Among the many colorful images decorating the walls of Tbilisi, you will quickly learn to single out those by Gagosha. You’ll be surprised by the straightforwardness of his drawings. Most of the time, when you think of street art and graffiti, you imagine something grotesque, over-exaggerated or surrealistic. Looking at Gagosha’s paintings, at times you get the feeling he actually made them with coloured pencils. And it is this simplicity that drives the message home.
Gagosha’s art shows the problems of Georgian society without sugarcoating them. Social issues, labour rights, the lack of green space in the capital, unemployment, social stigma, air pollution and many other painful aspects stare the pedestrian right in the face.
Besides paintings, Gagosha writes poems. Yes, on walls. Just as his drawings, Gagosha’s poems tell stories – of himself, of his fellow Georgians. This is actually how my first encounter with the artist happened. Five lines describing an unsuccessful relationship with a bank caught my attention, and ever since, I started looking for his works.
You will find Gagosha’s art all over the city but if you’re taking my word for it, don’t miss one particular drawing. In the labyrinth of narrow streets in Avlabari district, there is a child and a bunch of violets in the middle of a busy road. Give yourself a minute to take it in. I think the drawing will speak to you, as all of Gagosha’s art does.