SUKHUM / AQW'A — In a notable effort, Mussa Ekzekov, Chairman of the Supreme Council of the World Abaza-Abkhaz Congress, recently secured ten artworks by Alexander Chachba-Shervashidze, heralded as the inaugural professional artist of Abkhazia with global acclaim. This acquisition was prominently announced on the official website of the World Abaza-Abkhaz Congress.
The acquisition comes in the wake of a devastating fire that almost entirely obliterated the collection of the National Art Gallery of Abkhazia, including around 300 works by Prince Alexander Chachba-Shervashidze. The World Abaza-Abkhaz Congress team has been instrumental in locating works that constitute the invaluable legacy of Abkhazian culture.
The Congress relayed a message emphasizing their commitment to cultural preservation: "While it is impossible to replace what the fire has taken, our team is dedicated to conserving and bequeathing the remnants to future generations. One of our core missions is to protect both the intangible and tangible aspects of our cultural heritage."
The ten purchased works feature stage costumes designed for the operas "Miranda" by N.I. Kazanli (based on Shakespeare's "The Tempest") and Wagner's "Tristan and Isolde."
Alexander Chachba-Shervashidze, celebrated for his multifaceted roles as a painter, decorator, art historian, and critic, is recognised as Abkhazia's first professional artist. His education was undertaken in Paris, under the tutelage of Professor Fernand Cormon, whose mentorship also shaped the talents of Vincent Van Gogh and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Chachba-Shervashidze was a distinguished member of the National Society of French Artists before relocating to Saint Petersburg in 1906, where he contributed his decorative artistry to the imperial theaters.
In a related auction, Kan Tania, the administrative head of the Congress, alongside his deputy Tengiz Tarba, procured three Chachba-Shervashidze sketches dating back to 1910. These sketches vividly portray costumes from "Tristan and Isolde" and "Miranda," specifically depicting Isolde, a knight, and a wanderer.
Tania and Tarba have announced that these pieces will temporarily reside within the family archive, as disclosed on social media platforms. Plans are underway to transfer these treasures to a dedicated Chachba house-museum in Abkhazia, ensuring their preservation and accessibility for educational and cultural enrichment.