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Tsira Julakidze - how female contemporary art could possibly develop in patriarchal Georgia

Updated: Mar 24, 2023

Tsira Julakidze a young Georgian artist who, despite all the obstacles, boldly pursues her dream. She's breaking with her own example, the established gender stereotypes about the role of women and her place in contemporary art in Georgia.

What does the Georgian art market look like, what are the barriers in the art business for women artists? Frankly we speak about this in our new interview with Tsira Julakidze.

Tsira Julakidze
Tsira Julakidze

Yuliana Arles: How did you become an artist? What prompted you to develop your talent?

Tsira Julakidze: I think I got the talent for painting from my mother. Her paintings were so beautiful and that made me fall in love with art. But neither of us could pursue our dreams at that time.

My mother Angela is the founder of a school for children with disabilities. She also works as a teacher at this school. Now that I myself am a mother of two wonderful children, I fully understand why it was difficult for her to develop her artistic talent. I was 16 years old when I got married.

I started painting three years ago, when my children were old enough, so I had the opportunity to devote more time to my passion for art.

The inspiration for me was the biography of Amadeo Modigliani and probably the most tragic love story in art. I painted a portrait of his wife Jeanne Hébuterne, a woman who was so devoted to her love for her husband that the day after his death from tuberculosis, she could not bear the bitterness of her loss and committed suicide. The portrait turned out to be very sensual, I tried to convey all the subtlety and delicacy of a woman in love.

Yuliana Arles: Describe your work in a few words. How can you characterize your style?

Tsira Julakidze: At the moment, I try myself in different styles and techniques, constantly learning new methods of depiction in painting. My art is a path of research and discovery, a constant evolution of technique and craftsmanship.

In addition to painting, I am mastering plaster art on canvas. This technique helps to give the image volume and relief. At the same time, I am learning to work in the terra-floral design technique. But I also do not stop there, I want to learn how to master various techniques in art. I am interested in discovering something new and improving my artistic skills.

Yuliana Arles: You are a member of the League of Artists in Georgia, can you highlight some peculiarities of the art market in your country? In which galleries, museums, auction houses in Georgia do you dream to exhibit your work?

Tsira Julakidze: The first modern art gallery Window Project appeared in Tbilisi relatively recently, in 2013. Currently, the Georgian art market is at a developmental stage, and it is good news that more and more galleries and museums of contemporary art are emerging. But, despite a significant shift in development, the Georgian art market is still in its infancy, so many contemporary Georgian artists prefer to exhibit their works abroad in Moscow, Europe, the USA or the UAE, and I am no exception in this regard.

Yuliana Arles: There are opinions that Georgia is still a conservative country which has a reputation of patriarchal society, where gender stereotypes are still strong. In your opinion, are there additional barriers for women in the art business?

Tsira Julakidze: It is true that Georgia is still a conservative country, as is its reputation as a patriarchal society. Gender stereotypes are still strong here, and the art world is no exception. In my country it is quite difficult to be a woman artist and unfortunately, only a few of them manage to realize themselves in art and earn decent money. An example for me is Rusudan Petviashvili, a Georgian graphic artist whose works have been exhibited in Berlin, London, Paris and other European countries. Her paintings are in the family collections of George Bush and Margaret Thatcher.

Yuliana Arles: Returning to your art, how do the images that you present on your canvases appear?

Tsira Julakidze: When I start painting, I already have an idea of ​​the picture in my head, what it should look like, but in the process of creating a work of art, this image always changes. The colors themselves seem to tell me what to do next, how to apply strokes and mix paints, so that in the end the picture is completely different from originally intended. I completely immerse myself in the process and do not put any specific meaning in my works, let each viewer discover something of their own in them and at the same time receive aesthetic pleasure from contemplation.

Yuliana Arles: Your artwork displays only the fruits of your imagination. Do you draw from life as well?

Tsira Julakidze: Initially, all the images were taken exclusively from my imagination. Over time, I learned to transfer my true, the deepest emotions to the canvases. Myself, as well as people who saw my work, noticed that my art became more alive.

Yuliana Arles: What or who inspires you the most to create art works?

Tsira Julakidze: My inspiration and motivation is my family, I want them to be proud of me. My loved ones motivate me to keep doing art, and although I'm tired of my daily household chores, I take my canvas and paint and try my best to focus my thoughts on painting until late at night.

I strive to be an example for my daughters so that they can see that it is really possible through hard daily work, making every effort to learn and master the craft, to go towards your dreams.

Yuliana Arles: What are you working on now?

Tsira Julakidze: Now I am working with a Sakura tree which I am making with newly learned terra-floral design technique, using live parts of nature on canvas. I am very excited about how it will turn out in the end.

Yuliana Arles: Can you share your career plans? What mark would you like to leave in the history of art?

Tsira Julakidze: With my art and my own example, I want to show that a woman artist in Georgia can be successful. Unfortunately, in our country, most parents do not support the creative inclinations of their children; it is believed that an artist will never be able to earn money to support their family. I want to break this ingrained stereotype and, despite the fact that the world of big art is still quite distant, people in Georgia need it more than ever. Art is life, and it must come to our country.



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