She has been living in Tbilisi for three and half years and has been travelling in different parts of Georgia. She has already made friends with many people and is impressed with the landscapes of our country too. She is from Ghana, Africa and is the Fiscal Agent Manager for the Millennium Challenge Account Georgia. Works as an International Development Expert, but soon- next year the Georgian Compact ends and she has to leave Georgia. Though, she is not going to waste her time: There is still much to see in your country. I want to see as much as possible.
I met communicative, warm and smiling Eudosia Andoh through my friend-Tika Bujiashvili, a traveler and a blogger at IArt Gallery where IArt Gallery & MD Workshop held her photo exhibition “ Eudosia Cecilia Andoh’s journey into the world of Photography with Yuri Mechitov”. What role does our professional photographer have to play in teaching an amateur photographer to become a professional one and how she fascinated Georgians, we will hear from Eudosia:
-Before arriving in Georgia, I just know that it was a post Soviet country. I have heard the name of Stalin. I have also heard about Saakashvili and his Rose Revolution when he was in the centre of the world media. Living in Tbilisi was a bit hard for me in the beginning as I came to live here without my family. Later I joined IWA and made many friends. I started travelling around Georgia, took some photos and printed them. One day, while printing my photos I met Mechitov, a professional photographer and decided to study photography at his studio.
I started walking through the streets of Tbilisi, mostly in old Tbilisi and so, little by little I improved my skills in photography. Wherever I had to go I must be back with good photos. By the way Mechitov often didn’t like my photos. I always asked, why don’t you like the photo or why do you prefer it to be black and white. We discussed much and in the end we understood each other. In the end I was confident I could take good photos. Soon Mechitov offered me to give a photo exhibition. I needed various photos so I walked more and more with my camera-that way little by little I collected Tbilisi through my photos.
_Which streets, houses, courtyards and people did you like most?
-I started from Dry Bridge. Georgians are communicative people and it was easy to shoot them. Tbilisian courtyards are another topic! At first entering the courtyards I felt a bit nervous. Later, I found out that friendly people lived there and they were happy to see me and were even happier when I took photos. I remember visiting 42 Asatiani str. we were offered some coffee the very Tbilisian way. Do you know what amazed me so much? –When we entered in one of the courtyard on 14 Ingorokva st we were invited for breakfast. It was amazing-They don’t know you, they haven’t heard anything about you, they aren’t waiting for you and… they host you.
Tbilisian courtyards are very interesting, as behind each staircase, door or a building, there is an interesting history. Everything is important especially the people living there. Today a lady invited me in her house and showed her antique things which ran from the family. Can you imagine?-She trusted me- a strange woman and allowed to touch the things which was the most valuable for her. I like street photography very much. At Sulfur Baths I took a photo of an old man and he gave me a rose. Is not it surprising? I take photos at the bus stop and people are warm to me, which increases my motivation. I am from another country and with my photos I tell you how I see you. When you show love it is in the photos, when you are cold-it is another story. Besides, streets, buildings change and…each photo tells you its special story.
I have met many interesting people. Many people want to take a photo with me. Some even kiss me after taking a photo. I am not against it, but feel happy. This way we create a society. Georgians often tell about their traditions. I was surprised at first when I found out myself at Georgian supra and Tamada was the leader of it.
Several days ago, I met the woman. She has been living in the courtyard for 50 years. The courtyard was very beautiful-you open the door and enter the yard though the stairs. People use winding stairs even today. I like that you don’t lose these stairs. We use lifts today. Our life ends behind the doors. Here we are sitting and one neighbour is coming with a cake in her hand, another is hanging her washing and is invited at supra… That’s amazing. Keeping the tradition is necessary.
Entering one courtyard, we found out three courtyards went though each other… I could imagine the warmth and good relationship between these courtyards. One man even spent some time to tell the history of the house and showed me the oldest spring, which is appreciable. I already know the names of architects -Ohanjanov, Tatishchev, Paintings by Poznan in the entrance halls.
Today I was at one of the schools and I was told the history of it, how a beautiful Georgian woman was donated this amazing building. These houses, painted entrance halls and winding staircases are your treasures.
-What is your favourite sight in Georgia?
-Borjomi, Bakuriani, Romanovs’ Palace in Likani. Kazbegi is also an amazing place, though because of dangerous road I couldn’t visit Gergeti Trinity Church. I like Batumi very much and I have visited Kakheti many times. Next year I am going to visit Svaneti. I am interested in your culture very much. I have seen almost all the performances at Opera and attended many concerts at the conservatory or Kakhidze concert halls. I have bought some paintings by famous artists.
I like your cuisine and wine very much. Once I was offered Spanish wine at supra but I said ‘Georgian wine is better’. My favourite wine is Saperavi. I was in Vardzia and visited Vardzia Terraces too…
No one knows what will happen tomorrow, but time passes and my photos will say their words about Tbilisi and its people. My love and respect to you and also my photos are the motivation for other foreigners. I want them to know that Tbilisi is not just Narikala and Mtatsminda, but Tbilisian courtyards, where there is a different Tbilisi and warmth. Walk, walk much, through scenic streets of Tbilisi and talk to locals too.
By Irma Karshiladze
Translated by Tika Bujiashvili
Source: kviris Palitra