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Old 02-21-2003, 10:47 AM
Randy Randy is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 179
Sculpture Postcards (Tbilisi)

How about a discussion section for posting Sculpture-Related Postcards and travel updates.

Here is a brief from Roger Colombik who teaches sculpture at Southwest Texas. He is on a residency in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia.

We had a great weekend in the mountains at a ski lodge a few hours from Tbilisi. The snow was wonderful as was the evening gatherings of laughter and liquor. The village is rather quaint, with horse drawn sleighs, little children being lead around on tiny sleds and of course, plenty of red meat. I have eaten more red meat in the last two weeks than I have consumed in the last seven years. its alright, it digests just fine with the brandy. Actually, when we are at home, we cook just like we were in Texas as the markets are outstanding. Fruit, vegetables, nuts, are plentiful. Eating with Georgians is another story but we cherish the friendships with those who have taken us in.
We are preparing for a snowy weekend in the village of Garikula where the students and I will begin working on proposals for installations and we will begin working on oral histories in the village with the older people. The students are very excited and the director of the art academy is going to allow us to have our own little room at the school. Its quite a dump and we have full approval to redo the space. We will gut it out next week, clean, paint and then I will buy some used equipment for the kids-welder, hand tools, etc. I gave a lecture to a very large audience the other day on African-American Art-it was a big success, even though I am a white boy and have to speak from white subjective eyes. They have never seen the imagery before so it was great fun to share. We are planning next months big talk on What is America. I am kept very busy with all of the classes, the students love it, and our movie club will start next week(many people are very anxious for this). The big projects in the village of Garikula take up quite a bit of time in terms of planning, organization and teaching-and it has all been a joy. The art academy has an additional building of an old silk factory, that prior to the civil war in '91, was outstanding. It is now in real bad shape though little by little they are remodeling. They teach decorative metal work, jewelry, and foundry there. Unfortunately, all of these facilities and technicians and faculty are geared towards the decorative arts, recasting replicas of ancient Georgian artifacts and a lot of religious stuff. It would be a disaster for me to try and work there with the studio kids on studio oriented works, installations etc. But the gutted spaces are very cool and I will be thinking about those areas for my own interests and for student installations. We just wont be using the facilities. Rolling blackouts-we are adjusting well, it makes for nice candlelight dinners. Jerry has begun painting and so she is now quite excited. She will probably have a show at the Ambassadors house and in a gallery in town with Georgian artists in the late spring. I continue to write lousy poems but I am persistent, recording my experiences and thoughts daily, I am shooting a lot of imagery and beginning to print them on a Epson printer that I bought in order to make a book(s) while I am here. So in regards to our personal studio work, we are both very busy and pleased with the progress if not the results yet. I could do without the paranoid thoughts of being beaten with a club and robbed each time I enter the dark stairwell but we can only hope for the best. The neighborhood park is beautiful with trails up into the forest, the old ladies on the corner selling fruit are delightful(gotta support the locals!) and so far we have been able to keep the stomach demons at bay. There are many people to meet but there simply isn't time for it all and I am staying focused on our project in the village and on the students. I have not met with a lot of artists yet, I am not sure how many know we are here. Once school actually begins in march I am sure that we will meet plenty of professionals. It was important for me to begin my own classes before school officially opened in order to get the students motivated and charged up, and also to influence the director of the academy that we are genuinely here to help and share everything we can. It made a huge difference that the previous Fulbright person, Joe kagle (Waco) kicked down some pretty large and heavy doors to pave the way for the rest of us. This was the only reason that we were able to begin teaching immediately upon arrival(and after the proverbial two days of sleeping). The facial features of the people are quite unique, you see a lot of the same faces in the street, like one big family. Sadly Tbilisi is a shell of its former self(pre war) as the huge influx of refugees from the territories has changed the cosmopolitan make up the city and have caused several social crisis issues. But there is a lot to explore and relish and we look forward to warmer days with which to frolic.
Best Wishes,
Roger & Jerry
one last note-I lecture in a room that is definately colder than the outside temperature. Gas went off yesterday along with the electrical which fortunately came back on in order to plug in a electric heater. The director of the academy has given me permission to take one of the small sculpture rooms and redo it for my students here and to begin getting some equipment. Everyone is quite excited.
We are off to the village of Garikula now to begin our work.
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