This bronze sculpture, entitled “Autumn”, was made by Merab Berdzenishvili of Georgia—then a part of the Soviet Union–in 1990. Showing a woman holding grapes and a pomegranate, it celebrates the harvest at year’s end. The sculptor has achieved great fame in his homeland and still lives there—at least according to what information is easily available on the internet.
Grand Traverse County came to possess this work of art at a time when the Soviet Union was collapsing. Delegations from this area and Georgia visited both countries beginning in 1989, the resulting cordial relations bringing about an exchange of artistic works, the sculpture for the County and stained glass designed by architect Bob Holdeman and artist Paul Welch for the Republic of Georgia.
Through a Rotary grant, the statue was brought to this country and erected in 1991. On July 4th one hundred-seventy people gathered to hear speakers extol the friendship between the two regions, each one known for its production of fruit and other agricultural products. An exchange student from Georgia, Maka Machkhaneli, spoke of the ending of Cold War, “…we realize how similar we are. I remember when before, you thought we wanted war and we thought you wanted war. It’s so nice that now we understand.”