The urban art festival “Art Active” is the first of its type in Georgia. It is part of the EU cultural factory project funded by EU, administered by “Internews Georgia” and organized by two local curators; Nini Palavandishvili (GeoAIR), Tamara Bokuchava (Social photography Caucasus foundation).

The urban art takes inspiration from many countries of Europe and addresses directly and immediately the general public of any segment of audience, especially youth.  Events meant to propose the best samples of street art from different countries of Europe, and show how dialogue and shared good feelings are possible beyond linguistic and cultural diversity.

Activities in the framework of the festival where based on urban community art tools and meant to integrate local community especially youth in transforming their urban space by giving new definition to it.

Zugdidi (16-17th of June 2013)

Boa Mistura is an urban art group formed at the end of 2001 in Madrid, Spain. The term “Boa Mistura”, from Portuguese “good mixture”, refers to the diversity of perspectives of each member. Which, distinct visions complement each other, and combine to create something unique and coherent. The group works mainly on the public space, and has developed projects in South Africa, Norway, Berlin, Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro.

The concept Spanish urban artists group Boa Mistura developed for Zugdidi, was to use the tool of community art and integrate kids in joint mural painting in the yard of #1 public school of Zugdidi. 20 Kids from Tbilisi public school #203 with hearing and speech disabilities of the same age group have joined kids from Zugdidi #1 public school and art school of Zugdidi. The whole event was concentrated in the yard of the school and served to integrate kids and give positive examples of community urban art, hence to promote reactive audience and youth locally. On 17th and 18th of June, invited artists and organisers voluntarily got involved in another activity taking place in the yard of former technical institute in Zugdidi, currently occupied by internally displaced persons (IDPs) and their family members from Abkhazia. Intensive exchange between dwellers of the building, artists and organizers and participatory approach resulted in two mural paintings on the facades of the building, diverse activities on spot with children and as follow up fundraising action to donate educative goods and other necessary items to these socially vulnerable community which were delivered in August.

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Mestia (3-4 August 2013)

Guerilla gardener Richard Reynolds was the artist within the festival “Art Active” #2. The event was indirect advocacy for plastic waste reduction and waste dumpster opening possibility in the nearest future. Planed activity was meant to integrate kids from 5 different schools of Svaneti with local population in order to work together by cleaning polluted areas of Mestia. Invited artist from UK, Richard Raynolds along with all the participants used tool of guerilla gardening to give life to dead and gloomy areas of the city, that after recent reconstruction became artificial, dull and lack of green. Canvas bags especially made by school children with tag messages “show your nature” were promoted to be used as substitution to plastic bags in Svaneti and also were sold at symbolic price during the final event. Alongside, workshop was held to educate and raise awareness in local population about the plastic waste damage to nature.  Creative signs against littering were installed around the city of Mestia.

Richard Raynolds has been guerrilla gardening for nine years, illicitly transforming the public and sometimes private outdoor realm of his neighborhood and beyond by gardening. Some patches thrive many years later, tended by Richard and his troops as if they were his own garden; others are short-lived experiments, vulnerable to the risks of the landscape, bet they natural or intentional. While doing this Richard has blogged, written and lectured on the subject, gathering examples from guerrilla gardeners around the world. Some like him for an obsessive love of gardening and the unexpected interactions of doing so in public space, others for more temporary provocative statements or just simply for fun.

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Rustavi (2-11th of October 2013)

Public space artist Eltono was invited within the festival “Art Active” #3. From October 2-6 he worked around the idea of “Friezes”. He created a painting that linked old urban objects one to the other. It was be composed with long graphic friezes that start and end in different places. The main idea was to create a connection between all the painted elements using a simple graphic language running all across the area that tied the neighborhood together. Having the residents helping with the realization of the paintings accentuated the “bringing everybody together” feeling. The artist almost always choses neglected surfaces with the intention of reviving their dignity and to take advantage of the power found in aged textures. As a final days of the event 7th-8th of October invited artist made installation in the yard of the #41 kindergarten by using old wooden objects such as pallets, boxes and furniture to build a labyrinth for kids that remains there for the use of children of the district.

During the days 5th-8th of October, there were parallel activities planed in cooperation with the youth center of Rustavi and other supporting organisations. It included guerilla gardening by group of guerilla gardeners from Rustavi and Tbilisi, intellectual games by Funbus, educative quiz videos by Meet Europe and talent show organized by kids from the community.

Eltono (1975) worked in Madrid for the last decade, and since 2010 lives in Beijing. He started his street art career with the usual tools of the trade – spray paint cans. After ten years of bombing, his practice diverged as he evolved his artistic style using acrylic paints and tape to develop an abstract geometric language. Eltono is known for his constructive criterion and his sensitivity to medium and location. He always improvises his forms and colors in situ to integrate within the existing balance. He also chooses neglected surfaces with the intention of reviving their dignity and making use of their aged textures and abandoned states. The paintings of this prestigious yet humble artist can be found on the streets of more than eighty cities. He has shown his works in many world-renowned galleries and museums, including the Tate Modern and Fundacion Miro. Over the last twelve years, the development of Eltono’s work in galleries has focused on finding solutions to address the problems of showing public art in private indoor spaces.

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