She Was Meant to Fly High: On Inesa Merabishvili

Recently, Gori celebrated the election of Professor Inesa Merabishvili as a full member of the Georgian National Academy of Sciences. She was born and grew up in this lovely old city, situated less than 100 kilometers to the west of Tbilisi, where her maternal grandfather was among the founders of the Gori Professional Drama Theater. Inesa had literally learned to walk on the stage where her beloved grandpa performed, and now, there she goes again, triumphantly walking down the aisle of the theater grand hall and up onto the stage to greet the exalted audience, but this time as a well-known public figure, a famous Anglicist, literary scholar and translator, professor of the Tbilisi State University, newly voted-for academician, and of course, a real pride of Gori: the comeback kid who has become a genuine incarnation of shining success.

The beautiful soirée was kindly initiated and organized by the Gori municipality cultural agency English teacher Tamar Putkaradze, and readily supported by the Town Hall. Tamar presented a wonderful trilingual montage of Merabishvili’s translations, performed by local schoolchildren on an amazing linguistic and artistic level.

The beautiful event was not a solemn encounter of Gori society with its beloved daughter, but an agreeable act of honoring the Academy as a whole for its truly significant scientific contribution to the entire country’s welfare. Among guests were seen a solid group of academicians and administrative personnel representing the National Academy of Sciences, and also a number of distinguished guests from the capital.

The house was brimming full and it was taken by storms of applause many a time. Most illustrious among the greeting speeches was the salutation of Mr. Giorgi Kvesitadze, the President of the Academy. Further, there sounded warm and meaningful acknowledgements by Professor Valery Asatiani, the Mayor of Gori Kote Tavzarashvili, his deputy Eka Sukhishvili and the Town Council Chairman, Davit Razmadze. The presentation of Merabishvili’s recognition here in Georgia as well as in the West was made by Lela Khubuluri. The welcome greetings were balanced out by fascinating musical numbers, among them a performance of the famous local female chorus and the nerve-hitting male vocal quartette. A special gift of song came from Lado Ataneli, the world-class opera singer, who amazed his audience once again with his incomparable performance.

Academician Merabishvili read to her extremely loyal listeners some of her translations of English and Georgian poesy. Inesa was accompanied by her grandson Tornike Koplatadze, a young movie director, who also greeted her from the stage, having expressed his utmost gratitude to the city of Gori for giving him such a celebrated grandmother.

Indeed, there is a lot that makes us proud of Inesa Merabishvili – her colleagues, friends, relatives, fellow academicians, her native city, her foreign admirers and the Georgian public in general. And there is a plenty to be proud about: tens of books in literary research and theory of translation, uncountable articles in local and foreign editions, poetic translations, her own beautiful poetry, outstanding public activity, impeccable trilingual mastery, even the pieces of her written music, and finally and most importantly, Inesa Merabishvili gave the Byronic depths and magic to Georgia and the unique poetic talent of Galaktion Tabidze to the world. And the Byron School of Tbilisi! It is founded, owned and currently headed by this famous pedagogue and intellectual, where the younger generation is learning the English language through western culture and the western culture via the English language. Incidentally, looking at Inesa in her blissful childhood, her loving parents must have known their girl would someday fly high, but perhaps not as high as she has!

By Nugzar B. Ruhadze 

13 June 2019 18:54