“We didn’t care about nationality,” says an elderly lady. She is showing the house where she lived with her children as a young woman to her friend and the camera crew. The school was right around the corner. Everyone lived harmoniously door to door here: Armenians, Georgians, Abkhazians, Mingrelians. Until the war came. Everyone who could afford it fled. To Russia, to Turkey, to Georgia. Abkhazia, which considers itself a state, lies in the south of the Caucasus and borders on the Black Sea. Under international law the country belongs to Georgia, but has the status of an autonomous region.
The Abkhazian artist Sipa Labakhua has returned home after many years and now tours the country with his autobiographical puppet show. He tells of his own experiences, his flight, his father’s dreams – and collects more stories on his journeys: of Georgian peasants, Orthodox priests, Abkhazian nationalists, Syrian refugees and Russian hippies. The result is the poetic image of a society that couldn’t be more diverse and that is asking itself an essential question that concerns us all: How do you define the national and cultural identity of a country? Sipa Labakhua has a very original answer: He sees himself as a troubadour, his art as his country and his talent as his home.