Art and peace-building
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Tskaltubo Art Festival

The Tskaltubo Art Festival is a multidisciplinary arts festival founded in 2013 by artasfoundation together with the IDP Women’s Association of Tskaltubo. It takes place each autumn in Tskaltubo, which is in the West Georgian province of Imereti. Tskaltubo is a spa resort that became famous during the Soviet era and still accommodates around 4,500 refugees from Abkhazia¹ who have been living there in former sanatoriums for over twenty years.

Between 2013 and 2017 artasfoundation led the festival, then from 2017 the responsibility for content and organisation was handed over to the previous partner organisation, the IDP Women’s Association of Tskaltubo.

The festival’s motto is Resort to Art – which means recourse to art, but also refers to the transformation of the spa into a place for art. A central element of the festival are the preparatory workshops held by artists from Georgia and abroad together with local art initiatives and schools, in which they develop parts of the festival programme. Here young people can get acquainted with new artistic processes, residents exchange ideas with artists, and local artists work together with national and international artists.

The aim of the project is to highlight the skills of the refugees from Abkhazia and to help them integrate into the overall population of the village and its future development. Through their cultural activities they hope to contribute to the reconstruction of tourism and open up other fields of activity. The festival should also help to promote regional cultural creation and build on the network with Tbilisi and abroad.

 

Tskaltubo Art Festival 2019

Photo: Barbara Ellenberger

Photo: Barbara Ellenberger

Photo: Barbara Ellenberger

Photo: Ron Rosenberg

Photo: Barbara Ellenberger

Photo: Barbara Ellenberger

Photo: Ron Rosenberg

Photo: Ron Rosenberg

Photo: Ron Rosenberg

Photo: Barbara Ellenberger

Photo: Ron Rosenberg

Photo: Ron Rosenberg

Photo: Ron Rosenberg

Photo: Dagmar Reichert

Photo: Dagmar Reichert

Photo: Dagmar Reichert

The 7th Tskaltubo Art Festival took place on 4 and 5 October. Since 2017, the IDP Women’s Association of Tskaltubo has been in charge of the festival. artasfoundation participated in a theatre project developed by Ron Rosenberger and Barbara Ellenberger (artasfoundation). In addition to that, artasfoundation acted as intermediary for the dancers Meret Schlegel and Manel Salas, who elaborated a dance performance for the festival in children’s workshops (performed in front of the theatre building on 5 October). The artists Irine Jorjadze and Tornike Chapodze from Tbilisi created an exhibition in spaces of the art school with children and young people (opening, 4 October). As every year, the festival programme included concerts by children and young people from the music school. They were performed this year in an open-air concert on the occasion of the partial renovation of the music school.

In early September, the stage director Ron Rosenberg went to Tskaltubo with a concept in mind: ‘I travelled to a small town on the edge of the great historical shock waves of the Cold War and went out in search of traces …’ He walked every day through the town, met people and started talking with them, asking them about their dreams; their dreams in sleep and their dreams for their lives. He gave the title I Have a Dream to the piece that grew out of these encounters and conversations. The townspeople began to talk, think, look together, give clues. There were discussions, people got involved and were prepared to cooperate with him on a performance. They ranged from schoolchildren from the school for inclusion to football players from the local 3rd league clubs, from the soup kitchen personnel to officials in the municipal administration, from young art students to an aged actor. They had something to say and were happy to be asked, and little by little they understood that they were all interrelated and that no dream was better than the next. They experienced a very complex convergence of simultaneities that involved their country’s culture, its past, present and possible future, as well as their interpretations of them. Ron Rosenberg acted as a mirror for his interlocutors, permitting participants to formulate their thoughts through him, and these invariably led to intense discussions and surprising insights. The project found its fulcrum in open dialogue.

To enable the experience of personal effectiveness was one of the goals that we had set for the project. And it was indeed a key experience to see that the world is not given, that neither past experiences nor hopes for the future are what they are, but that they arise and are dealt with in dialogue. A good example is the story of the young woman who got laughed at when she said that she dreamt of becoming an astronaut, but elicited approval when she explained that she was fascinated above all by the freedom in space and that she wanted to be free. Free from the local expectations and free from expectations of her as a woman. That made sense for others, too, and opened perspectives. And so, it time and time again it happened that people were surprised by the different stories and attitudes, the fullness of life and the variety of dreams. They could see that a child’s dream was no less valid than that of an elderly person, the dream of a displayed person as valid as that of a solo singer. On the day of the performance, some 60 people, the Naduri Men’s Choir, the Children’s Choir from the music school and eight soloists stood on stage with their dreams and shared them with the audience.

The performance took place in the aesthetically frosty and bare space in the foyer of the huge Iveria Hall. In a workshop at the art school with 30 children who explored the subject of dreams in paintings and drawings, a 4 x 7 meter backdrop was created that was used as decor for the events on the stage. The participants would never have imagined that they could design, develop and realise such a large backdrop together. All the greater was their joy over their success.

In parallel to the rehearsals, the photo series The Dreamers was created with all those who wished to participate, but did not want to appear on stage. An exhibition of 10 photos lined the square in front of the Iveria Hall to express the spirit of the performance for the spectators. On this square and the steps to the theatre, children from Meret Schlegel and Manel Salas’ workshops performed and led the audience into the hall.

It was a small festival, the local organisational structure was shaky, but it was if these conditions had shown the city how much they liked the festival: a local group of three well-established cultural actors subsequently took over the direction of the festival: Irine Jorjadze (artistic direction), Tamara Janashia (commercial management, fund-raising) and Lali Grigolava (local organisation). We are very happy about this.

Partner

Participants
Marina Kvernadze
Mamuka Chkhetiani
Suliko Ioseliani
Irakli Maisashvili
Dachi Ioseliani
Nana Gureshidze
Nini Kirtadze
Giorgi Alibegashvili

Naduri Choir
Kinderchor der Musikschule Tskaltubo (Leitung Noshrevan Antia)

Photo Project
19 Träumer*innen

Partner organisations
Kunstschule Tskaltubo, Musikschule Tskaltubo, Giorgi Alibegashvili und sein Team von der Küche für Bedürftige, Tourismus Zentrum Tskaltubo

Artistic direction
Ron Rosenberg (Regie und Ausstattung)
Myriam Grigalashvili (Assistenz)
Barbara Ellenberger (Dramaturgie)
Nana Jibuti und Avto Jibuti (Dekoration)
Mamuka Chkhetiani (Chorleitung)

Interpreter
Myriam Grigalashvili
Beka Beradze

Project management for artasfoundation
Barbara Ellenberger (artasfoundation)

Direction of the festival
Lali Grigolava und Kristi Kutateladze (IDP Women’s Association of Tskaltubo)

Financial contribution
Stiftung Corymbo
and other contributors

Tskaltubo Art Festival 2018

Photo: Dagmar Reichert

Photo: Dagmar Reichert

Photo: Dagmar Reichert

Photo: Dagmar Reichert

Photo: Dagmar Reichert

Photo: Dagmar Reichert

Photo: Dagmar Reichert

Photo: Dagmar Reichert

Photo: Dagmar Reichert

Photo: artasfoundation

The Tskaltubo Art Festival took place from 10. to 22. September 2018 and artasfoundation held an accompanying role. It had been difficult for the festival director, Lali Grigolava from the IDP Women’s Association of Tskaltubo, to continue financing the festival and artasfoundation took on a bridging role in the short term. In addition to this, artasfoundation established contacts with artists from abroad who travelled to the festival using their own resources to give preparatory workshops: such as, the Swiss musician Adrian Würsch and his colleague Simone Felber, both from the Swiss course of studies for new folk music in Lucerne, who rehearsed and performed together with young local folk musicians. Also the German based Georgian artist Vato Sikharulidze, offered a sculpture workshop. Finally, Irina Jorjadze developed from a workshop an exhibition with Zura Tsopurashvili and Shio Demetrashvili (Tbilisi) that criticised the practice of transforming former cultural centres into casinos that is currently widespread in Georgia.

Website
Social Media

Partner

Director of the festival
Lali Grigolava (IDP Women’s Association of Tskaltubo)

Financial contribution
Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia

Tskaltubo Art Festival 2017

Photo: Maja Leo

Photo: Jennifer Mira Ackermann

Photo: Maja Leo

Photo: Maja Leo

Photo: Maja Leo

Photo: Maja Leo

Photo: Maja Leo

Photo: Maja Leo

Photo: Maja Leo

Photo: Jennifer Mira Ackermann

Photo: Levan Tsotsonava

Photo: Jennifer Mira Ackermann

Photo: Maja Leo

The Tskaltubo Art Festival celebrated its fifth edition. After four years under the artistic direction of artasfoundation, the previous partner organisation the IDP Women’s Association of Tskaltubo under the direction of Lali Grigolava, assumed responsibility for the festival this year. The artasfoundation team, with project manager Maja Leo, played an advisory role and supported the festival in its fundraising activities and, accompanied by curator Irine Jorjadze from Tbilisi, also assisted with recommendations for international artists.

The annual festival brings together regional artists as well as international guests and builds on existing local activities in the fields of dance, music and the visual arts. The starting point were one-week workshops with artists from Georgia, Germany and Switzerland, the results of which were presented to the public from 29 to 30 September 2017 as part of the festival programme.

Among the artists invited were Albin Brun and Patricia Draeger from Switzerland, who in two workshops with the Folk Music Ensemble from the local music school and with the Georgian Male Choir Naduri ensured a lively exchange between contemporary Swiss folk music and Georgian folk music. On the festival days, the audience was surprised by the interplay of a saxophone with a Georgian male choir. The presentations from the various workshops were complemented by an exhibition of prints by the Georgian artist Tamuna Chabashvili and dance performances by Georgian ensembles.

Festival programme 2017 (English)
Festival programme 2017 (Georgian)

Partner

Participants
See festival programme

Project management
Maja Leo (artasfoundation)

Direction of the festival
Lali Grigolava (IDP Women’s Association of Tskaltubo)

Project team Tskaltubo
Kristi Kutateladze, Marika Goderidze, Mamuka Chkhetiani, Marina Kvernadze, Avto Jibuti, Nano Managadze, Nini Tsakhaia, Lucas Kutateladze

Financial contribution
SDC Cooperation Office for the South Caucasus
Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia

Tskaltubo Art Festival 2016

Photo: Frank Ellenberger

Photo: Frank Ellenberger

Photo: Frank Ellenberger

Photo: Frank Ellenberger

Photo: Maja Leo

Photo: Frank Ellenberger

Photo: Frank Ellenberger

Photo: Frank Ellenberger

Photo: Frank Ellenberger

Photo: Frank Ellenberger

Photo: Fenja Läser

Photo: Frank Ellenberger

Photo: Fenja Läser

Photo: Fenja Läser

Photo: Natela Grigalashvili

Photo: Natela Grigalashvili

Photo: Natela Grigalashvili

Photo: Natela Grigalashvili

This fourth edition also featured a festival programme consisting of a series of workshops. In close collaboration with local residents and art institutions, artists from Switzerland and Georgia developed works that were shown from the 16. to 18. September 2016. The production and the works produced were interwoven to form a kind of ongoing performance. On the three public festival days, the audience was invited to participate in the various processes.

The workshops included a contemporary dance workshop with young dancers from the local folk dance ensembles, again this year conducted by dancer and choreographer Meret Schlegel and her colleague Kilian Haselbeck. They held a folk music workshop in which young Georgian folk musicians played together with musicians from the Nidwaldner Huismusik in Switzerland, a pottery workshop and this time also a youth club.

In 2016, for the first time a part of the festival programme was devoted to a thematic focus: it invited visitors to take a critical look at the issue of archiving. Tskaltubo has a rich history as a health resort, but also as a political stage where the questions on how to deal with refuge-seeking urgently arises. What could a look at the archives reveal for the future? What (re-)ordering of things is needed to bring new perspectives? In exhibition displays at several locations, the archive project invited visitors to question their own view of the past, to stimulate diverse readings of the present, and to create fruitful disorder with a view to possible futures.

Festival programme 2016 (English)
Festival programme 2016 (Georgian)

Partner

Participants
See festival programme

Artistic director and project management
Maja Leo (artasfoundation) supported by Irine Jorjadze

Local coordination
Lali Grigolava (IDP Women’s Association of Tskaltubo)

Project team Tskaltubo
Kristi Kutateladze, Marika Goderidze, Mamuka Chkhetiani, Marina Kvernadze, Avto Jibuti, Nano Managadze, Maia Nioradze, Nini Tsakhaia, Khatia Jishkariani, Marta Todua, Shorena Ketsbaia

Partner organisations
IDP Women’s Association of Tskaltubo
Culture and Management Lab (Tamara Janashia)

Financial contribution
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia
Stanley Thomas Johnson Stiftung
Pro Helvetia

Tskaltubo Art Festival 2015

Photo: Natela Grigalashvili

Photo: Natela Grigalashvili

Photo: Natela Grigalashvili

Photo: Maja Leo

Photo: Natela Grigalashvili

Photo: Natela Grigalashvili

Photo: Natela Grigalashvili

Photo: Maja Leo

Photo: Felix Bielefeld

Photo: Natela Grigalashvili

Photo: Natela Grigalashvili

Photo: Natela Grigalashvili

For the third time, artasfoundation and the IDP Women’s Association of Tskaltubo organized the Tskaltubo Art Festival from 25. to 27. September 2015.

During several preparatory week-long workshops, young people from Tskaltubo were invited to make screen-prints, classical music, or participate in a sculpture workshop, or a course for contemporary dance. Most of the workshops were jointly led by Georgian and foreign artists. In a do-it-yourself bicycle workshop and in the youth club Future Lab, both initiated by the German-Swiss artist group Neue Dringlichkeit, boys and girls gathered daily, made tea, hung out, or made short videos about their hopes and visions for the village.

As in previous years, the festival itself was opened by a performance of the local Naduri male choir and Georgian dances. A reading by the Georgian writer Tamta Melashvili found attentive listeners, especially among young women. There was large public participation with an open-air programme with an appearance by the dancer Meret Schlegel, Kilian Haselbeck from Switzerland, and a performance by the girls choir Tutarchela and finally a concert by the Ukrainian band Kana.

Festival programme 2015 (English)
Festival programme 2015 (Georgian)

Partner

Participants
See festival programme

Artistic direction and project management
Team of artasfoundation

Local coordination
Lali Grigolava and Nino Kvaratskhelia

Partner organisation
IDP Women’s Association of Tskaltubo

Financial contribution
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
Stanley Thomas Johnson Foundation
Pro Helvetia
C. Hipp

Tskaltubo Art Festival 2014

Photo: Evan Ruetsch

Photo: Evan Ruetsch

Photo: Evan Ruetsch

Photo: Evan Ruetsch

Photo: Evan Ruetsch

Photo: Evan Ruetsch

Photo: Evan Ruetsch

Photo: Evan Ruetsch

Photo: Evan Ruetsch

Photo: Evan Ruetsch

Photo: Evan Ruetsch

Photo: Evan Ruetsch

Photo: Evan Ruetsch

After the successes of the previous year, artasfoundation and the IDP – Women’s Association of Tskaltubo hosted the second Tskaltubo Art Festival from 5. to 7. September 2014.

As in 2013, the aim remained to give the refugees living in the village a stage for their artistic abilities and to involve them further in the development of Tskaltubo. In part, this was already happening in several preparatory workshops in which young people from different backgrounds were engaged: e.g. an art workshop, a classical music workshop with the Georgian musician George Kobulashvili and a dance workshop with the Swiss choreographer Salome Schneebeli. The artists collective Neue Dringlichkeit ran a youth club for several weeks in which the participants took photographs of their home environments and discussed the development of Tskaltubo. The boys and girls also found space here for an exchange on how they deal with gender roles.

At the festival itself, in addition to the results from the workshops, works by local artist Elene Chantladze and site-specific works by visual artists from Tbilisi and Switzerland were shown. Apart from the concert by the Georgian singer Manana Menabde, the joint performance by the Swiss natural yodel group Jodlerklub Wattwil and the Georgian male choir Naduri was a highlight of the festival.

Festival programme 2014 (English)
Festival programme 2014 (Georgian)

 

Partner

Participants
See festival programme

Artistic director and project management
Team of artasfoundation

Local coordination
Lali Grigolava and Nino Kvaratskhelia

Partner organisation
IDP Women’s Association of Tskaltubo

Financial contribution
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
Stanley Thomas Johnson Foundation
Pro Helvetia
C. Hipp

Tskaltubo Art Festival 2013

Under the motto Resort to Art, an annual art festival was created in Tskaltubo. As part of the Tskaltubo Art Festival 2013, local artists exchanged ideas with national and international artists. The project ties in with existing local activities in the fields of dance, music and visual arts and initiates collaborative workshops, which in October led to a four-day public festival programme. One week before the festival Linda Pfenninger and Christian Fürholz conducted a photography workshop. There was also a workshop for classical music given by George Kobulashvili, and a workshop to produce musical instruments from scrap wood, kitchen utensils or found building materials directed by Swiss artists Franziska Koch and Eva Zulauf.

As part of the festival which ran from 24. to 26. October, and was opened by Swiss Ambassador Günther Bächler, 28 different free events took place, each attracting between 100 and 300 mainly local spectators. In addition to film screenings, literature readings, art exhibitions and dance performances by local ensembles, there was a wide variety of concerts: a classical concert with instruments built by the young people, a concert by the Georgian international women’s choir Tutarchela and a performance by the Swiss women’s group Les Reines Prochaines, which captivated the audience with its unique performance.

Festival programme 2013 (English)
Festival programme 2013 (Georgian)

Partner

Participants
See festival programme

Artistic director and project management
Team of artasfoundation

Local coordination
Lali Grigolava and Nino Kvaratskhelia

Partner organisation
IDP Women’s Association of Tskaltubo
Community Development Center – Progress (Giorgi Koridze)

Financial contribution
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation for South Caucasus (SDC)
Pro Helvetia
C. Hipp

¹artasfoundation would like to underline that its use of names and titles particularly in regards to conflict regions should not be understood as implying any form of recognition or non-recognition by the foundation or as having any other political connotation whatsoever.