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Land of Wolves

© James Arthur Allen

The South Caucasus state of Georgia with its ancient capital city Tbilisi nestles between Western Asia and Eastern Europe. It has long been at the cross roads of empires, religion and trade. The first unified kingdom of Georgia arose in the 11th & 12th Centuries. The “Golden Period” which followed ended 200 years later when the country was subject to conquest and rule from the Persians in the east and Turks in the west. During this turbulent time the Georgians fought to hold on to their Orthodox identity, rich dialect and culture.

The Persians named Georgia Varkana, the land of wolves.

Contemporary Georgia is a country of contradictions and dreams. It’s two hundred year relationship with its benefactor and protector Russia dissolved with the breakdown of the Soviet Union in 1991. Georgia, the jewel in the Soviet crown, renowned for its food, music and culture, turned its back on its old master. Its pursuit of independence has led to two brutal internal conflicts with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Russian backed break away states that now lie within its borders.

A aggressive neighbour, fragile infrastructure and political in fighting all stand in the way of the democratic ambitions of the fledgling republic. This series depicts Georgia at a turning point. A history of occupation and oppression has fuelled resurgence in Nationalism and celebrations of its cultural identity. The country is searching for its own way forward and the means to effect change whilst looking to the west for the security it believes EU and NATO membership will bring. Its desires have been driven by recent events in Eastern Ukraine bringing back memories of the five-day war fought in 2008 where Russian troops pushed within 40km of Tbilisi. Once again Georgia finds itself at the brink, fearful of annexation.

To achieve its dream Georgia must confront it’s past and it’s present to secure its future.

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