The Batumi Backyard Stories is a grassroots cultural initiative that brings together local artists and citizens to explore and co-create the hidden histories that exist within any given neighborhood in the city. Interdisciplinary artist teams interview the families who live within a neighborhood courtyard block, discovering their cultural legacies and creating a customized art installation and performance event in their neighborhood courtyard. The public art installations pay homage to what the neighborhoods’ families wish to call attention to within everyday life, and they, along with Batumi’s local residents and plentiful international tourists, are invited to attend these celebratory opening events.
Batumi Backyard Stories
12 interdisciplinary artists from various Georgian regions selected trough the special call worked together with the 4 international artists from Turkey, Azerbaijan, Armenia and the USA. These artists worked closely with each other and the neighborhood residents to learn what the local families believe are their most precious cultural legacies – their histories, personal stories, daily practices and customs. Each courtyard was then transformed into a temporary gallery and stage; events such as concerts, plays, poetry/prose readings, feasts, dances, etc. celebrated the unique stories that exist within that specific local community.
One of the most important elements of the project is an educational one that helps build the local cultural infrastructure: a critical dimension that included portfolio presentations of all the participants and master-class/lectures by the international artists on the ways that art and life can merge within socially engaged art and community art practices. These international knowledge exchanges between all the artist participants and subsequent network building is an essential component of the project, which is intended to be an annual event providing opportunities for refining and expanding cultural production in the region.