Online display of prominent late painter Irakli Parjiani marks anniversary

Irakli Parjiani's portraits of Djardji and Ketevan Balanchivadze, 1980. Image via, 12 Jul 2020 - 16:50, Tbilisi,Georgia

The rich legacy of painter Irakli Parjiani, notable for its impact on the Georgian scene and beyond, is being celebrated with an online display of portraits created by the late artist in the 70th anniversary year of his birth.

In Recto-Verso - a digital exposition of dozens of paintings - Parjiani's signature portrait style is introduced with a selection involving some never previously exhibited artwork. The works were selected for the exhibition as the latter was conceived during the COVID-19 lockdown and later supported by the Tbilisi City Hall.

Sourced for the digital event from family archives, private collections and vaults of the Georgian Museum of Fine Arts, the portraits were curated by Ninia Akhvlediani, author of the idea for the display and communications executive at the museum. Konstantine Bolkvadze contributed as consultant.

In their summary for the display, unveiled on a special website dedicated to the 70th anniversary of Parjiani's birth, organisers cited the major importance of the creative for the local postmodern scene, and the body of work in portraiture the painter left behind.

Portrait of Tamar Khundadze, 1984, paper, oil. Image via

Irakli Parjiani is among the few artists of the Georgian painting [scene] who used an earlier memory to create a new postmodern Georgian art. Despite his short life, the painter achieved a synthesis of the Western, and simultaneously Georgian, cultural identity in the portrait genre," the summary read.

As an introduction to the selection, a video featuring archival footage on Parjiani has been prepared for viewers, in a bid to allow them to "touch the world" of the artist, with a musical work by contemporary producer Nika Machaidze accompanying both the documentary material and the display itself.

Born in the highland town of Mestia in Georgia's north in 1950, Parjiani was surrounded by picturesque sights of peaks amid the remote landscape of the Svaneti province. Graduating from the Tbilisi State Academy of Arts in 1974, the artist went on to dedicate much of his creative work to miniature painting.

Portrait of Manana Mdivani, 1987, canvas, oil. Image via

Moving to the still divided Germany in the 1980s, he created works specific to his residence in the country, such as the Berlin Cycle, before his passing away, at the age 41, back in Tbilisi in 1991.

Posthumous exhibitions featuring Parjiani's work include displays at Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland in 1995; the Gregory University in Rome in 1998; and the Cathedral of Sorbonne University in Paris in 1996.

In Georgia, works by the painter have been selected for exhibitions since the mid-1990s and including recent years. These include a  group exhibition at the Georgian Museum of Fine Arts in 2018, a 2015 show at the capital city's Art Palace museum and other galleries.

Parjiani was posthumously awarded the State Prize of Georgia in 1992 and the Pirosmani Prize in 1996.

The online display of works by the painter is available on the anniversary website created to mark his legacy.