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Greater than 4,000 work within the assortment of the Nationwide Image Gallery of Abkhazia have been destroyed in a hearth, marking a tragic lack of cultural heritage within the Black Sea Caucasus area, which ceded from Georgia within the Nineteen Nineties and is now below Russian management.
The fireplace began on January 21 within the capital metropolis of Sukhumi. The blaze started in a financial institution earlier than rushing to the close by artwork gallery of the Union of Artists of Abkhazia, the place the artworks had been housed. The constructing was in a state of disrepair for years, with out “a roof or doorways,” wrote Ekho Kavkaza, a regional information platform related to the media group Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
A video posted to X, previously Twitter, by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reveals firefighters and civilians, together with native artists, carrying charred work from the wreckage.
Abkhazia’s performing tradition minister, Dinara Smyr, lamented the destruction in a assertion—translated from Russian to English—saying, “The whole golden fund of Abkhazian artists is below risk.”
Suram Sakaniya, director of the Nationwide Gallery, mentioned in an interview with Ekho Kavkaza that “roughly 100 to 200” work largely dated to the Soviet period had survived, although about half had suffered burns or tears from fallen beams. Ceramics cracked from excessive temperatures, and “bronze statuettes and sculptures” housed inside melted, he mentioned.
Per the native outlet JAMnews, the losses embody 300 works by Aleksandr Chachba-Sharvashidze, who’s thought to be the primary internationally acknowledged Abkhazian skilled artist. As a stage designer, he collaborated with artists resembling Alexandre Benois and Pablo Picasso, and labored with theaters throughout Russia and France.
Smyr described the destruction of his works as “an irreparable loss for Abkhazia’s nationwide tradition.”
Within the wake of the blaze, authorities with the gallery and state look to discover a trigger. Abkhazia’s prosecutor basic’s workplace has launched a prison investigation into the origins of the hearth, and introduced in a press release that arson has not been dominated out. Sakaniya instructed Apsnypress, an area information company, that she believed the hearth was sparked by a brief circuit.
In a press release on Monday, President Salome Zourabichvili of Georgia pointed to “the neglect of cultural identification each by the de facto management and the Russian occupants.”
The fireplace was “a tragedy for us all,” Zourabichvili mentioned.