With a blank canvas: How Georgian artist from Japaridze Dynasty became a Ukrainian

  • FrontNewsInternationalDianaKolodiazhna

    Front News International / Diana Kolodiazhna

  • FrontNewsInternationalDianaKolodiazhna

    Front News International / Diana Kolodiazhna

  • FrontNewsInternationalDianaKolodiazhna

    Front News International / Diana Kolodiazhna

  • FrontNewsInternationalDianaKolodiazhna

    Front News International / Diana Kolodiazhna

  • FrontNewsInternationalDianaKolodiazhna

    Front News International / Diana Kolodiazhna

  • FrontNewsInternationalDianaKolodiazhna

    Front News International / Diana Kolodiazhna

Kyiv: "I'll start with a blank canvas, good?" - like asking, Giorgi Japaridze says and is already beginning to fill the color with the prepared space for the future picture. Yellow spots that appear on the canvas first gradually become dandelions, sprawled on the whole canvas. So Giorgi, when he came from Tbilisi to Ukraine in 1993, gradually began to pour into the world of Kyiv painting and to inspire his Ukrainian landscapes. How deeply his Georgian roots grew into Ukrainian soil - this Giorgi spoke with a correspondent of Front News International.

Like paint on the palette, Giorgi Japaridze mixes Russian and Ukrainian words in his speech, sometimes adding something emotionally in Georgian. Invites me to the house, asks me not to take off my shoes. While we are greeted by the wife of George - Natalia, the owner of the house himself starts to prepare coffee according to his own recipe. And Natalia begins to acquaint guests with the creativity of her husband, alternately telling about each painting that adorns the walls of the living room. In the same room, Giorgi creates them.

- We do not have a workshop - all Georgy draws here, near the window. Here, for example, several unfinished paintings - "Muse", "Winter", "Fiddler". But our common nostalgia is the "Caucasus Mountains", says Natalya, pointing to the still unfinished, but as if alive picture.

Reflecting the daylight, the white, snow-covered mountains seem so real, as if you can approach them closer and roll a snowball from this white sheet.

- And you draw, too? - We ask Natalia.

- I'm not a professional artist. But there is inspiration. I drew before I met Giorgi, but more realistic pictures. And then I got carried away with French Impressionism. Here Giorgi has a lot of primitivism, naive art. When only his paintings appeared on Andriivskiy descent in Kyiv, where he sells them, those who did not know about such a genre of art called them "cartoon works". You see, when it's a picture in the style of realism, you see the same thing every day. But in expressionism, in this same primitivism, you see work - and every time you notice something new in it. Even the mood is changing.

At this point, George appears with ready-made coffee and treats. And even the table layout looks like a work of art.

"You can have a treat, but we cannot go with Natalya - we both survived the operation not so long ago," Giorgi apologizes and starts drawing dandelions.

- It's October already, and you have dandelions ...

- I really love warm colors. Now it's autumn, the leaves turn yellow, and I thought about dandelions. I wanted to draw poppies, but changed my mind.

Indeed, all Giorgi's works are characterized by warm colors - the bright red roofs of the Georgian houses of old Tbilisi, the golden wheat fields of Ukraine. And even the blue sky is kind of warm. On the mood. Such a warmth is different picture "Ukraine + Georgia".

- It's about the Georgian-Ukrainian friendship. After all, these are two countries that have good relations with each other and who never attacked anyone. Only protected from enemies. And this Ukrainian and Georgian people are very similar - we do not need someone else's, but for our own we will stand up to the last.

In this friendly picture in the center is a house-pitcher, which symbolizes hospitality. And it also means wine, because Georgia is famous for this drink. Also depicted are two churches - Ukrainian and Georgian. And you can also see a car in the colors of the Ukrainian national flag, which travels along the Georgian street - it is a clear hint of Georgia's openness.

From the pictures with a subtle hint of politics, the view involuntarily clings to work with more obvious ideological overtones - a tapestry with the image of Stalin and Lenin, who are hugging two baboon monkeys by the shoulders.

- This tapestry is created by the long lost technology, which my relatives - my father, brother, sister restored. For this tapestry, a tough sheep wool is needed. I tried to create such in Ukraine, but the wool here is very soft and does not fit. And in the picture created on this tapestry, we see two leaders, two idols, the rule of which led to the death of tens of millions of people. I do not like everything connected with the Soviet Union. And here I tried to picture it.

- What do baboons mean in this picture?

- These are the most aggressive monkeys. They are here in the form of performers. And the leaders themselves are in front of the bars, although they should be behind it. The grid itself is made up of a set of inverted crosses - as a symbol of many ruined lives. And below the tapestry we see a black box with a bloody sickle and a hammer. The box is next to the iron paws at the bottom of the cage - they grab all those who want to escape. Many people ask me if I wanted to sell it. But I decided to leave myself such a memory.

- You have lived in Ukraine for so many years, but still most of your paintings with Georgian color. So what is more in your life - Georgian or Ukrainian?

- I have a feeling that I did not leave Georgia. I respect Ukraine - the country that took me when I needed it. From the first day here I teach the Ukrainian language, although I cannot speak beautifully. Perhaps, because the people of Kyiv themselves speak Russian more. I had cases when they asked me how to express this or that thought in Ukrainian. At the Georgian!

"And he's very good at saying “Sho”," his wife adds jokingly. - And he still has a lot of lifes with Ukrainian bacon and moonshine.

- And how did you take your creativity in Ukraine, in particular, in Andriivsky?

- Good question. When I appeared on the streets of Kyiv with my paintings, there were only three artists. And now they are already so much divorced - for me there is no place. At that time, I just went out-I immediately bought pictures, did not have time to draw. And now it happens differently. Sometimes three pictures per week will be bought, sometimes more time is not sold at all.

- And did you have buyers from among well-known personalities?

- They were different. I know that my paintings have dispersed in many countries. It so happened that I had to turn to the Ukrainian people's deputies when my wife fell ill. So, one of the first to respond was Andrei Teteruk. It helped me a lot, I did not even expect it. Yegor Sobolev bought paintings.

Telling these stories, George shows photos with famous buyers. Among them, a photo with former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili also slips.

- Did Saakashvili buy your picture, too?

- No. But I'll make him, - Giorgi jokes.

But, despite these pictures, Giorgi Japaridze is skeptical about politics, sincerely worried about the events in both his native countries. So, during EuroMaidan in 2014 he regularly got into the thick of those events, not forgetting about the main attribute - the national flag of Georgia.

 - Here it is, dear. The entire Maidan passed. The smell of smoke and smoke burned into it densely - I washed it for a long time.

Saying this, Giorgi carefully takes the flag from the shelf of the cabinet and covers them with shoulders.

"That's how I went with the whole Maidan."

Our meeting with him ends already at the Andriivsky descent, where he instructed the sellers to engage in the dissemination of his paintings. It is very easy to learn them - most of George's works do not have frames, leaving the imagination of the buyer an opportunity to mentally complement the moments sealed by the brush. And, of course, bright warm colors, lovely life stories and a lot of details that create a positive mood - this is the work of Giorgi Japaridze.

Text: Vitaliia Mazur, video: Diana Kolodyazhna, Front News International

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