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HomeBTA Activities


May 2016

by Alix Hughes

Justin McKenzie-Smith, the incoming British Ambassador to Georgia, spent a busy day in Bristol this week as the guest of the Bristol Tbilisi Association. The Ambassador met with a range of organisations including UWE, Bristol City Council, Bristol Zoo, the Museums Service, Encounters Film Festival and Mayfest as well as speaking to a business roundtable with companies trading with Georgia. He also had time for coffee and cake with the BTA executive and the chair of the Newport-Kutaisi Association. The Ambassador takes up his post in August and has pledged to support Bristol's initiatives over the next three years.

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Georgian Film ' In Bloom' (2013) Showing

April 2016

by Stephen Thomas

The Bristol Tbilisi Association organised showings of three contemporary Georgian films to give members and others an insight into the diversity of Georgian Cinema, at The Easton Community Cinema, The Pickle Factory, 13 All Hallows Road, Easton, BS5 0HH. Each film followed by an informal discussion.
There was no charge for the films but participants were invited to make a donation of £5 to BTA funds to cover our costs.

For program click here

"In Bloom", Nana Ektimishvili and Simon Gross, 2013 was the last film from this program. 
Set In Tbilisi in 1992 during the civil war which followed Georgian independence from the Soviet Union, this moving film focuses on the lives of two fourteen year old girls from troubled families. It explores themes of disillusioned love, early marriage and oppressive male dominance.

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Borjghali, Bristol Georgian choir, concert

November 2015

 by Alix Hughes

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The Saturday the 14th November , at 7.30pm, Borjghali, Bristol Georgian choir, was holding a concert followed by a Georgian feast, with toasts, singing and tales from their travels to the small and culturally rich country of the Republic of Georgia (address: Mackenzie Hall, Brockweir, Nr Chepstow, Wye Valley - 40 minutes from Bristol).

They returned to Brockweir in the Wye Valley in the wake of their last two performances and feasts there and to re-kindle some of the magical, heart warming and community/village spirit that we have experienced in that country.

This was a great evening of rousing and evocative Georgian singing, with tastes and images of Georgia, as we stand at the turn of the seasons in this beautiful part of the country.





Georgian Study Day 2015

November 2015

by Alix Hughes

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Tourism was the theme for the presentations at this year's Georgian Studies Day in London on the 5th November (for program click here). Seen as a future driver of the economy, tourism infrastruture in Georgia has seen a considerable make-over. Presentations on sustainable tourism highlighted this sector's potential with the Trans Caucasian Trail put forward as a possible Peace initiative which would involve the local communities in creating the trail and benefitting from it.

Over 80 people attended the event including six members of the BTA's executive.

BTA chair Derek Pickup took part in the Twin Cities panel with representatives from Newport and Newcastle.

Photo : GSD chairperson Dr Tamara Dragadze and Ambassador HE Revaz Gachechilagze





September 2015

by Alix Hughes

The Bristol Tbilisi Association proudly presents a special Georgian Wine tasting event on Wed 30th Sept 19.00 to 21.00 at the Mansion House (Tickets £10). The event was hosted by the Lord Mayor and the Mayor of Tbilisi and his colleagues were presented. Special guests were the Tbilisi choir “Iberi” who sang traditional Georgian polyphonic songs. We have had eight Georgian producers showcasing and selling their wine ranging from Chateau Mukhrani, who have renovated the old Royal Family vineyards near Tbilisi, to several artisanal and niche producers who are part of the Pheasants tears consortium, whose wine is currently only available in high end restaurants in New York, Paris and London. It was a great evening.

All profits will go to support the Tbilisi school for deaf children which we have been supporting for many years.




July 2015

by Derek Pickup


From 24th to 26th July in Bristol  we had the annual Urban Paint Festival UPFEST where over three hundred street artists painted their socks off. Bacha's (Dr. Love) work was universally liked and to pay for his visit he is painting five canvas's which we are going to sell for £100 each. He hasn't started painting them yet and he has already sold three of them, one has been bought by the Mayor, George Ferguson. We have noticed that the work he painted is prominent on social media and getting a lot of interest. Here is a photograph of his art piece (left Dr Love and right Mayor Ferguson).

The tree is made out of real moss and he has used organic glue which means that the moss will continue to grow and flourish. The theme of the picture was to fit in with Bristol being European Green Capital. Bacha is holding an exhibition in Tbilisi sometime around December. Check out Dr Love's Facebook page for more images. In fact last week he completed the largest piece of street art in Georgia in Batumi, over 25 metres high and 35mtres wide. Bacha's visit has been a big hit and we hope he will come again next year.



Thousands of visitors to UPFest crowded around Dr Love's piece in the sunshine on Saturday. Some hailed him as "the Banksy of Georgia" while others living in the street offered to water his moss regularly. Members of the BTA handed out postcards and information about the twinning and spoke with hundreds of excited urban art lovers. The twitter sphere went into overload with images of Dr Love's piece suitably fitting the European Green Capital theme.

A letter from the BTA chairman - Derek Pickup

Dear BTA Members,

Last weekend there was the Bristol Upfest festival in South Bristol and thanks to the BTA and BITA we managed to get the top Georgian street artist Bacha Koperia more commonly known as Dr Love to come and participate. Over 250 artists took part in Upfest and the picture painted by Bacha was regarded as one of the best. For those of you who want to see it, go to the corner of North Street and Greville Road in Southville. The picture is next to the Hen and Chicken pub, it is well worth the visit:

The Mayor was so impressed that be joined BTA members for lunch at the Tobacco Factory. To fund Bacha's visit Bacha painted seven pictures which I managed to sell to BTA members and others for £600' well done everyone. Even the Mayor bought a picture.

The visit was so successful that Bacha will hopefully be back next year. Many thanks for the BTA for buying his paints, Alix for getting Bacha to Bristol, Esther and I for putting him up and all those who bought his pictures. Bacha also painted a picture for UPfest which was sold the day it went on display and he painted a picture for the Tbilisi Flood Appeal which sold for £180, I think. This was a real success, we looked at one social media site that his picture was on and by Monday it had had over 10,000 hits, not bad. Keep up the good work everyone. https://twitter.com/hashtag/DrLove?src=hash

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Charity Auction and Concert to Support Tbilisi Flood Victims: 13 July 2015

July 2015

by Stephen Thomas


£2500 was raised at a very successful charity auction and concert at the Mansion House, Bristol. Organised by the Bristol Tbilisi Association to support the victims of the devastating flood in Tbilisi, Georgia in June of this year, the auction and concert was attended by Mayor George Ferguson, the Georgian Ambassador to the UK and the Lord Mayor of Bristol. Items ranging from Georgian wine and brandy to original artworks by Georgian artists were auctioned by Bristol based celebrity auctioneer Jamie Breese.

Guests were welcomed with Georgian wine and traditional Khachapuri cheese bread and a performance by the Bristol Georgian choir singing some stunning Georgian choral music.

Tbilisi’s disastrous flooding led to loss of life and destroyed the city’s zoo leading to the death of most of the animals. There was also considerable damage to the surrounding area and it is estimated that the city, still emerging from the transition from communism and a savage war with Russia, will need £24 million for rebuilding.

Under the leadership of Derek and Esther Pickup the Bristol Tbilisi Association has been developing links with the Georgian capital since 1988 with initiatives such as a recent business delegation and regular support for the city’s School for the Deaf.  Alderman Pickup was extremely gratified that this successful event ‘involved a large number of people offering and giving support. The generosity of the audience was fantastic’ he said



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