Sculptor, graphic artist, book illustrator, and professor at the Tbilisi Academy of Arts, Gogi Ochiauri was a representative of the 1950s pleiades of the Georgian sculptors whose creative activity was mostly dominated by the search for motives and characters expressing national identity. Among his monumental statues The Uprising – the diploma work of the sculptor, Vazha-Pshavela (1972, bronze, Tbilisi), The Sea for the Bichvinti resort complex ( 1968, Bichvinta, Georgia) and Vake Park WWII Memorial of Glory (bronze, Tbilisi 1985) are especially notable.
Ochiauri’s sculptures often caused public controversy and a clash of opinions: The Uprising which was taken to the Moscow All-Union Exhibition of Diplomas in 1953 was rejected as formalism and sharply criticized by reason of the rebel’s “vague political orientation.” Nevertheless the same statue was erected in the central square of Lanchkhuti in 1984 under public auspices. The sculptural ensemble of The Memorial of Glory was originally dedicated to the memory of the soldiers who had died in the WWII, but today it is divided into two parts: the 18-meter bronze statue of the Mother of the Place stands in Vake Park, its initial place, but the figures of soldiers guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, have been moved to Gori and today are known as The Monument of National Reconciliation. The female torso torn into parts with the name “Restoration” was initially hardly accepted by the public, but soon it became a symbol of Georgia of the 1990s.
For many years, the sculptor headed the art class of the Faculty of Sculpture at the Tbilisi Academy of Arts and many Georgian sculptors mastered the art of sculpture under his guidance.
Gogi Ochiauri worked in both monumental statuary (most of them are in Tbilisi and other cities of Georgia) and small sculpture genres at the same time being very prolific in the field of book graphic: he illustrated books by Ana Kalandadze, Grigol Abashidze, Georgy Leonidze, Vazha-Pshavela, Guram Rcheulishvili and Shota Rustaveli’s epic The Knight in the Pather’s Skin.
Gogi Ochiauri was a production designer of the film Alaverdoba by Giorgi Shengelaya. Along with sculpturing, he wrote a book On the Nature of European Sculpture (2002).
In 1990-1991, he was a deputy of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Georgia and was among those who signed the Act on the Restoration of the State Independence of Georgia. (April 9, 1991).
In 2012-2015, the sculptor was elected as an MP for the Georgian Parliament of the 8th convocation. In 2012 he was awarded the Order of Excellence for outstanding achievements in art.
Source: “Gogi Ochiauri”, Lela Ochiauri, Litera, 2008. Tbilisi