BBC World Service Records in Tbilisi

On July 2, the BBC World Service recorded an episode of the Arts Hour on Tour in Tbilisi.

Presenter Nikki Bedi discussed arts, culture and politics with writer David Gabunia, artist Mariam Natroshvili, filmmaker Rusudan Chkonia, musician Tato from MokuMoku and hip-hop artist Dilla from Kayakata.

The artists spoke about many aspects of life and arts in Georgia, focusing on Tbilisi’s vibrant scene and turbulent past. They shared their experiences of the Soviet Union and its impact on Georgian culture and discussed the current role of Russia in Georgia, especially the 2008 war with Abkhazia and the recent protests.

Dilla, from Georgia’s most prominent hip hop group Kayakata, spoke about his personal experience fleeing from Abkhazia in 2008: “I saw people die in front of me,” he told the audience.

Georgia’s turbulent past is often dissected by artists. For example, artist Mariam Natroshvili writes phrases on former Soviet buildings, to repurpose them and give them a title, therefore closing the book on the era.

Natroshvili also created a mobile contemporary art museum which she takes into people’s homes. Rapper Dilla has a piece in her exhibition of a sheep which reacts in real time to the movement of the Black Sea. It is partly a biographical piece, as Dilla’s family fled Abkhazia with their sheep.

The mobile contemporary art museum also underlines the lack of a contemporary art museum in Georgia and the issue of arts funding.

Funding is a challenge for all art sectors in Georgia. Filmmaker Rusudan Chkonia, known for her 2012 black comedy-drama, Keep Smiling, said that the lack of funding is a big reason why many filmmakers leave the profession. Without funding from abroad, many projects would not be possible.

As part of the show, Tato from MokuMoku took presenter Nikki Bedi on a tour of Tbilisi. The pair visited many graffiti in the city and discussed youth culture in a country which is standing at a crossroad. His group, MokuMoku are one of the biggest hip-hop acts in a scene which is rapidly growing. MokuMoku and Kayakata both performed during the recording.

The Arts Hour on Tour is a monthly arts show which explores culture in cities around the world. Members of the public were invited to attend the live recording at Liberty Theater, to involve locals in the recording.

The program will air on BBC World Service on Saturday 27 July and will be available to listen to on the BBC World Service Website after it has aired.

By Amy Jones

Photo Source - Levan Maisuradze

04 July 2019 17:49