Culture Week Tbilisi recently made a triumphant comeback after its cancellation due to political unrest in November 2023. Previously centered on art and culture, the event now gives space to fashion featuring more shows and presentations.

During the event, the younger generation in Georgia demonstrated that culture remains deeply intertwined with politics. Against the backdrop of protests related to a controversial “Russian Law,” which affects Georgia’s European candidacy, the event highlighted the tension between cultural expression and political realities. The law requires organizations with over 20% of revenue from outside Georgia to register as foreign agents, granting the government control over press outlets and international associations—a departure from Georgia’s hard-won independence and European aspirations.

As Culture Week Tbilisi unfolded at various venues throughout the city, people attended both cultural events and protests. The cultural spaces became more than just artistic showcases; they served as dialogue hubs bridging art and broader societal issues. Authenticity in a conservative country became a form of protest.

Fashion shows intertwined with art exhibitions. Highlights included Aka Prodiashvili’s collection celebrating the queer community, George Keburia’s first-ever store, and Beso Turazashvili’s impactful collection for Berhasm. Irakli Rusadze of Situationist offered us a glimpse into his studio, revealing where his beautiful collections come to life. Diane Pernet showcased a selection of the most intriguing local designers, while Reiner Holzemer presented his documentary film on Martin Margiela.

The week culminated in a special event—the Manana Egadze Memorial concert at the Georgian Philharmonic Auditorium. Directed by maestro Nikoloz Rachveli, accompanied by the Georgian Philharmonic Orchestra, and sung by mezzo-soprano Anita Rachvelishvili, the performance reaffirmed the enduring power of culture.

Sofia Tchkonia, the force behind Culture Week Tbilisi, is also protesting. The mere existence of events like this one is a form of protest—a reminder that beauty, art, culture, and the people behind them are worth fighting for. 🇪🇺

Check out the photos from the event captured by Marc Medina in exclusive for Fucking Young!: