The Culture Week Tbilisi: conquering imperialism through the power of culture

During 3-7 November, Tbilisi hosted a cultural festival – The Culture Week Tbilisi- organized by Sofia Tchkonia, Sergey Kerbitskyi, and Eugene Bereznitsky. The people of Georgia, Ukraine, and a multitude of other countries joined forces together with creators and media insiders from all over the world to show the importance of freedom, democratic values, and truth. The event included art exhibitions, performances, and other activities that took place at Factory Tbilisi and other special locations in the city.

Georgian Symphonic Orchestra opened the first day’s musical program with both Ukrainian and Georgian classical instrumental compositions. Gems of the first day’s musіcal part became Katya Chilli and Nino Katamadze, who revealed a breathtaking program that included Ukrainian and Georgian national songs, in signature Nino Katamadze’s jazz interpretation and Katya’s traditional Ukrainian ethnical solo. Ukrainian band of experimental electronic music – DZ’OB – showed with their contemporary surrealistic compositions how complicated and different emotions could live inside someone, who experiences loss, the tragedy of death, and military brutality.

An art exhibition that opened on November 3rd in one of the pavillions of Factory, hosted installations, sculptures, art-, sound- and video works. Arsen Savadov (Ukrainian conceptualist photographer and painter of Armenian descent) with his “Voices of Love” video installation in which the author shows the historic re-enactment of the Marilyn Monroe concert in North Korea (1954) to elevate the morale of the US military.

The modern remake of the star tour has been moved to military bases in eastern Ukraine: in Popasna and near Debaltseve, the role of Marilyn is played by opera singer Maria Maksakova and El Kravchuk. Fungus (Tbilisi-based queer art collective) showed their art performance dedicated to cultural and social challenges provoking us to think about the most painful aspects of human feelings and the cultivation of inner resistance in the context of torturing limitations.

Lia Bagrationi showed her replica of the building of The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, thus citing the dream of Nebuchadnezzar from The Book of Daniel and many others. Both artists of Ukraine and Georgia, all joined in reflecting themes of cultural identity, freedom of speech, imperialism, and dictatorship and the consequences of these regimes

Besides the main exposition, there were also pavilions showcasing Roman Mikhailov’s, Simon Machabeli’s, and Levan Songulashvili’s artworks, all speaking to the most vivid parts of human nature, emotional self, and reflections upon imperialism and war.

The Radio and Juliet ballet setup (performed by Quatro ballet) which is a rendition of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet on set music of Radiohead became a closing part of the festival and took place in the historical building of Tbilisi Opera House. Among the participants of the festival was also, photographer Maryna Karpiy with her photo project “Children of war”, as part of JR’s project ‘Inside Out” and others.