Tskaltubo, a famous spa resort from Soviet times, lies in the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains in the Georgian province of Imereti. Since 2013, artasfoundation has organised an annual art festival there, featuring artists from Georgia and abroad.
In 1993 many refugees from the war of secession between Abkhazia* and the rest of Georgia arrived in Tskaltubo, and were accomodated in the former sanatorium buildings. At the beginning, free meals were prepared in the hotel kitchens and served in the dining rooms. Later, the occupants set up individual cooking facilities on their balconies or in the plumbing rooms. The group structures fell into disuse and the great dining halls became superfluous.
To house some of the refugee families, new buildings were constructed in Tskaltubo and other Georgian towns in recent years. However, many families still remain in the improvised accommodations of the gradually decaying sanatoriums.
It was in this context that the Tskaltubo Hot Pots project was developed by two Swiss artists, and a cook from Germany.* Contacting some inhabitants of one of the sanatoriums and inviting a group of about 20 artist friends to come to Tskaltubo. With the help of translators they intended to create a space for cultural exchange: Through cooking, eating, drawing, sitting and talking with the inhabitants the visiting artists aimed to turn the hallways and vacant rooms of the "Tskaltubo Sanatorium" into communal meeting places.
It worked. In the 5 weeks of the project's duration a kitchen was installed, joint cooking sessions took place, exchanges of recipes and regular lunch-time meals were held, a drawing table was built, and together images and texts for a recipe book were made. The booklet was printed in place to then be distributed among all participants. The sanatorium's former cinema, the "Klubi", was given new use as the stage for the final presentation of the publication, of a newly created video, and a party. - This, to mention the immediately visible side of the project. But there was / is another side to it: the traces of the encounters and exchanges in the heads and hearts of all participants. New insights, new impulses, and perhaps new friendships.
* The project was initiated and organised by Jennifer Mira Ackermann, Monika Dillier, and Andrea Saemann
* artasfoundation would like to underline that its use of names and titles particularly with regard to the conflict regions should not be construed as implying any form of recognition or non-recognition by the foundation or as having any other political connotation whatsoever.
Concept and organisation: Jennifer Mira Ackermann, Monika Dillier, Andrea Saemann
Participanting artists and cooks: Lukas Acton, Nicole Boillat, Lisa Fuchs, Ina Hess, Gisela Hochuli, Judith Huber, Jana Kischkat, Fränzi Madörin, Ruth Marx, Muda Mathis, Barbara Naegelin, Chris Regn, Marcel Schwald, Inga Shalvashvili, Sus Zwick
Participants from Tskaltubo Sanatorium: Ia Akhvlediani, Iago Akhvlediani, Otar Akhvlediani, Neli Akhvlediani, Marina Asatiani, Gia Bakradze, Teo Bandzeladze, Adelko Chakvetadze, Gulnazi Chanturaia, Nunu Chorgoliani, Daria Chorgoliani, Julieta Chorgoliani, Tsitso Tskhvaradze, Nino Gabidzashvili, Nora Kakulia, Nana Kharchilava, Naira Kirtadze, Lili Kopaliani, Gulveri Sulaberidze, Dali Tutitsani, Nino Meshveliani, Marta, Kotiko Meshveliani, Guliko Kurashvili
Translators: Diana Murashko, Irakli Kuchava, Kristi Kutateladze, Khatia Jishkariani, Nini Tskhakaia
Graphic design: Edit (Nicole Boillat)
Cover art and silk screen printing: Lukas Acton
Proofreading: Jean-Marie Clarke, Tamara Janashia, Guliko Tsivtsivadze
NGO IDP-Women Tskaltubo (Lali Grigolava)
Tskaltubo Art School (Avto Djibuti)
Gallery Nectar, Tbilisi (Nino Sekhniashvili)
Group "Tischgespräche", Basel