Thursday, December 08, 2005


July-August 2003

'უცხოელი/Foreigner', was a two-month collaborative project of 6 Georgian and 6 Netherlands based artists.

The project 'უცხოელი/Foreigner' was realized in the Summer 2003 in collaboration with Felix Meritis Foundation and involved 6 Georgian and 6 Netherlands based artists that worked together for 2 months in Tbilisi, Georgia and set up a collaborative exhibition that was shown first to the Georgian and later to the Dutch public.

The theme of the project, foreigner, is with a broad understanding of the word. It can mean physical person coming from the other country, somebody you don’t understand anything about or allude to the position of art and artist in the society. This one word, foreigner, can also have a very different perception to it. For Georgians it stands for rich, smiling person with photo camera and no worries and for Dutch - poor, emigrant, rude.

During the two month working period group of international artists worked together, reacted on each other, on the city and it’s political and social aspects. The working period and exhibition took place in an old wine factory territory in Tbilisi, giving the location a new meaning. Later the same show was presented to the Dutch public in the framework of ‘Georgian Days’ organized by Felix Meritis Foundation in Amsterdam. The project had a very positive response in Tbilisi as well as in the Netherlands, attracting many visitors and media attention.

Participating artist:
Tamar Chabashvili (Geo/NL), Zura Macharashvili (Geo), Lado Darakhvelidze (Geo), Sophia Bazgadze (Geo), Sophia Tabatadze (Geo), Ani Riaboshenko (Geo), Xiang Yan Yang (China), Nanna van Heest (NL), Kirsten Leenaars (NL), Adriel van Drimmelen (USA, NL), Lovve Geeven (NL)

The ‘უცხოელი/Foreigner’ project was realized in collaboration with:
Felix Meritis Foundation and De Phenix Foundation

Financial support:
Amsterdam Foundation for the arts;
De Phenix Foundation;
Haëlla foundation;
Georgian Glass and Mineral Water Company;
The Royal Netherlands Embassy in Georgia;
The Dutch foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture (Fonds BKVB).

Freya van Dien, notes from Georgia

This autumn I am staying with my friend and project partner Sophia Tabatadze from half October till half November. We are working on setting up an NGO GeoAIR in Tbilisi for international exchange between people from the fields of art and design. Last year around this time I was also here to see Georgia for the first time, but during my 9 days stay I felt I was just flying over. This second time I am here for 3 weeks which makes it possible to go a little deeper into trying to understand Georgia’s contemporary society and how it relates to it’s history. Still I feel I am only gathering pieces of a puzzle and I have not idea yet how to put them together. My notes from Georgia autumn 2006 is a collection of phenomena I’ve found in writings, words spoken by people here and in observations, that I feel are part of the Georgian reality.

My notes can be found on:

Monday, December 05, 2005

GeoAIR, starting point

Dear colleagues, friends and relations:

In August 2005 we: Sophia Tabatadze (Tbilisi-based artist) and Freya van Dien, (Rotterdam-based organizer in the field of art), decided to make a plan for setting up an artist-in-residence in Tbilisi, Georgia. During Freya’s first visit to Tbilisi in October, we received the good news that the Dutch Fund for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture (FondsBKVB) granted us a subsidy for the necessary research to realize the project.
The first reactions to the initiative, by people from the local Tbilisi art scene, the art academy and the Dutch embassy, are supportive of the goals of the project. will keep you up to date on the projects developments. If you know anyone who might be interested in this project, please pass it on. And, if you have any questions or remarks, feel free to contact us at:

Sophia Tabatadze & Freya van Dien

Research year 2006.
The central question for the project is: What methods and platforms offer the best format for an exchange between professionals from the art world when they find themselves in a different cultural context? In this project, we hope to develop a vision for the cultural and social value of cultural exchange in Tbilisi, and how this exchange can become of sustainable value.

In the research period of 2006, the focus is on 6 aspects of the project:
  1. The content of the residence: How can we introduce urgent and relevant cultural issues and connect the visiting professionals to those issues? How can we organize a long-term development on what is important to the context (Georgia & Tbilisi) in this exchange project?
  2. Conceptual development towards the social changes that are taking place in this part of the world or in similar regions. What is the best way to relate this “bigger picture” to the context of the residency?
  3. Relation between the context of the residence and the facilities that could be provided to artists.
  4. Guidelines and methods for selecting professional artists.
  5. Building a network of engaged people and organizations that can support the project on the level of content, PR, communication and funding.
  6. Setting up a small organization to run the residency.