At home in Shilda

Levan Mosiashvili invited me to his home in Shilda to meet his parents, friends and neighbors. Shilda in in Kakheti, near the mountains that form Georgia’s border with Russia. During my too-brief stay, I was able to enjoy all kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables from Levan’s garden, as well as trout that he caught, red wine made by one neighbor, white wine made by another neighbor, and vodka made by a third neighbor. It was wonderful! Copyright Keith Kenney, 2012.

While driving me around to see the local sights, such as Ikalto Monastery, Levan bought 3 pails of peaches and more than a dozen watermelons and cantaloupes for family and friends; copyright Keith Kenney, 2012.

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Hosts for the day: The Mosiashvili family drove us to Kazbegi

Enroute to Kazbegi, Meri Mosiashvili and her son, Alexandre, pick some wildflowers. Copyright Susanna Melo, 2012.

Levan Mosiashvili picks some leaves for Shepherd’s Tea; copyright Susanna Melo, 2012.

Picnic at the Russo-Georgian Friendship monument

Levan Mosiashvili’s father and a team of artists designed the Russo-Georgian Friendship monument. Copyright Keith Kenney, 2012.

The monument is situated amongst beautiful hills on the Georgian Military Highway, near the border with Russia. Copyright Keith Kenney, 2012.

The Mosiashvili family provided a delicious picnic lunch, which we enjoyed by the Russo-Georgia Friendship monument for peace. Copyright Keith Kenney, 2012.

Fishing in Sno Valley

We stopped by this defense tower in Sno Valley, near Kazbegi, in order to fish for trout; copyright Keith Kennney, 2012.

Levan Mosiashvili, his wife Meri, and son Alexandre fish for trout in a river running through Sno Valley, near Kazbegi; copyright Keith Kenney, 2012.

It’s more about friendship than sales

Copyright Keith Kenney, 2011

My art collecting partner, Susanna Melo, wrote this blog entry.

Saturday Keith and I took our time looking at the beautiful items on display at the International Women Association’s Christmas Expo, where we also volunteered to work at the “Book Corner” selling used books for IWA’s fundraiser. There were hundreds of stands, but the ones that caught our fancy were the Georgian arts and crafts’ tables.

I had already seen a couple of Levan Mosiashvili’s paintings at a friend’s home, but never thought that we could possibly afford to own one. We inquired about the artist’s prices and we found them reasonable. Then we looked for a painting that we were both attracted to. We found one, but before we could decide, a woman snatched it up. We left Levan’s stand, but the striking colors and compositions of his paintings continued to linger with us.

Keith and I talked. Then I went back to Levan’s stand. I learned that he would be traveling to France the next day, but he offered to meet us in the morning at McDonald’s to show us two paintings that were similar to the one we had liked. We loved both! We also liked him, so we invited Levan to come to our apartment of bare walls to continue our conversation.

Over coffee, we learned that Levan is 40, and has commuted between Georgia and France for the past 12 years. His elderly parents, wife and two children live here while he mostly works in France. He is a proud Georgian and has many friends and connections here. At the same time, he feels saddened by the conditions in which most Georgians live and feels discouraged with the politics of this country.  He’s seen it all and is the product of all the changes that have taken place in Georgia over these last couple of decades. We found Levan to be friendly, transparent, sincere, kind-hearted, and generous and we hope that this initial friendship will grow. We may go trout fishing in July!

From our apartment, Levan took us to his studio because some clients from Armenia had an appointment to see his works. We were mesmerized by his ingenuity! Like the changes that have taken place in Georgia, he, too, has gone through several distinctive painting styles (primitivism, Georgian figures, still life, landscape, cubism, French figurative, cosmic eye and abstract). Although well-known painters have criticized him for trying different styles, I applaud him for taking the risk to redirect his creativity and reinvent himself as an artist.

We ended up buying the landscape on the left as well as a cubist painting of his wife and son. Then Levan surprised us by giving us an early Christmas gift—a humorous Georgian figurative painting! We protested, but he said, “It’s more about friendship than sales.”

Copyright Keith Kenney, 2011