Sometimes in life, you come across unexpected things that surprise you in the most wonderful way. That is how I felt when I first came across Paata’s work. The painting’s energy drew me in, forcing me to look beyond the obvious and attempt to decipher meaning behind the bold colors and brush strokes that made up the composition.
With a towering figure at the top of the painting, and a sad man at the corner, hugged by a stallion standing in front of a wall, I couldn’t help but feel that there was a political message behind the painting.
What gave it a sense of hope were the sunshine rays reaching down in the middle of the painting, illuminating the man and the wall alike. I felt the artist trying to illuminate how the truth will somehow come out, despite the presence of the over-seeing figure on the top, and that the outcome is still a hazy swirl of color, yet to be determined in the future.
I later learned that Paata is a Georgian artist, influenced in his work by the Georgian civil war in the 1990s, and indeed found a reflection of the anguish and bitterness felt by him in his work. Scenes of nightmarish memory dominated his work, showing images of sadness, loss, and one attempt to hold on to a precious object, which I felt was an embodiment of a desperate need to preserve a piece of history that was good and pure.
While Patta lived in Georgia most of his life, it was not until he moved to Egypt in the early 2000s that he started his artistic career. At first, he was very attached to partake with his paintings, feeling as if they were his “baby’s.” Yet, after sometime he was persuaded to share his work with the world; and so we are presented with this array of paintings, inviting us to experience what it feels like to live in a country ravaged by civil war.