1/2 in Tbilisi — Interview #10 — Tamuna Chabashvili
Who are you?
My name is Tamuna Chabashvili and I am a visual artist.
What makes you or made you do what you do?
It was partly a coincidence and partly a choice. The chaotic situation in the country and the despair—with the civil war, the school that I attended got burned down, the education system was in total decline—brought me to the doors of an art school. Once I entered, I felt very comfortable. I think art offered me more possibilities than any other profession could give. So ever since I am in arts. Having experienced the education system of two art schools and Tbilisi State Academy of Arts, I realized that I had to continue my search outside Georgian borders. That’s how I ended up in the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, where I lived and worked professionally for fifteen years. I was forced to leave the country in search for a better education and a platform to develop and practice my art. That kept me always curious about Georgia. I always wanted to reconnect with my life in Georgia and try to work there as well. Now, I am 35 years old and feel ready to face all the fears that I have left behind when I was 19 and see what I can gain from that.
What is your dream? or your ambition?
I guess my ambition and my dream is to merge these two worlds I live in— West and East—and articulate this experience inside my work.
Could you tell us a childhood memory?
When I was young I could see people—ghosts—that nobody else could see. Later, I figured out that it could have been caused by a lack of phosphorus in my body, but who knows… Maybe it was part of my rich imagination. Until the age of nine, I was very much afraid of darkness and staying alone. My mother took me to her friend, who practiced shamanism. She lived not so far from us. She made me sit on a chair, hold a bowl of water and stayed quiet. I don’t know what exactly happened but since then, they all vanished.
What do you do when you don't do anything?
Even if you don’t do anything you still do something, as long as you are conscious. I like to complain that I don’t do much, but I think that it has to do more with trusting myself than the work itself.
What is the place in Tbilisi you like the most?
Well, it changes according to my state of mind. At the moment I like the place I live in. It’s on the hill and overlooks the entire city. It feels like being inside and at the same time outside of the city.
Do you see any relationship between your work and the city of Tbilisi?
I am in the process of discovering it right now, that’s one of the reasons why I am here, to trace the connections. My latest work is very much based on the western context, certain questions that are born out of western environment and particularly, the Netherlands. But I am convinced that I inherit a lot of influences from this city.
Could you tell us a Georgian personality you find inspiring?
I think one of the most inspiring things, is the ability to improvise during the hardship and manage to go on.
What inspires you?