Since the five [out of six] New Collective members, who have already applied for a UK visa as to open this year’s Flare International Festival of New Theatre, have been refused visa, Concept and Theory – Tbilisi sent the following letter to Mrs. Hall Hall, British Ambassador to Georgia, and to Mr. Moore, British Ambassador to Turkey.
Dear Mrs. Hall Hall,
Dear Mr. Moore,
I am writing to you as founder of Concept and Theory – Tbilisi [a Tbilisi based registered platform for conceptual art and contemporary theory].
I write in support of New Collective, a collective of six young female artists living and working in the Republic of Georgia. New Collective’s members Ana Chaduneli, Tamar Chaduneli, Tamar Gobronidze, Ana Jikia, Gvantsa Jishakariani and Nata Kipiani have been invited together with Berlin based actor and performance artist Mareike Wenzel to open this year’s Flare International Festival of New Theatre in Manchester with their performance ‘Welcome’.
Despite the festival’s invitation and funding confirmation letter the applications of Tamar Chaduneli, Tamar Gobronidze, Ana Jikia, Gvantsa Jishakariani and Nata Kipiani for a visit visa to the United Kingdom have been refused on the grounds of the embassy’s non satisfaction that the applicants are genuine visitors and will leave the UK at the end of their visit or that they have sufficient funds available to cover their costs whilst in the UK without working on accessing public funds.
All costs for the trip to Manchester have proven to be covered. In addition all members of the New Collective are well known to Concept and Theory – Tbilisi as well as a variety of professionals, organizations, individuals and institutions working in the field of contemporary art in Georgia and abroad, as active parts of the contemporary art scene in Georgia, both through past as well as future (!) individual and collective projects.
These six young artists, who show initiative and commitment in their work have now, as a result of your decision, been denied an essential part for their artistic work: the chance to work in a professional setting in the UK, as well as the possibility to exchange cultural knowledge and inspirations with international artists working in the same field or engaging through their spectatorship.
The theme of their performance ‘Welcome’ revolves around migration and the problematics of being outside the Western borders. A critical work of art and a precarious situation in one’s home country should not mistakenly be taken as wish or plan to illegally migrate to the host institution’s country, but as an art work which addresses the limits of interaction on an international level, hopefully triggering exchange and discussion between participants from all over the world and the local audience of Flare International Festival of New Theatre.
On behalf of Concept and Theory – Tbilisi I hereby appeal to the embassy to reconsider the decision to decline temporary visa to this collective of bright young artists. I declare my full support for New Collective’s artistic practice during the period of their work with Flare International Festival of New Theatre in Manchester as well as for already planned future projects in the Republic of Georgia.
With best regards,
founder of Concept and Theory – Tbilisi
Identification number: 404479694