Georgia, located on the southern bend of the Caucasian mountain range, is an ancient land with a deep cultural legacy. For more than 5,000 years, the cultural values created on this continuously inhabited territory have had an important impact on mainstream world history. Georgia’s unique geographic position—located on the cusp of Eastern Europe and Western Asia—has helped it to foster a rich and diverse artistic tradition. Its impressive artistic achievements, which span ancient, Medieval and modern times, reflect those of Eastern and Western civilizations while, at the same time, remain true to the nation’s own identity and provenance. Artifacts made by Georgians throughout recorded history serve as emblems of the intellectual and spiritual development of the nation’s culture. As a result, Georgian arts and culture has been the subject of the inquiry for an impressive range of academics and scholars over the last century.
The Symposium, “Georgian Arts in the Context of European and Asian Cultures,” took place from June 21 to June 29, 2008 in variouse locations throughout Georgia. Its aim was to familiarize international audiences with the broad spectrum of studies and investigations that exist in the expanding field of Georgian art history. By doing so, the organizing committee intends to raise the level of academic interest regarding the wide range of topics on Georgian arts and culture, introduce Georgian and international specialists to other colleagues in their fields and provide them with an unprecedented forum for scientific exchange.
The 2008 International Symposium on Georgian Art was an initiative stemming from a one-day symposium on Georgian art entitled, “Georgian Culture: Past and Present,” sponsored by the Harriman Institute at Columbia University, Tbilisi State Academy of Arts, Georgian Arts and Culture Center, and the Fulbright Scholar Program.. Held in April 2007, Georgian and American scholars gathered on Columbia’s New York City campus to present their work to leading members of their respective fields as well as discuss the direction of future scholarship in Georgian cultural studies.