Research Topic: Images as Social Agents: The Monumental Façade Relief Sculpture of St. John Baptist Church of Oshki (10th century) and Its Role in the Formation of the Unified Medieval Georgian Statehood
Dr. Simonishvili was director of the International Research Center in the Visual Arts affiliated with the Georgian State Museum of Folk and Applied Art in Tbilisi (2015–2017) and director of the collaborative research and exhibition project between the Georgian National Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art supported by UNESCO: Re-installation of the Medieval Collections of the Georgian National Museum (2008–2013). She has been associate professor in the Department of Art History at the Tbilisi State University (1995–2006). Dr. Simonishvili is the recipient of several fellowships, including A.v. Humboldt and Gerda Henkel fellowships in Germany; W. Fulbright, A. Mellon and P. Mellon fellowships in the USA. Currently Dr. Simonishvili works on various scientific and exhibition projects, including two books. Her project at ANAMED “Images as Social Agents: The Monumental Façade Relief Sculpture of St. John Baptist Church of Oshki (10th century) and Its Role in the Formation of the Unified Medieval Georgian Statehood” is part of an interdisciplinary exploration of the social dynamics of images. Taking medieval Georgia as an example, this study will explore the processes and effects of cross-cultural exchange. It will analyze the use of texts and images as instruments in the establishment of identity, and the process of cultural transformation as evidenced by specific local development. The research examines the sculpted décor of the main church of the monastery of Oshki (963–976) in the historic southwestern region of Georgia, formerly the principality of Tao-Klardjeti and now part of northwestern Turkey, as a system of symbols, which give the images a social power. It will explore the concept of such a system of symbols and its transfer and reuse in different political and artistic contexts.
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