Street art, brain teasers, and cultural heritage in Tbilisi: A CHIEF mini project

Author: Tamar KhoshtariaCRRC-Georgia – Georgia

Young people involved in the CHIEF project in Georgia worked on a joint mini-project over the last two years, developing brain teasers that incorporate knowledge of cultural heritage into the built environment using street art in Tbilisi. Members of the Tsibakha board game club came up with the idea of creating a quest through the city painted onto the streets of Tbilisi. With the help of young street artists, the game has been completed. The game incorporates brain teasers about Georgian intellectuals and artists, and leads participants on a quest through Tbilisi.

Through paintings on facades, passersby can play a game by scanning the QR codes on the paintings and reading the instructions. Alternatively, interested parties can simply visit the web-page tavsatekhi.ge[1] and find game instructions there. After solving the puzzles hidden in the street art and entering the responses online, participants are directed to a page about the Georgian artist or historical figure the puzzle and art makes references to. The artists and historical figures are people who have made significant contributions to the development of the country and its culture, but are under-appreciated in society.

The project took significant efforts. First, young members of the board game club (Giko Megrelishvili, Levan Gelashvili, and Levan Kukhaleishvili) created the idea for the quest and had several meetings with young street artists (Sandro Pachuashvili, Andro Tsikaridze, Gena Tushishvili and Ilia Dzadzamia) to brainstorm about what hints the street art should include.  Then the young street artists sketched the paintings, which were submitted to city hall to receive approval to paint pre-selected facades.

After receiving permission to paint, four young street artists worked in five locations in December 2020 through March 2021. The first piece was painted by Andro Tsikaridze on Gogi Dolidze Street 18, Tbilisi. The painting is linked to Sulkhan Saba Orbeliani (writer and diplomat) and Ivane Machabeli (translator, publicist, public figure, active member of the National-Liberation Movement, and a founder of the new Georgian literary language).

Andro Tsikaridze using old Georgian letters (Photos by Tamar Khoshtaria).

Sandro Pachuashvili painted the second installation on Giorgi Mazniashvili Street 21-23. The piece is linked to Niko Nikoladze, a publicist, public figure, and mayor of Poti, a Western Georgian city. Niko Nikoladze is associated with the city’s urban planning, and the urban plan for Poti is depicted in the art.

Sandro Pachuashvili’s street art about the city Poti (Photos taken by Tamar Khoshtaria and Sandro Pachuashvili)

The third painting was done by Ilia Dzadzamia on Daniel Chonkadze Street 5. The piece is linked to Giorgi Mazniashvili, a Georgian general and one of the most prominent military figures in Georgia in the beginning of the 20th century. The painting is on two sides of a small building, and has a battleship game.

Ilia Dzadzamia’s street art “battleship” (Photos taken by Tamar Khoshtaria)

The fourth work was painted by Sandro Pachuashvili on Tsinamdzgvrishvili Street 119. This time the painting is linked to the Georgian Astronomer Ramze Bartaia.

Sandro Pachuashvili’s street art on Astronomy (Photos taken by Tamar Khoshtaria)

The fifth and final piece was the largest. Gena Tushishvili painted it in March, 2021 on Amaghleba Street 25. It is associated with the Georgian painter David Kakabadze.

Gena Tushishvili’s street art in Tbilisi (Photos taken by Tamar Khoshtaria and Gena Tushishvili)

The paintings are now complete and passersby can play the game once the website tavsatekhi.ge is fully updated and complete.

As a result of the mini-project in Georgia, young people created a game which can be played using street art in Tbilisi. The authors of the mini-project think that their idea has several positive features. First, it involves young people and enhances the cultural participation of young people. Second, it is an activity that brings together young sub-cultures (street artists and board game lovers) and requires their collaboration. Third, it has a cognitive as well as educational purpose, since it involves brain teasers as well as information about Georgian public figures and artists. Fourth, but not least, it is aimed at local residents as well as tourists and serves as an attraction for them. Finally, the mini-project is permanent rather than a one-time activity as long as the paintings are not painted over.

 

(1) The information on the website is being added gradually by the young people involved in the project.

 


About the author

Tamar Khoshtaria, is a researcher at CRRC-Georgia and is the partner team lead for the CHIEF project team in Georgia.