Art Gene Festival. One of the best local events!

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Art Gene Festival is an initiative of Georgian NGO “Union of Art Gene”, formed by group of friends whose mission was to identify problems associated with traditional and folk culture and find ways for their solution. The Art Gene group  mainly consists of artists and musicians.

In 2003 the Art Gene group initially began investigating the existence of remaining indigenous Georgian art forms, including folk music, which has been past down from generation to generation forming an integral part of Georgian life. The Art Gene Group traveled throughout all regions of Georgia, investigated over 100 families, who were known to maintain their strong traditions and whose activities were then filmed and recorded on the spot. Most of them were selected to participate in a Gala concert at the first Art Gene festival in Tbilisi in 2004, where they performed in front of a large audience and have been recorded live for further archival purposes and to produce and publish CDs.

 In 2004 the main profile was Crafts, which we organized after extensive expeditions throughout Georgia giving us an insight into the huge potential within this field for many years to come.  The Art Gene Group found yet other examples of previously unknown artists, blacksmiths, who have preserved their indigenous methods thought to be extinct. The  result of 2005 research was the publication of a book “Masters of Georgia’s Traditional Crafts”, which catalogues the work of artisans working in different fields throughout Georgia and provides their contact details to encourage commissions from the readers. The book aims to address such sensitive issues as migration and potential tourism development, so much needed in rural areas to keep these artisans interested in continuing their work for their future prosperity.

Our Festivals exhibited modern and traditional folk music, exhibitions and sales of folk handicrafts, traditional medicine, traditional cuisine and folk games to promote our heritage in the capital and regions. To attract young generations to see more traditional and folk music, in parallel we staged popular rock concerts towards the evenings of festival days and developed certain pattern of jamming sessions with folk and modern music and dance, which proved to become one of the trademarks of our festival.

 Every yare we chose a new main theme of the Festival, our motivation was to give each annual Art Gene festival its own distinct profile but keeping aspects of the previous one, thus giving the festival a wider range every year.

Text source: artgeni.ge
Pictures by Aleksandrs Znovs ©

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