“I am so excited, I can’t commit to anything, but it can be anything. It will be uniquely mine. If I was at home, what would I paint next? I had worked with the senses: scent, hearing, taste, thinking; I’d next considered the heart as the site for love … But not love as a cheap motif of romance. The fact is that love and goodness are at the core of this project.”
~ journal entry: 19/05/15
before departing, i was asked again and again: what will you paint? am i painting for georgia, painting for canada, painting for me? to paint to paint what to paint in this landscape my soul’s recognition so familiar yet so different
an ancient land of gold of clay of earth of roots of figs of vine of grapes of god of monks of priests of panthers of occupation of insurrection of reconstruction of resurrection kvevri sit broken unused yet their clay descendants made lovingly by the great grandsons of their makers are buried crucibles of nature’s magic alone for the black wine which is more than wine the first wine the earth the roots the grape the god transmuting over time immemorial never forgotten history that upon which one’s honour lies witnessed by cows strolling freely as their sacred sisters in far away lands udders swollen with milk for cheese as rare as the golden fleece.
nino came not for the fleece but climbing high planted a swooning cross made of vine wood the grape the god her brother george slaying the dragon again and again the dragons come the persians the turks the russians seem forever at the door breathing fire unsettling the hinges yet those within the dreamers the poets the painters the singers the dancers the warriors cry joyfully perhaps to spite modi modi they cry the earth the mountains the vine the grape the god the hermit’s cave the sacred space held together by stones by frescoes by frankincense by beeswax by centuries of genuflextion:
the gold the earth the roots the vine the grape the god they flex they dare defying dragons defying time’s hot hand that tries to crumble the mortar all crooked stairs musty cellars the sweat the smoke the earth the roots the grape the god the dreamers the poets the painters the singers the dancers and the tamuda who never shirks his duty. cries of gaumarjos – to win! come in dragons come to the supra and feast with us do you dare? your fire cannot burn our dreams our songs our paintings our poems our stories our dances our hearts our will. fuelled by your sacred foods your stories your mountains your earth your roots your grape your god king tamar quietly sits behind me watching waiting i paint and paint and paint and find my sakartvelo anahata.
*sakartvelo:the native georgian name for their country. Its root, kartvel-i (ქართველ-ი), referred to inhabitants of the core central region Kartli, later expanded to other areas of medieval Georgia held together by religion, culture, and language. The Georgian sa- (x)-o “the area where (x) dwell”.
anāhata: In Sanskrit, anahata means “unhurt, unstruck and unbeaten”. Also known as the heart chakra, it represents selfless love, compassion, courage, healing and interconnectedness (from Hindu Yogic, Shakta and Buddhist Tantric traditions).