The Art Festival of Racha – Second Season
In 1904, Ilarion Jincharadze fi nished building his two-storey house in Chkvishi village, Racha. He placed wooden balusters on the balcony, bordered it with wooden lace, made fi ve fi replaces in the rooms and covered the floor with cobble stones.
A century has passed and artist Kote Jincharadze has transformed his grandpa’s heredity into an art residence.
In 2015, the ten-year anniversary since the establishing of “Arteli-Racha” was marked with the creation of the Visual Art Festival of the region “Artra.”
Kote Jincharadze, artist: “The creation of Arteli-Racha was a vitally important initiative, in order to activate the local cultural life and promote development for the future generations, located far away from the center. In my opinion, active involvement of youth in art initiatives will help to normalize the cultural situation.”
During the last 11 years, contemporary regional center “Arteli – Racha” has welcomed every interested person and provided them with an open space for living and working. More than 300 Georgian and international artists have taken part in workshops held in the art house from 2005 to present.
ARTRA – 2015
In summer 2015, on the 10-year anniversary of Arteli – Racha the fi rst visual art festival “Artra” was held in the Ambrolauri and Oni areas.
The works of Georgian and foreign artists created during recent years in the Racha Art Residence were displayed in a gallery and studio, at expositions stands, and on terraces of the building. The works of participant artists and students of Oni and Ambrolauri Art schools were shown in the local mediatheque while an amphitheater hosted screenings of video fi lms and discussions.
Kote Jincharadze: “When foreign artists visit Racha, we try to show them our traditions, folk, nature, architecture and people. They travel to villages, explore the history of Racha and see today’s most urgent problems; they work and afterwards show their artworks to the local population. Artists also hold different trainings and master classes. Each workshop is a kind of cultural dialogue between representatives of different countries and the local population, based on mutual respect and an exchange of interesting experiences.”
The idea of scarecrows also appeared there. In 2015 a contest “The Scarecrow – 2015” was announced in the scope of the visual art festival, the goal of which was to create the most artistic scarecrows. There was no age limit and the only “must” for participation was to be a representative of Ambrolauri or Oni areas.
They did not think a lot about material: old trousers, a t-shirt and an old straw hat were completely enough…
ARTRA – 2016
“Artra” was held this year for the second time with a larger scale and covering the Lentekhi, Tsageri, Oni and Ambrolauri areas. A series of workshops, seminars and exhibitions in Racha Residence were held from June to September and as a conclusion, group – exhibitions will be launched in centers in all four areas.
Kote Jincharadze – “Based on experience from the last festival, I think that active collaboration with the local population is very important in order to reach the maximum integration between artists from different areas. Furthermore, master classes of famous art experts, curators and gallerists from Tbilisi play an immense role for young people in refi ning artistic tastes and gaining professional skills. Apart from this, I was very motivated to involve local kids in the festival, as they have few possibilities in general and very seldom visit theaters or concerts. So, I realized it would be really awesome if these kids could meet foreign children of their age. With this in mind, we invited four Swiss teenagers to hold a one – week workshop. As a result, they became good friends; swam in the river together and went to on interesting excursions. They also visited historical landmarks of Racha. The Ambrolauri Art School hosted a meeting of teachers and pupils. Guests enjoyed an exhibition of paintings and graphics of children of the same age. They really liked Georgian traditional art forms: the cloisonné enamel and tapestries. But, it was just the fi rst step.”
“BETWEEN THE PAST AND THE FUTURE”
Kote Jincharadze: “Between the past and the future is our festival concept this year. We are between two realities: the first that fi lls you with past experience and history, the second beyond us, with thousands of possibilities, opportunities, ideas and desires.
Our purpose is to lay a bridge between the past and the future; to create a platform for a dialogue for meeting of traditions and novelties, old and modern visions, and to prepare for future challenges.”
“Artra” was closed at the end of September but, around 20 scarecrows, as memories from the last festival, will go on protecting cornfi elds throughout Racha.