The Why Not Gallery is excited to introduce its inaugural showcase of Georgian artists at Art Abu Dhabi 2023. The chosen artists and their works embody the gallery's core philosophy of unceasing curiosity when it comes to various means of self-expression. While the gallery primarily collaborates with emerging artists to provide them with exposure and support, they occasionally exhibit artists from the Soviet generation, thereby offering a fresh context for their creations with an intention to reintroduce them to the public.
The artists selected for Art Abu Dhabi offer a captivating array of diverse artistic media, spanning from sculpture and natural stone mosaics to painting and tapestry. Each of these artists is deeply dedicated to discovering their unique artistic identity, and they succeed in shaping it in a remarkable and unconventional manner. The presented booth hovers between the realms of abstraction and figuration, presenting enchanting allegorical representations of familiar shapes and forms while leaving plenty of room for the viewer's imagination.
Visitors are encouraged to explore the enchanting landscapes on display, appreciate the beauty inherent in everyday life, and contemplate age-old, perennial concerns that continue to resonate.
Gvantsa Jishkariani (b.1991, Rustavi) is a Tbilisi-based multimedia artist and curator. She graduated from the Faculty of Architecture of the Tbilisi State Academy of the Fine Arts (2013), then completed an informal master's program at the Centre of Contemporary Art-Tbilisi (2014). Dedicated to experimentation, the artist likes to explore traditional craft – investigate her own associations, research into the tradition and then employ the knowledge to create her art. Her works often deal with her personal emotions and experiences as well as reflect socio-political conditions of present-day world. The artist often employs humour to address these deeply personal and highly relevant topics.
Jishkariani is widely exhibited in Georgia as well as abroad including New York, Brussels, Vienna, Prague, Zurich, Dusseldorf, Naples among others. In 2021 she received Prince Claus Foundation Seed Awards. In 2020 she was selected for the Forbes 30 under 30 list, in 2019 she won the NARS Foundation Studio Grant, New York and in 2017 the artist received the Tsinandali Award in Visual Arts. Her artworks are in private collections worldwide including MSGM Collection, Alain Servais Collection, TBC Bank Collection, Collezione Taurisano, Maria Larsson Collection, Vasili Tsereteli Collection, Papashvili Collection, Agovino Collection, The State Silk Museum, Georgia.
Apart from her artistic practice, Jishkariani has an equally vibrant curatorial career. She is a founder of Tbilisi-based galleries Patara Gallery (2017) and The Why Not Gallery (2018), dedicated to supporting young Georgian artists. She was the curator of the Tbilisi Photo Festival Night of Photography (2017, 2018, 2019). Jishkariani was the founder of the first Georgian online magazine Gargar magazine on art and fashion (2013-18).
Hailing from Gori, Georgia (1940-2002), Tamaz Nutsubidze was a celebrated Georgian artist whose profound impact extended across both his homeland and the former Soviet Union's artistic landscape. Considered as one of the founding fathers of decorative textile art in Soviet Union, Nutsubidze’s artistic education unfolded at the Tbilisi State Academy of Arts during the years 1960 to 1969. After 1969 he worked as an instructor at the Department of Artistic Textiles, and was also a member of the Georgian Artists' Union. From 1995 to 2002 he was a professor of the Academy of Arts, and held the post of Head of the Department of Artistic Textiles.
Nutsubidze's artistic approach was deeply impacted by his Georgian upbringing, frequently infusing his creations with elements derived from the country's rich culture and folklore. His artworks stand out for their vibrant palette and compositions that evoke strong emotions. Throughout his career, Nutsubidze partook in a multitude of exhibitions, including the Republic exhibition of applied-decorative art in Tbilisi, 1967; the USSR exhibition of decorative art at Manege, Moscow, 1968; the Exhibition of decorative art of the Soviet Union in Berlin, 1969; and various Republic exhibitions of Georgian Tapestry in Tbilisi. Noteworthy solo exhibitions encompassed displays at Mziuri, Tbilisi, 1992; The National Gallery, Tbilisi, 2002; and Gallery Nectar, Tbilisi, 2018. Nutsubidze's engagement with the Tbilisi State Fine Art Academy was longstanding, transitioning from a lecturer at the Textile Department to the dean of the Department of Tapestry and Artistic Textiles, a role he held until his passing in 2002.
David Natidze (b. 1969) is a Belgium-based Georgian sculptor. He graduated from the Tbilisi State Academy of the Fine Arts in 1994, the Faculty of Sculpture and continued his education at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. Natidze's art derives from the tradition of modernist sculpture; formalist explorations play a leading role in his work. The artist draws inspiration from natural forms, then abstracts them and transforms into highly refined and delicate sculptures deploying a minimalist gesture. The resulting works find a delicate middleground between the abstract and the figurative, leaving room for plenty of interpretations.
David Natidze’s works are actively exhibited both in Georgia and Europe. Since 2008 he has been teaching at Atelier Schildershof in Schilde, Belgium. In 2023 he unveiled large scale public sculpture „Resistance“ on Avlabari Square, Tbilisi, a winning proposal for the Tbilisi Public Art Fund competition. In December 2023 his solo show at Artin17 is to open in Antwerpen as part of Europalia 2023 program.