City of origin: Tbilisi, Georgia
Ciutat of refuge: Barcelona
Duration of period in refuge: 2016-2017
Allegro, Candidat Jokola
Irakli Kakabadze is a Georgian writer, performance artist, peace and human rights activist. Kakabadze, whose writing is often deeply political and sharply satirical, has published five books and more than 50 short stories in Georgian, Russian and English publications.
A multifaceted artist, he has collaborated with a number of other writers and performers to establish ongoing projects, such as the Polyphonic Blues Band and the theater group Theater for Change. While based in Ithaca NY, he developed a new method of integrating performing arts and social sciences, called “Rethinking Tragedy” or “Transformative Performance.” Kakabadze has also pioneered a multi-lingual and multi-narrative performing style, called Polyphonic Discourse. His work as an artist-activist is subject of a verite documentary, At the Top of My Voice.
Kakabadze was born in Republic of Georgia and was reared in a literary family-his father and uncle both renowned writers. He studied 20th century philosophy and sociology at Tbilisi State University and during late 1980’s, he was a key leader of the student opposition to the Soviet government.
By the age of 20, he was the youngest member of the National Forum of Georgia, the leading national liberation movement. Kakabadze was as a correspondent for the Voice of America’s Georgian Service at the United Nations, and as a language and culture instructor for the Foreign Service Institute, and from 1997-2002 he worked as a Program Associate at the National Peace Foundation and SC office coordinator for the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy in Washington, DC where he focused his efforts on coordinating various peace conferences and forums for the South Caucasus region of Eastern Europe. Kakabadze holds an M.S. degree in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University in Virginia. In 2007 Kakabadze received the Lilian Hellman/Hammett grant from Human Rights Watch. In 2009, he was awarded the Oxfam/Novib PEN Freedom of Expression Prize.
In 2006 one of Kakabadze’s collaborative partners died under mysterious circumstances and Kakabadze was arrested three times for voicing his criticisms of the government. In January 2007 Irakli was forced to flee his native country after receiving anonymous death threats following his newspaper editorial calling for the government to apologize for the persecution of the people of western Georgia during the 1992-94 conflict in that region. Kakabadze was a writer-in-residence in Ithaca City of Asylum 2008-2011. After returning to Georgia, was continuously harassed and in May 2016, arrived in Barcelona City of Refuge as ICORN writer-in-residence.