This year Europalia focused on celebrating Georgia, starting with the incredibly vibrant art and culture scene in Tbilisi (Georgia’s capital) and bursts into its lesser-known cities and regions. Georgia, as a Eurasian country, is known for the rich complexities of its culture, dating back thousands of years. The festival hones in on its ancient traditions, including forms of polyphonic singing, traditional dances, and religious practices.
Note: polyphonic singing is a distinctive style of singing where multiple voices harmonise together. It's recognized by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity. Traditionally, Georgian dance is vibrant, energetic, and often accompanied by traditional music. There are various regional styles of dance, each with its costumes and movements. Finally, The majority of Georgians practice Eastern Orthodox Christianity, which has a significant influence on the country's culture and traditions.
Although the festival focuses on Georgia’s culture, it also sheds light on Georgia’s position in history, ranging from periods such as the Golden Age and Mongol rule to post-Soviet independence and modern Georgia.
Beginning on October 4th, visitors to Belgium for Europalia will be treated to an extensive schedule of exhibits, performances, concerts, movies, dance and theatrical shows, and literary works.
Granted, I presume, especially as a student, you probably won't be able to jet off to Belgium for an arts festival right now…but these are my recommendations to look into to discover Georgia through the arts:
The Avant-Garde in Georgia (1900-1936) - a collection of paintings, drawings, films & photographs showcasing the turbulent interlude between Georgia declaring independence in 1918 and the Soviet invasion of 1921.
Gori Women’s Choir - also known as the Georgian Voices or Gori Ensemble, is a renowned vocal ensemble from Georgia. It is composed entirely of women and is known for performing traditional Georgian polyphonic music.
Bojan Djordje, Politics of Colours, Chromopolitika - discovering the architecture of Tbilisi, especially the large mosaics and traditional Georgian carpets.
(https://europalia.eu/en website link to the festival & list of works available right now!)