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GEORGIA TODAY MAY 14 - 16, 2019


Charlie Chaplin in Tbilisi BY IRAKLI MAKHARADZE


bilisi (known as Tiflis until 1936) is a city of bustling life. It is diverse, rich, original, and in the Middle Ages was called the “City of Joy.” In the mid-20th century, an Italian Opera House was opened in Tbilisi and the whole city sang Opera arias. Later came the circus, a world in which all feel good: adults and children alike. The circus has always attracted artists for its raging color palette, comedy and drama, images of the clown Pierrot, a character of the Comedia dell’arte: Domier, Renoir, Degas, Watteau, Picasso, Leger, Vasily Shukhaev. The sensitive boy Zurab Tsereteli was also fascinated by the circus. Gymnasts, acrobats, jugglers, illusionists and clowns gave the future artist a joyful world full of dynamics and drama. Ernest Hemingway said: “The circus is the only performance that makes you feel like you are sleeping and seeing a really happy dream.” The circus artists were considered social outsiders, poor and independent. The master dedicated to them a number of works whose mood echoed the words of Marc Chagal: “Circus! A magic world, the age-old parade of entertainment before our eyes, where tears, smiles, gestures obtain the quality of great art. And what circus do people get in return? The night brings them solitude and sadness lasting until the next day and the next evening; in the fire of the electric light heralding the renewal of the old life. For me, the circus is a most tragic performance.” A special place in Tsereteli’s work belongs to birds and animals to which the artist gives human traits, often plac-

had a cat in my arms.” The master presented Geraldine as a gift the model of the sculptural composition ‘Charlie Chaplin.’ “Is it possible to say that Chaplin is one of your favorite images?” The artist was asked. “I used to really love portraying him,” he answered. “But now that I have met his daughter, I will paint them together.” The compositions with Charlie Chaplin are not literal portraits of the actor: they take a high poetic form of the sad clown’s image. The great actor wrote: “For more than 40 years, I have made people laugh. But I cried more than they laughed.” The meaning of art is not to convey the visible, but to make the invisible visible. When we look at the world through the camera lens, we see the visible. But if we look out of focus, we see something else, and this opens up the artist’s vision. Despite the melancholy of some of Tsereteli’s works depicting “the little tramp,” these artworks contain the principle idea of the master: good always defeats evil, and love is the main value of life. Among the two masters, Chaplin and Tsereteli, there are many common things: both of them are self-made men; they are unique identities whose talent was early revealed, and to reach the top, they needed a lot of effort and energy. The mental closeness of Charles Spencer Chaplin (Charlie) and Zurab Tsereteli, as artists, creative personalities who largely determined the image of the era, has resulted in a series of unique artworks created over forty years…and this creative dialogue continues.

ing them in human life situations. The “humanization” of an animal or “replacement” of a man by animal is well known in the history of world art and literature. This allegorical technique was very popular in the improvised folk theater “Berikaoba” which presented masks of characters and masks of animals. The character-animals in Tsereteli’s canvases are full of feelings and emotions, love and fidelity, game and slyness, sorrow and joy. In the late 19th century, the cinematograph, or the Great Silent as it was then called, was born. Later, there appeared films featuring Charlie Chaplin, about a sly, kind and sad tramp with a funny walk. Tsereteli, together with his grandmother, watched these films, experiencing and laughing at the adventures of the hero with a cane. Later, the image of Charlie Chaplin’s “small tramp” inspired Tsereteli to create a series of works combining real cinema scenes and the artist’s imagination. The artist placed Charlie in the atmosphere of Old Tiflis, where the image immediately became native, as if he had been born and raised in the city. We can see Charlie’s character with a street shoe cleaner, or together with his chum Kinto. Charlie and the Kinto, one of the most colorful characters of Tiflis, have much in common: cheerfulness, a tendency to trickery, restlessness. Charlie himself in Zurab Tsereteli’s canvases sometimes looks like a Georgian, his plastic and facial expressions reminiscing the Imereti character of the classic of Georgian literature, David Kldiashvili. The daughter of the great Charlie Chaplin, Geraldine, visited Tsereteli’s studio in 2011. In an interview, she said: “Zurab showed me a portrait where I was depicted together with my father. I was there, a little similar to a Georgian woman, and

The exhibition will open on May 15 in the Zurab Tsereteli Museum of Modern Art, 27 Rustaveli Avenue, Tbilisi.


Justice Minister: There Is No More Ill-Treatment of Prisoners Continued from page 1

During the visit, the delegation assessed progress made in the implementation of the recommendations made by the CPT following the previous visit in 2014. In this context, the delegation paid particular attention to the treatment of persons in police custody and the situation of prisoners in penitentiary establishments, in particular those in high-risk and semiopen prisons, as well as juvenile inmates. In addition, the delegation carried out visits to several psychiatric hospitals and, for the first time in Georgia, to an immigration detention facility. "The conclusion proves that in Georgian prisons, in temporary detention isolators and in all penitentiary establishments, state violence against people has once and for all been eradicated,” Tsulukiani stated, adding that as the problem of ill-

treatment of inmates has been eliminated in Georgia, the Committee called on the government to protect the rights of inmates even better and to focus more on their re-socialization and rehabilitation. The report on Georgia reads that the CPT delegation spoke with many persons who were or had recently been in police custody, and received hardly any allegations of ill-treatment by police officers. “As previously, no allegations were heard of staff working in temporary detention isolators (TDIs). Furthermore, none of the very few allegations heard could be considered credible, backed by medical evidence and/or referring to the recent past. Overall, the CPT received a very positive impression of the sustained efforts of the Ministry of Internal Affairs aimed at combating police ill-treatment,” the report reads. The delegation also said that they did



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not receive any allegations of ill-treatment by staff from the Temporary Accommodation Center (TAC) of the Migration Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Further, it appeared that conflicts between detained foreign nationals were rare and never of any serious nature. The overall atmosphere at the TAC was “relaxed.” Regarding the environment in the prisons, the delegation heard hardly any allegations of ill-treatment of inmates by staff. Overall, as assessed, there was a “relaxed atmosphere and good staff-prisoner relations” in the prisons visited. “Only a few isolated allegations were heard of excessive force used while prisoners were transferred to so-called ‘deescalation rooms,’ especially at Prison No. 6. The CPT stated that custodial staff in all Georgian prisons, and especially at Prison No. 6, would benefit from more

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training in dealing with high-risk situations and challenging inmates, including in verbal communication, de-escalation techniques and manual control,” the report reads. As regards inter-prisoner violence, the delegation said it was not a major issue in closed-type prisons, except for a few allegations and other indications. The report says this was hardly surprising given the very low staff/prisoner ratio and the limited presence of staff in inmate accommodation areas. Moreover, the report says that at Prison No. 15, there was a pernicious influence of informal prisoner hierarchy. The CPT stressed that this was totally unacceptable; the (re)emergence of this phenomenon at Prison No. 15 was a troubling sign and major efforts were required to ensure that it did not spread throughout the prison system.

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The delegation also visited three psychiatric hospitals, where they found some violations, mainly in accommodation, treatment and lack of psychiatrists. The CPT called upon the Georgian authorities to make every effort to fully implement their 2014 de-institutionalization Action Plan and, in this context, substantially develop psychiatric care in the community. The CPT was set up under the Council of Europe’s “European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment,” which came into force in 1989. The CPT is not an investigative body, but provides a non-judicial preventive mechanism to protect persons deprived of their liberty against torture and other forms of ill-treatment. It thus complements the judicial work of the European Court of Human Rights.


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Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #1150 Business  

May 14 - 16, 2019

Issue #1150 Business  

May 14 - 16, 2019