Original Oil Painting - $13,000
1200 x 1800mm, Oil on canvas, 2008
In May 2008 Sofia visited Tbilisi, the capital city of the ex-soviet nation of Georgia. It was only weeks before the crisis erupted with Russia over Georgia’s two breakaway regions, South Ossetia and Abkhazia. However there wasn’t even a whisper on the streets of the conflict to come.
Taking her camera with her on walks through the city, she was enchanted by contrasts of old and new. The old city, with its derelict buildings and fortress, nestled itself comfortably within the plush modern architecture of the new city. Rituals and spirituality were abundant in the Orthodox Christian churches scattered everywhere throughout Tbilisi, even in and around highly commercial areas. The affluent youth came across relaxed, fashionable and concerned with being part of a Western social ideal. Whereas the older generation had an air about them, which seemed to suggest they had not so quickly forgotten their region’s history, the might of Russia and their only relatively new found independence.
The subject of this painting is a young homeless boy that Sofia encountered on one of her explorations through the streets of Tbilisi. He was lying near the footpath, partially hidden by some wooden planks, and he had a serene energy about him. On realizing that the artist was interested in taking his picture however, he jumped up and began with his regular begging techniques. With a bag of strawberries in hand Sofia shared her fruit with him and they were both satisfied. This is not usually the case however. Roma children, as most of Tbilisi’s street children are referred to, often use a very aggressive strategy to get money from passers-by. Many come from other parts of the country and they belong to sophisticated begging networks, which don’t allow them to manage their own funds.
Sofia Minson Oil Paintings | New Zealand Artwork