Jewish heritage in Georgia in display at Tbilisi's Open Space venue

  • Digital storyteller Arianne Swieca, who has documented memory of Jewish communities in Georgia, will bring her work to Open Space. Photo via exhibition organisers., 25 Sep 2020 - 17:01, Tbilisi,Georgia

An exhibition of works documenting history-rich but neglected traces of Jewish heritage in Georgia will next month explore the centuries-long legacy while also highlighting individuals preserving it in various parts of the country.

In works by Tbilisi-based digital creative Arianne Swieca, personal memories of Jewish communities who were integral parts of their localities across Georgia will be brought to Open Space, a 2018-launched venue, in photographs, installation and sound.

Entitled Guardians of Jewish Memory and organised by Untitled Gallery, the display will aim to illustrate the memory of the communities that formed a part of "multi-ethnic fabric" of the country, as the histories are now "under the risk of being lost", a preview for the exposition noted.

Today these sites of Jewish heritage are maintained on a day-to-day basis mainly by local people in towns and villages. Many of them are not Jewish.

Locals look after the cemeteries of their former Jewish neighbours who all left suddenly, decades ago. The historic heritages are still alive through the guardians’ personal memories" - exhibition preview

Curated by Giorgi Rodionov, the works by Swieca will detail the physical heritage of "[s]ynagogues with no worshippers, old cemeteries adorned with Stars of David, Hebrew letters inscribed on old tombstones".

An "open talk" is also planned as part of the display, to discuss life and experiences of ethnic minorities in Georgia, ahead of further planned discussions involving the local Jewish community and scholars of the subject throughout the month of October.

Arianne Swieca, digital storyteller and author of the works for the exhibition, is a graduate of degrees in History from the McGill University and the University of Toronto. She has been based in Tbilisi since 2014 and worked to document sites of Jewish heritage in Georgia.

Guardians of Jewish Memory is supported by the Embassy of Israel in Georgia, and set to run between October 2-21 at Open Space, located at 2, Beri Gabriel Salosi 1st Turn.