A Prayer For Sakartvelo
Roger Colombik • USA
Sergiu Lupse • Romania
About their work, the artists poetically write:
The plane headed due north, well above the clouds, the politics and the
news. Smooth sailing—the lighthearted humor of the pilot diverted our
attention towards volcanoes and frontiers where borders disappear in
the mist. There was mention of the Olympics, the world and ceremony
The television has inverted our world—night becomes day, day becomes
night as the swimmers take their mark, the gun is fired and bodies glide
to world record speeds and bodies lie scattered in Tskhinvali and Gori.
Three days of listening to posturing, mispronunciations and political
machinations. Three days of watching news footage and home videos
from Gori, scouring the images for Zura’s family, the home that the
grandfather built, their quiet neighborhood nestled into the hillside.
Imagination runs rampant through hospital wards and makeshift
morgues. Is it a cruel twist of fate or precise military guidance that
the Stalin Museum has survived unscathed? The bear roars overhead in cross border incursions and night-time raids. Zugdidi has been targeted.
Where are the children hiding, the refugees from Abkhazia who already
lost everything? Where are the young girls who dreamed of becoming
journalists, to share their stories with the world? The planes are closing
in on Telavi. The planes are closing in on Tbilisi. Keti, where are you?
Natia, where are you? Karo, Misha, Rez, Lana, Sopo, Mari, Zura, Besso,
Dato… The phone rings and rings, their voices carried across the waters
only in memory.
Keti’s restrained accent fills the receiver as television broadcasts echo
through the house, momentarily drowned out by the shrill screams of
a grandchild at play, as babua Devi chases little Dmitri out into the
garden, as Giorgi’s new composition is deftly being practiced upon
the ivory. News of David in Beijing with the Georgian delegation is
discussed, his design for the Georgian Olympic Pavilion awakening
the world to this fabled land. The conversation veers from anguish to
bombs to hopelessness to…Modernism. Of new insights on Kandinsky,
to publications in progress, to projects and research waiting in the
wings. For this is a Georgian home: children, books, music, art, dance
and song. A house of culture—a country of perseverance, as families
huddle together awaiting the night, as families whisper prayers, in
anticipation of morning.
Oh Natia, I know that you’ll continue to dream and work towards a civil
society. Oh Karo, I know that you’ll continue to brush your pain upon
canvas after canvas. Oh Nino, hold that little child tight and sing her
a lullaby of peace. Oh Tamara, Gio, Aleko, Lika and Lasha. We wait to hear your voices, day after day.”
*Sakartvelo is the traditional name of Georgia in the Kartuli language”
A Prayer For Sakartvelo is a five-part sound and video installation that
will be featured at Texas State University’s Grey Box.
CGrey Box, Texas State University •
San Marcos, Texas, USA
January 20—February 17, 2009
Grey Box is an alternative gallery space for use by visiting artists, faculty
and students at Texas State University in San Marcos. The gallery is
housed in the Department of Art & Design and serves as a “black-box”
space for performance and installations.