"Ground-breaking" exhibition on Georgian-Abkhaz conflict to open at Tbilisi's Literature Museum

  • Photographs of missing persons from the conflict. As of 2017, over 2,000 people in Georgia were still looking for their relatives or loved ones missing since the war. Photo: Nino Alavidze/agenda.ge.

Agenda.ge, 3 Oct 2019 - 19:28, Tbilisi,Georgia

A "ground-breaking" exhibition will bring photographs, videos and other material from both sides of the Georgian-Abkhaz divide to explore the devastating early 1990s conflict in a Tbilisi display starting this Friday.

Never-before-seen video and audio interviews, photographs, newspaper articles from the time and other exhibits will be at the city's Literature Museum for the public to see and review the years that have had major impact for Georgian and Abkhaz communities and the region as a whole.

The event - titled The Corridors of Conflict. Abkhazia, 1989-1995 - brings to the space materials collected by Abkhaz researchers in Sokhumi, the capital of the province that was the hotspot of the 1992-1993 war and is now occupied by Russian troops, and their Georgian counterparts in Tbilisi, marking a rare joint occasion for citizens divided by the administrative line.

The researchers got involved in the work five years ago, with support of Conciliation Resources international organisation and Swisspeace research institute, organisers said.

Their efforts have resulted in a collection of "lesser-known documents", interviews with participants and survivors of the war that left thousands dead and the Abkhazian province de-facto separated from Georgia, and other items.

Politicians who made decisions during the conflict and military service members who took part in action are featured in the interviews that will be found by those flocking to the Tbilisi museum venue.

Organisers said thousands of exhibits were now part of the archive, with the exhibition distributing the material throughout three rooms dedicated to period before, during and after the war.

While the event will offer discussions on the subject, those visiting the display and having their own story to tell about the historical event and its consequences can contribute to the archive developed by the researchers.

Over 200,000 ethnic Georgians were forcefully displaced from Abkhazia during the war. Here refugees flee through a mountainous terrain to the Georgian-controlled territory on October 5, 1993. Photo: Reuters/via Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

In parallel to the exhibition itself, organisers have set up a Facebook page on the subject, where select articles, photographs and videos are being published daily.

The War in Abkhazia broke out following the dissolution of the Soviet Union and on the backdrop of ethnic tensions throughout the South Caucasus.

Involving Georgian armed forces on the one side and a combination of paramilitary, militia and mercenary combatants from Abkhazia and mountainous regions of the Caucasus backed by Russian arms and volunteer support, the war took place on the background of civil unrest, economic hardship and political crisis in Georgia.

Involving widespread human rights violations and ethnic cleansing, the conflict resulted in tens of thousands of military and civilian casualties and expulsion of over 200,000 ethnic Georgians from the province.

The exhibition in Tbilisi will run between October 4-29 at the museum located at 8, Tchanturia Street.