Fabrikaffiti Urban Art Festival 2019

Tbilisi is not just a city where West meets East; it’s also a place where traditions meet modernism. What’s surprising is that the two fundamentally different realities coexist in harmony in the capital of Georgia: 18th and 19th-century buildings and next to them Soviet apartments with urban street art painted on.

Street art has become an internal part of Tbilisi’s culture: no matter what you’re leaving and where you’re going to, you’re bound to see it a few times on your way; in the under-crossings, on abandoned or very-much-full-of-life buildings. Maybe it is due to the growing popularity of street art that the Fabrikaffiti festival has wowed Tbilisi for the fourth time.

The Fabrikaffiti Urban Art Festival has been happening in Tbilisi since 2016. This year’s festival showcased not only the street art culture and potential of Tbilisi, but skateboarding, b-boy battles and other forms of dancing contests, workshops on emerging urban culture, and in all honesty, a lot of chaotic fun. Fabrikaffiti Urban Art Festival 2019 featured some first-time elements: the festival was powered by Sioni HiFi SoundSystem, the first Dub Roots Reggae Bass sound system family in Georgia, and within the frames of the festival, in a closed event, the first-ever twerking contest organized in Georgia. Modern counter-cultures and subcultures, too, carry on traditions. Fabrikaffiti’s tradition is that its main location is Fabrika Tbilisi, a hostel and multifunctional social space that hosts many culturally or artistically important events.

On October 11-13, over 20 local and international artists were brought together and united by the Fabrikaffiti festival. The headliner of the 2019 festival was T-KID, a world-renowned graffiti artist from New York. The artist, respected for his talent and style, is Julius Cavero but he is better known in the modern art world as T-KID 170. He began his “career” in the mid-70s, tagging under the name “King 13”. He was related to a local street-gang. After nearly dying in a gun fight, T-KID gave up the dangerous street life for street art. Nowadays he is famous for his unique lettering, illustration style, and extremely prolific train-bombing. He shared his experience and views on graffiti art and culture on the first day of the festival in a free workshop. Space was limited and attendance needed prior registration. The following day, T-KID gave a public talk on 1970s to 1980s gangs and graffiti & hip-hop in a more open-space, giving everyone interested in graffiti art a chance to hear from one of the genre’s founders himself.

The Fabrikaffiti Urban Festival 2019 included other international artists, like M-CITY from Poland, GVIIIE from Spain, and WIESTE HENDRICKX from Belgium who is known for creative graffiti illustrations of Jimi Hendrix in Brussels. Guests could attend workshops and see the graffiti art in the making.

The festival was organized by Artists’ Union Tsru in collaboration with Fabrika and Impact Hub Tbilisi. Fabrikaffiti was supported by Fabrika Hostel, TBC Bank, Urban Art Georgia, the US Embassy to Georgia, Embassies of Germany and Italy as well as Tbilisi City Hall, Creative Education Studio and Margo Skate Shop.

By Nini Dakhundaridze

Image source: Fabrikaffiti

17 October 2019 18:27