Representing love separated by war, a massive kinetic sculpture in the city of Batumi is a public art landmark that draws the eye and tugs the hearts strings.

Situated on the promenade of the seaside city of Batumi, Georgia, a kinetic sculpture known as ‘Man and Woman’ stands as a testament to the tragic love story of a Muslim boy and a Christian girl.

‘Man and Woman’ is based on the novel ‘Ali and Nino’, a love story about two star-crossed lovers that endure during a time of war. The tragic story between a Muslim Azerbaijani boy and a Christian Georgian girl is set in Baku during 1918 - 1920.

From vastly different backgrounds, the two lovers are tested by the differences between the Eastern and Occidental cultures of Azerbaijan, and then separated by the onset of the Bolshevik Revolution. While Ali joins the war against the Russian invasion, Nino flees to Paris seeking safety, not knowing if they will see each other again. Sadly, Ali dies in battle before they are reunited.

Written by Kurban Said – a pseudonym for the still contested unknown author – and first published in 1937, this romantic epitaph to love torn asunder is considered a literary masterpiece and the national novel of Azerbaijan.

'Man and Woman' is created by Georgian sculptor Tamara Kvesitadze. The larger than life metal sculpture of two tragic figures, comprised of a series of metal discs, sits atop a moving platform that aids the movement of one figure through the other.  At 7pm daily the lovers begin a slow dance toward each other, meeting briefly in an intimate embrace before passing through each other.

Kvesitadze’s kinetic sculpture of the two lovers weighs approximately 7 tonnes and stands 8m-high. The mechanical movement of the two figures passing takes approximately 10 minutes and occurs once a day to the delight of the locals and tourists who gather to watch. The movement is controlled by computers and dramatically lit with coloured lights for maximum effect.

When the movement of ‘Man and Woman’ halts, the figures are left facing away from each other in a haunting testament to the tragic separation of Ali and Nino.

Location Batumi, Georgia
Artist Tamara Kvesitadze