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ქართვლის დედა and Cooperative Community

ქართვლის დედა  That is not recognizable to most Western folks, the writing is Georgian, and I don’t mean the Georgia with Jimmy Carter and lots of peanuts, I mean the former Soviet republic nestled between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Caucasus.  In Western script it is written Kartlis Deda and it is the name of a famous statue which towers over the capital city of Georgia, Tblisi. Kartlis Deda means “Mother of Kartvels (ethnic group from Georgia”) or “Mother of Georgians.”

“Mother of Georgians” by was designed by prominent Georgian sculptor Elguja Amashukeli on the 1500th anniversary of the founding of the city it towers over. It is about 75 feet high.

In her left hand is a bowl, signifying the welcoming hand extended to visitors by Georgians. I have been fortunate enough to experience their hospitality and it is epic. One of their specialties being a feast for visitors called a “supra.” In her other hand is a sword, signifying that you should not confuse kindness with weakness and the Georgians will fight tooth and nail if you do not come in peace.

Allow me to digress from my point here to also invite you to support a cultural/peace initiative that I have worked on for ten years called One Caucasus, which you can read about and possibly support here.

Back to my point about the symbolism of the statue. I was recently at the inspirational and highly educational Shirt Lab Live in New Orleans. We were discussing the value of community and cooperation. So much more can be accomplished with the support, advice, and wisdom of others in the industry. Sure there is competition, but mostly there is work for everyone and on the whole you can gain from the support of your peer. If you put yourself out there (Mother Georgia’s bowl of food) you will receive back the same or more. However, as in any endeavor, there are people who are exploitive and you have to rid yourselves of them and get them away (Mother Georgia’s sword.)

Be positive, be cooperative, be giving, put yourself out there, but after that if you find yourself badly taken advantage of, don’t stand for it.

Mother of Georgians She symbolizes the Georgian national character: in her left hand she holds a bowl of wine to greet those who come as friends, and in her right hand is a sword for those who come as enemies


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