quite successful due to its format, location and time. Starting the project off in the Black Sea coastal city of Batumi was the right move. It allowed us to offer a combination of leisure and cultural value to audiences. Just an hour before the opening of the exhibition it started raining heavily. We were worried that this would prevent people from attending. However, even the rain didn’t deter visitors, neither tourists nor locals. The number of people who attended was around 3,000,” Nana Kirmelashvili, Chairwoman of the association Art Caucasus, told The FINANCIAL.

Prints on textile and ceramics have been quite popular. In addition, the local municipality of Batumi offered organizers the chance to exhibit the collections of Georgian artists during the city’s holiday – the Batumoba event.

“It contributed to the involvement of the public in a modern art festival quite unexpectedly. We were glad to witness the integration of art with society in peculiar ways: inside cafés, at various sites, and also outside. So if someone did not manage to get to an exhibition hall of ours, we brought the art outside, even delivering art to people”. The compact size of Batumi better localized the festival. Overseas participants came from Germany, Turkey, USA-Armenia, and the UK. Suggestions for further expansion of the project have already been voiced, not only by participants but also by the partners and supporters of the initiative,” said Kirmelashvili.

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In Tbilisi the opening will be held at TBC’s gallery on 13 October. The next day the exhibition will be switched to Rooms Hotel, which is promised to be full of surprises to visitors. On October 15 the festival will be held at Fabrika. The closing ceremony will take place on October 17.  “Tbilisi audiences are the most critical so we will be awaiting their feedback,” said Nana Zaalishvili, Curator of the creative part of the festival. 

“Special project – FLeur Du Male – by young emerging photographer Mari Ataneli will close the festival on 17 October. Handmade print art is really an innovation for audiences. It is an animate organism, requires lots of hard work and turns into an interesting art product,” Zaalishvili said.

One of the supporters of the festival, Nagomari Tea, initiated a campaign from Batumi which is called “Art and Tea”. As Kirmelashvili explained, it’s like a continuation of Pirosmani’s motive, to talk about art while drinking tea. This campaign will be run in Tbilisi for a long time yet.

“It is the first time that a print festival has been held in Georgia. So it was novel for our citizens and accordingly, had a positive effect. The street gallery format has also been welcomed by viewers,” Kirmelashvili said.

The Municipality of Batumi and Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports of Adjara; expressed their initiative to combine various festivals and make them more complex and better scheduled in the future.

One of the main missions of the festival was to bring contemporary art to potential buyers. Kirmelashvili believes that the works of exhibited artists will find owners and that they will soon be seen in modern offices, hotels and other buildings.

The ongoing construction boom in Georgian residential, hotel and office space will later require being equipped with modern interiors. In this regard, Kirmelashvili said that their collection will respond to these demands. “I am sure that the demand will be quite high. My initiative has been an absolute experiment but I am confident that it will surpass my expectations.”

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The list of prominent Georgian artists participating in the project includes: Tato Akhalkacishvili; Mari Ataneli; Uta Bekaia; Alex Berdysheff; Nino Chilashvili; Andria Dolidze; David Evgenize; Zura Gikashvili; Misha Gogrichiani; Rita Khachaturiani; Tamar Khmiadashvili; Temo Javakhishvili; Kote Jincharadze; david Kukhalashvili; Amiran Kuprava, Keti Lobjanidze; Murman Makhatadze; Levan Mindiashvili; Kote Sulaberidze; Maya Sumbadze; Murtaz Shvelidze; Luka Tsetskhladze; Mamuka Tsetskhladze; Niko Tsetskladze; Koka Tskhvediani; Guram Tsibakhashvili; Oleg Timchenko;Gega Paksashvili; Guela Tsuladze; Iliko Zautashvili.

The Academy of Art of Georgia has been curated by Vakhtang Megrelishvili. The list of artists included: Mariam Chelidze; Maya Chichua;  Nino Eseiashvili; George Khavelashvili; Nino Khvingia; Mananiko Kobakhidze; Vakhtang Megrelishvili; David Silagadze; Salome Vacheishvili; Tamaz Varvaridze; Lela Zarqua. 

Turkey. Curated by Denizhan Ozer. Artists: Beyza Boynudelik; Aslihan Kaplan Bayrak; Zeynep Bingol Ciftci; Desen Halıçınarlı; Gulistan Karaguzel; Sibel Kirik; Nesli Turk; Mediha Sevinc; Oben Yilmaz. 

German Artists: Christian Gfeller; Anna Hellsgård

United Kingdom. Curator: Yu Chen Wang. Artists: Maurice Carlin; Chris Hawtin; Liane Lang; Andro Semeiko. 

USA /Armenia. Curated by Marina Yeremyan. Artist: Sam Zumian. 

In Kirmelashvili’s words, she received strong support from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport of Adjara, as well as City Hall of Batumi, Tbilisi Center Of Cultural Events; TBC Bank, Georgian Public Broadcaster; Nagomari Tea and The FINANCIAL. The list of supporters still increases and recently Askaneli Brothers have been added to this list. “It`s a great honour for us to have such sponsors. Of course, their support gave me a special form of courage and contributed to the success of the festival,” she added. 

Despite having received support from all of their partners and officials, Kirmelashvili sees the importance of making the festival financially independent and more commercial. “This way the festival will develop faster,” she said.

Due to such a positive reaction to the festival, organizers are already working on the second festival that will be held next summer.

“Next year the festival will be of a bigger scale and will have more innovative initiatives. Our future plans include expanding the scale and going outside of the country with new collections,” said Zaalishvili.

“We plan to hold master-classes and workshops for local artists. For this purpose we will invite artists to come from abroad,” Zaalishvili told The FINANCIAL. As well we are planning to participate in International Print fairs and Festivals. 

 

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