Artistic portrait of a noble discipline and its followers in the cold North

How can you investigate the aesthetics of archery? George (Giorgi) Nebieridze gives us his point of view, accompanying us to the discovery of a small and precious Swedish sports universe.

The Georgian photographer and artist, involved in fine arts and documentary photography, but also in advertising and commercial fields, shares with us his focus on a discipline as noble as it is still alive in every corner of the Earth.

Good reading and good vision.

Archery is a culture that has been practiced since ancient times, when I say ancient, I really mean it. Even before it was known as a sport, archery was one of the most important activities for merely surviving. However, throughout the centuries archery gained a different use. It was used to achieve various goals, including becoming an inseparable tool in violent conflicts.

As the civilization advanced, one would think people would forget and give up using this ‘primitive technology’, but it is simply impossible to give up the majestic feeling of aiming and shooting, the meditative process of examining accuracy and challenging our persistence which archery necessitates.

Since 1900, archery is an official Olympic sport, and participants ranging across the continents compete for gold medals. I have to mention, Sweden is not the number one country in this sport, not even second, but that was actually the main reason for making this project. I aim to show that archery has no borders. Archery lives among people everywhere, even in the frozen parts of far northern Sweden. 

As a visual artist, I am aesthetically fascinated by this practice. The dynamics and shapes witnessed here create an exciting harmony between peacefulness and hostility; the subtle and sophisticated body movements, sounds and visuals were very hard for me to ignore.

I had never been close to this culture before and had never even seen bows and arrows so close to me before. The idea of making these photos came to me instantly after watching a documentary on the Olympic Games. I asked around if there was any kind of archery-related activity in the area of Våsterbotten where I was staying at the time, and soon after some research I found myself in this little club of enthusiasts.

I was lucky, people there were friendly and happily accepted me as a person interested in their great passion. I showed them I had purely artistic intentions, so they made me feel comfortable working in that beautiful atmosphere. 

My photographs from the archery club are combined with still lifes, architecture shots, landscapes, and cityscapes of the Våsterbotten and Umeå area. Those photographs assist the viewers in having a clearer perception of the surroundings and the context of this club.


George Nebieridze