Unique Jewish Collections on Display at Georgian National Museum

The Georgian National Museum Dimitri Shevardnadze National Gallery is presenting the Revived History Exhibition – Restored Jewish Collections, supported by a Rothschild Grant. The exposition showcases 100 objects of Jewish culture from the 19th century to the early 20th to demonstrate the long history of Jewish people in Georgia.

Organizers of the exhibition say that here visitors have a unique opportunity to follow the connection of the Jewish and Georgian culture and at the same time understand how the Jewish diaspora were able to preserve their identity.

Among the displayed objects are paintings and drawings by Shalom Koboshvili and David Gvelesiani, who were the first Jewish painters in Georgia to begin to capture the traditions, holidays and historic events of their people. There are also old clothes, textiles, and religious, ritual and everyday objects.

The collection was previously divided between the Georgian National Museum Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia and the Ioseb Grishashvili Tbilisi History Museum. However, much of the collection was in need of a serious renovation and after winning the Rothschild Foundation grant, the Georgian National Museum began the restoration and conservation of the museum objects.

“The history of the Jewish people in Georgia is part of Georgia’s history which is why it was so important to conduct restoration works and present the collection in our museum,” said David Lordkipanidze, the Director General of the Georgian National Museum. “The presented works really show a revived history.”

In the last ten years, scientific studies, attribution, restoration and conservation have been actively implemented; with several exhibitions having been organized and four catalogues published. However, after the partnership between Georgian National Museum and the Rothschild Foundation, which started in 2014, it became possible to complete all restoration work.

“The restoration works took a long time and were hard. I often had to travel abroad and consult with foreign Jewish Museum representatives. I am proud that our restorers’ work is so professional and to such a high level,” said Lela Tsitsuashvili, curator of the Revived History Exhibition.

The current exhibition was opened on April 26 and will last until May 11. On May 7 and 8, the Dimitri Shevardnadze National Gallery will host lectures about Jewish culture. Further, in the framework of the Rothschild Foundation grant, the Revived History Exhibition will soon go virtual and have its exhibits uploaded onto the Google Cultural Institute and European Cultural Institute platforms.

Eka Karsaulidze

28 April 2016 21:51