The invitation to ponder upon Armenian spectatorship unearthed long-forgotten memories, magnifying the deep-rooted passion for cinema in my formative years. Etched in my earliest recollections are scenes from the Amateur Cinema Club of the Soviet Armenian Trade Union on Nalbandyan Street in Yerevan, where my late father, Artavazd Torosyan, a fervent cinephile, steered the helm. I was bewitched by the international film festival posters and enigmatic film reels strewn across the club, while the editing room’s ambience conjured an aura of impenetrable mystery. Seated in the corner of the club’s tiny cinema hall, my imagination took flight with the magic of still frames transformed into movement.
Dubbed the “Lonely Hearts Club” by filmmaker Levon Kalantar, the Amateur Cinema Club — an oasis of freedom and self-expression primarily for unattached young men — transcended its role as a mere showcase for revered cinematic oeuvres. It was a milieu that brought together a motley group of film aficionados with diverse origins, kindling their creative spirit with the romantic promise of artistic achievement and the glory of audience appreciation. Having emerged as a form of “occupational therapy” for the frustrated proletariat in the mid-1950s, such clubs proliferated across the socialist block, often producing remarkable artists and works. This condition of creative passion, unburdened by ideological and bureaucratic chains of the official film industry, was brilliantly captured in Kryzstof Kieslowski’s 1979 social satire Amator.
Established in 1982, the Armenian club of amateur filmmakers also had its share of triumphs. In 1988 — just to cite one example — a 16mm, 7-minute film called Conductors by the Club’s member, Artashes Hovhannisyan, won the Grand Prix at the Union Internationale du Cinéma (UNICA) International Festival in Zagreb. This victory marked the first occasion in half a century where a Soviet-made film had won this accolade at that prestigious festival. Alas, this feat would also bookend a once-thriving cultural phenomenon, which came to an end in the early 1990s, following Armenia’s independence and its descent into economic chaos. The closing of the club was just one sign that a much bigger and vital social practice was on the precipice of complete eradication — the country’s film viewing culture itself.
Cinema as Collective Storytelling
Armenian culture has a rich legacy of tales of resilience and fortitude, weaving a vibrant tapestry of history, dreams and desires, transcending the confines of time and geography. The ancient bards have now metamorphosed into the modern bards of rap and the spoken word, bearing witness to the unfaltering importance of storytelling in Armenian communities worldwide. As the most popular and wide-reaching form of narration since the early 20th century, cinema has played a crucial role in modern Armenian society as a proselytizer of our stories and voices. The existence of a highly evolved film culture in Armenia is, then, not simply a matter of national pride (especially on the eve of Armenian cinema’s centenary), but a political necessity — a tool that must be treasured, polished and employed with greater skill. But there can be no “film culture” per se without the essential connection between local audiences and the local screen.
After nearly 20 years of doldrums and stasis, the local film industry has managed to slowly bounce back, showing a robust “heart-rate” with an average of 25 features per year and an increasingly strong presence on the international festival circuit. But do these films truly reflect the realities of the people and the country that they purport to represent? And do these people actually care? The dominance of trashy television series and the lack of film distribution systems in the country speaks of a fundamental problem. Have the long years of decline created an irrevocable gap between Armenian audiences and the Armenian screen?
The Local Screen: An Endangered Tradition
During the Soviet epoch, Armenian cinema blossomed, giving rise to myriad films that garnered critical acclaim and captivated the masses, who made them part of their daily lexicon. Though circumscribed by the ideological dictums of the Communist party, the local film industry did, for better or worse, address thematic subjects that were close to the public’s heart — from pressing social issues, momentous historical events, local folklore and customs, as well as human-interest stories with universal appeal. At almost any given time, one could catch an Armenian-made film on the big screen and attending the cinema multiple times a week was a customary practice, as film producer and cinema-going advocate Melik Karapetyan recalls. For film director Levon Kalantar, the cinematic experience served as a refuge, whisking audiences away from the stark realities of Soviet life.
My aunt paints the act of attending the cinema in the 1970s not as mere idle diversion, but as a vibrant celebration of life itself. She recalls, with nostalgia, how her parents and friends would meander and engage in animated conversation for hours, en route to the theater, anticipation pulsing through the whole process. Post-film, they would convene at cafes like Ugolok and Poplavok, dissecting the movie over countless cups of black coffee. The experience carved itself a permanent niche in my aunt’s memory as an identity-forming custom.
To her, the cinema and theater were sacred spaces — venues like Cinema Moscow and Nairi serving as small windows that helped to expand their limited idea of the world behind the Iron Curtain. And even when the fates conspired against them, with films faltering midway, my aunt’s fervor for the cinema never wavered. She reminisces how, post-movie, their group would always traverse the distance home en masse. No transport was required, for scaling the uphill Baghramyan Avenue demanded a mere quarter of an hour. And often, their footsteps would lead them to the serene embrace of Pushkin Park, where they would grab one last drink in the verdant tranquility of its leafy shadows.
All of this changed after independence unfurled its wings. The 1990s bore witness to stagnation, as geopolitical strife, scant state funding, and meager filmmaking resources led to the transfer of cinema ownership to private hands. Consequently, many theaters were sold or transformed into shopping centers, cafes or even car washes and funeral homes, resulting in a complete breakdown of the national distribution system. This process profoundly impacted the Armenian film industry, curtailing opportunities for local filmmakers to showcase their work and stymying the development of cinema spectatorship. Thus, movie-going experiences ebbed, film production faltered, and film-going as a cultural practice teetered on the brink of extinction.
The industry has experienced a gradual renaissance in recent years, culminating in a post-independence cinematic wave seeking to redefine the national identity. Recently, the swell of international and public support, coupled with private initiatives, has ushered in fresh opportunities to modernize and diversify the cinematic landscape, including cinema halls in shopping malls, which are attracting a new generation of film enthusiasts and entrepreneurs. In tandem with the ongoing revitalization and modernization of Armenian cinema, a burgeoning movement to preserve the nation’s cinematic legacy has gained momentum. Classic films are digitized and restored, affording new generations the opportunity to rediscover Armenian cinema’s rich history, and to gain a more profound understanding of the nation’s cultural past.
In recent years, a massive campaign initiated by the National Cinema Centre of Armenia has seen the restoration and preservation of several seminal Armenian films, including Parajanov’s “The Color of Pomegranates” and Frunze Dovlatyan’s “Hello, It’s Me”. These restored films are gracing international film festivals and museum screens, such as MOMA, the Pompidou and Cinémathèque Française, which has considerably helped to elevate the profile of Armenian cinema on the world stage in just a few years. Meanwhile, significant efforts are also being made to re-introduce this legacy around Armenia through traveling screening programs, such as the 2023 “Armenian Cinema Century”. But what of contemporary Armenian cinema? Does it still hold the power to bring audiences together into the magic act known as “collective dreaming”?
Shaping the Blind Spectator
As we ponder the diverse means by which films are consumed, it’s vital to acknowledge the distinct experiences each mode of contemporary spectatorship affords. Whether attending a cinema screening, or “scanning” a film via streaming or electronic devices, the manner of consumption dramatically changes the way we encounter moving image narratives.
When attending a screening, a tangible presence is forged, uniting the viewers in the act of sharing a collective experience in real-time. The venue’s ambience and design impart an additional layer of aesthetic richness, transforming the film-viewing act into much more than a mere “retinal” process. Conversely, engaging with a film through streaming, television, or personal devices proffers a more intimate, personal connection. The viewer holds the reins, dictating pace, volume, and other nuances that influence our perception of the film.
While both forms of engagement boast their own merits, the communal experience of attending a screening remains unparalleled in terms of its social impact. The audience’s shared emotions and reactions amplify the film’s impact, engendering a tangible sense of fellowship seldom found elsewhere. This aspect becomes particularly crucial for “small”, “regional” or “national” cinemas that must compete with the omnipotence of Hollywood in order to preserve the fragile links of relevance between local audiences and local film production. This is why countries like France and Israel have strict state-sanctioned quotas for the screening of locally-made movies.
Amid the allure of popular comedies and the dominance of global blockbusters, Armenian art house or auteur cinema finds itself eclipsed. The reason? Escapist cinema presents a fleeting, yet invaluable, refuge from life’s stark realities in a society marred by perpetual conflict. Often dismissed by intellectual circles, these films, nonetheless, occupy a cherished corner in many Armenian hearts and have to be taken seriously, at least on an anthropological level. As the cinema lights dim, daily concerns dissolve, giving way to shared laughter and camaraderie. In those transient moments, the common space of the theater becomes filled with infectious laughter, offering a brief therapeutic respite from a chaotic world. Small wonder, then, that these comedies continue to bewitch mass audiences in Armenia and sometimes even manage to eclipse the biggest blockbusters in box-office returns.
Such films, however, rarely take on the critically-responsive stance that today is expected even of the most mass-appealing movie entertainment (witness Disney’s African-American mermaid, or the gay characters in recent Marvel Universe films). Rather, Armenian popular cinema takes on the function of a Vaseline screen — diffusing the audience’s fears and anxieties about their reality. Hence, the crucial hurdle for Armenian commercial filmmakers resides in effectively encapsulating the intricate socio-political past and present within their films. Echoing André Bazin’s assertion that “cinema substitutes for our gaze a world more in harmony with our desires,” Armenian popular cinema deftly fills the void of socio-political rumination with a suffocating glut of escapism and (usually baseless) self-reassurance. As momentarily therapeutic as such productions may be, their net effect is one of alienation. Instead of providing the audience a means to experience and understand the complexities of their socio-political condition, such films deepen the disconnect between the audience and their real-life challenges, which begin to seem unbearable in comparison with the “safe zones” offered by the escapist screen with its perennially happy endings and facetious view of the world.
Ironically, the ability to turn sharp and relevant social commentary into distilled and perfectly calibrated entertainment was once a defining trait of Armenian cinema, which has produced brilliantly funny, moving and critically incisive films like “01-99”, “The Golden Calf”, “The Tango of Childhood” and “Autumn Sun” that unfailingly continue to attract the new generation of audiences who were born long after the collapse of the USSR. In today’s Armenian cinema, however, this dramaturgical tradition has all but been lost, engendering a sharply delineated divide between “serious” and populist modes of moviemaking.
The study of this phenomenon reveals an intricate interplay of factors, encompassing aesthetic, economic and political dimensions, and the profound challenges of translating current realities into cinematic language. The present state of popular Armenian cinema is characterized by a penchant for verbose and maudlin storytelling, often burdened by conventional narrative structures and hackneyed visual and musical motifs, that are dependent on tired jokes and foreseeable outcomes. The dominance of these stale tropes on the cinema screens risks stifling the audience’s acceptance of ambitious, provocative and innovative voices, curtailing their potential to induce social change.
This convolution resonates with Guy Debord’s concept of the “spectacle,” a form of mediation that replaces social interactions with images and maintains the dominant economic system. The “spectacle” emphasizes the visual, fragments experiences, and creates a passive audience, contributing to social control and preventing collective resistance. The prevalence of this “spectacle culture” leads to what American postmodern theorist Frederic Jameson has described as the “loss of the real” and its replacement by simulacra — a condition that seems glaringly pertinent to the problematic nature of contemporary Armenian mass entertainment. The rift between experience and representation elicits films that, despite their occasional turn to social and political issues, fail to convey meaning. This dissonance between a filmmaker’s intent and a spectator’s reception dilutes the impact and value of these cinematic pursuits.
Moreover, ethical dilemmas emerge when certain filmmakers attempt to address sensitive or contentious subjects, exposing the general lack of intellectual or political awareness and an overarching culture of conformism. Striking a balance between authentic representation and avoiding exploitation or sensationalism is a precarious act. Occasionally, this balancing act may marginalize certain perspectives or reinforce damaging stereotypes. Laura Mulvey’s 1975 essay “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”, which delves into the construction of the male gaze in cinema, illuminates the power dynamics of spectatorship in the Armenian context. Indeed, Armenian society, as with many others, remains steeped in patriarchal attitudes and gender tropes. Dominated by male directors for much of its existence, the local film industry, sadly, has and continues to play a significant part in shaping cultural norms that perpetuate the objectification and subordination of women. The continuing strength of these attitudes is evidenced not only by the extremely offensive and misogynist slate of popular sitcoms and TV shows like Women’s Club, but also by mainstream hits like Super Mama (2015) and Caller Unknown (2019), which toy with ideas of female empowerment and non-traditional sexualities, only to reinstate the unshakable validity of heteronormative, patriarchal roles.
In this context, the burden of providing actual and meaningful address on ongoing social, political and cultural realities falls squarely upon the handful of filmmakers whose works operate in the realm of “artistic” production and entail a mode of reflective engagement to which local audiences seem increasingly ill-accustomed to. The issue here is not simply the intellectually demanding nature of these films, or their rejection of the entertainment factor. Suffice to say that Armenian “art house” cinema has stayed humbly behind the challenging lengths scaled by film festival darlings like Bela Tarr, Lav Diaz or Tsai Ming-liang and rarely attempts to shake-up the waters of narrative convention. Rather, the problem seems to be in the general failure of Armenian auteurs to seek and find a common ground with their native audiences or each other, to develop an understanding of local sensory and perceptual patterns that in cinematic terms is usually translated as “authentic rhythm”.
Even a cursory survey of local art house productions will reveal a multitude of discursive approaches that operate within self-enclosed, pointedly individualistic aesthetic worlds that sideline any gestures for common ground or dialogue. As a result, these disparate voices fail to coalesce into a wider phenomenon that often come to be known as “new waves” or “schools” of national cinemas, effectively barring the possibility for the emergence of a cohesive language (French for language) for the Armenian screen. In short, local cinema does not offer the local viewer a particular “mode” or a “lens” for seeing and thinking about the world. In lieu of this, the audience turns back to the most common visual lingua franca — the mass screen of TV and social media realm — which instead of enabling a means of seeing the reality, blindfolds the spectator with gratuitous spectacle.
Towards the Emancipation of Armenian Spectatorship
Can artists and the “art cinema”, more specifically, counteract this deluge of blind spectacle? The media theorist Eugene Thacker seems to think so, contending that, rather than submitting to the entanglements of simulation and reality, artists possess the capacity to explore these complexities through their work. In so doing, they may challenge the pervasive utilization of simulation as a mechanism for social governance. Thacker champions the birth of a novel artistic form, one that melds political engagement with a profound comprehension of the intricate interconnections that weave technology, society and reality into a complex tapestry. Seen from this angle, the existence of “art house” films and a devoted viewership for them, becomes not merely an indulgence for the “developed” cultures, but an actual political necessity.
There are glimmers of hope for the eventuation of such cinema in Armenia, as budding filmmakers endeavor to extricate themselves from pervasive constraints and explore uncharted avenues of cinematic creation and engagement. By experimenting and challenging established norms, as well as reappraising local, forgotten cinematic traditions, they carve a path toward recuperating a pro-active and dynamic Armenian film culture.
Within the local cultural scene, the discourse between filmmakers and broader audiences has been tenuous, as scant platforms, marketing, attendance or ephemeral post-screening engagement continues to be the norm. The task of bridging this chasm, and nurturing the growth of Armenian film culture has often fallen on the shoulders of committed individuals like Melik Karapetyan. Commencing at various locations since 2003, including his own apartment, the National Gallery of Armenia (2004-2011) and The Club cafe, Karapetyan’s film events have garnered a steadfast following among the Armenian art-loving public. While limited in its reach, his long-term initiatives have helped to reignite the kernel of film-appreciation, which has continued to grow and spread, even after Karapetyan stopped his regular programming activities in 2020.
For a country with such a dearth of cinema screens or lack of institutionalized film education, Armenia also has a paradoxical abundance of film festivals. The progenitor and still the leading actor in this circuit is The Golden Apricot International Film Festival (GAIFF). Established in 2004, this event has evolved into an internationally-respected cinematic platform. But more importantly, GAIFF has been instrumental in luring local audiences back into the cinema halls’ embrace, making them more accustomed to an array of artistic and avant-garde films from across the globe. My own experiences volunteering, interpreting, and later collaborating with the festival team unveiled the infinite horizons of the cinematic universe, shaping my future aspirations and my passion for this art form. Crucially, the Festival also serves as a premiere platform for launching and promoting local cinema through its regional program.
In fact, the festival circuit has become a vital mediator between local filmmakers and audiences. With their dedicated audiences and teams, the festivals create a buffer-zone of tolerance and engagement for films with more critical and experimental imperatives that would otherwise never achieve a point of contact with the wider public. This framework helps to (ever-so) slowly ingest more challenging ideas and representations into the public sphere, which is otherwise incredibly sensitive and wary of head-on provocations.
Trailblazing Female Filmmakers
A marker of these long-brewing efforts is the remarkable shift in the structural make-up of the Armenian film industry, which today boasts an unprecedented sleigh of very young practitioners and a veritable “wave” of trailblazing female filmmakers. Their stories, imbued with refreshing perspectives and unique voices, are also resonating with new kinds of audiences who were under–, or never represented previously: women, ethnic and sexual minorities, the diaspora. All of which indicates the still untapped potential and reach of Armenian cinema.
Take, for example, the Iranian-Armenian filmmaker Anahit Abad, whose masterful storytelling in the film “Yeva” (2017) garnered acclaim and accolades at international film festivals. Abad’s deft exploration of themes such as gender, identity and memory is woven into the interconnected web of a gripping narrative told from a female perspective. As such, the film shows the way in which “women’s pictures” may be successfully interposed with issues of greater national and political urgency. Similarly, Tamara Stepanyan Ferrari’s “Those From the Shore” (2017), positions itself as a resolutely subjective and poetic black and white documentary, while tackling the painful problem of Armenian economic migrants in France.
This new tendency to intersect individual, creative aspirations with more socially-engaged attitudes is, perhaps most successfully, realized in Inna Sahakyan’s 2022 “Aurora’s Sunrise”. Artfully blending testimony, archival footage, and motion-capture animation, it underscores the importance of preserving the memory of the Armenian Genocide through currently-pertinent issues, such as women’s rights. The film’s critical success, evident in its numerous accolades such as the prestigious Grand Prix at the 2023 FIFDH and the Asia Pacific Screen Award, also indicates that local cinema has finally reached a stage where it’s able to relay local stories to global audiences.
But, despite these spearheading female-led efforts towards a more effervescent and dynamic film culture in Armenia, local viewers often remain oblivious and even suspicious of such new, “challenging” cinematic gestures. A case in point is the relative failure of “Aurora’s Sunrise” to garner much of an audience on its home turf. In spite of its high-profile subject and gripping execution, the film had a meager theatrical distribution in Yerevan for just a couple of weeks.
No Tangible Discourse
The issue appears to be not so much in the films themselves, but the lack of an overall framework that could facilitate an active connection between audiences and local cinema. In fact, one may claim that there is no tangible discourse around local cinema, at all. Critics and scholars frequently shape such discourses among broader audiences, inciting engaged reception and dialogue. But Armenia’s close-knit artistic community and modest population have led to a pronounced dearth of cinematic criticism after the USSR’s collapse. Personal relationships and cultural production are deeply interwoven, and the intricate dance between filmmakers, audiences and critics may at times devolve into a snarl of tension, restricting the uninhibited flow of critical exchange.The trepidation of causing offense to friends or acquaintances within the filmmaking community frequently results in a culture of silence, where accolades are abundant and reflection is subdued. While this atmosphere can prove supportive for burgeoning talent, it may also stifle growth and ingenuity, impeding the evolution of a critical discourse vital for a thriving artistic community.
However, social media and alternative platforms are engendering new opportunities for a constructive dialogue and commentary between filmmakers and their audiences. A major boon in this direction is the recent re-emergence of the old House of Cinema in Yerevan as a re-branded Cinematheque. Featuring a large, renovated cinema hall and top-quality projection, this space has quickly become a hot-spot for high-profile premiers, retrospective programs and meetings. Most recently it hosted sold-out retrospectives of filmmakers like Andrei Tarkovski and Andrei Zvyagintsev, which have, not surprisingly, also drawn in Yerevan’s emigree communities. The presence of such a dedicated cinematic platform in the capital promises to elevate the notion of “serious” film-viewing as an important cultural practice, thus helping to finesse the levels of film appreciation amidst the general public and, subsequently, raise the bar for local film productions.
Overall, the aims outlined above are primarily upheld by actors from Armenia’s private, non-governmental sector. More is done in terms of public film education by the roster of film-related programs on the independent channel Boon.Tv, than by the entire state-based educational system. The latter lags far beyond comparative systems in the West, which have long made media studies and film appreciation into staples of secondary and higher education. Nevertheless, this state of play has its own advantages, as lack of government interference enables the development of a fluid and diverse network of niche initiatives, each of which contributes to a growing constellation of distinct audience groups. And for a society, in desperate need for such diversification, this can only spell a positive outcome.
At the crux of shaping a film’s meaning, active spectator engagement embroiders a complex cultural mosaic. To nurture the emancipated spectators envisaged by Jacques Rancière, we must dismantle barriers obstructing audience involvement within Armenian film spectatorship, promoting film education and communication, and enriching our comprehension of cinema and the wider cultural context. The persistent collaborative efforts among educational establishments, cultural organizations, and the film industry have the potential to forge spaces for discourse, fostering a dynamic and multifarious film culture.
A renaissance is also called for in the realm of film criticism and scholarship, fostering a more unencumbered and generative discourse on the art of cinema. By offering a platform for meaningful critique and diverse viewpoints, we can ensure that the films produced are not only artistically valid, but also more diffractive of the varied threads of Armenian society. In doing so, we lay the groundwork for a more inclusive and captivating film culture, wherein audiences from all walks of life can contribute to molding the trajectory of Armenian cinema, while allowing the latter to have a more direct and constructive role in shaping our socio-cultural reality.
Vigen Galstyan contributed to this article.
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Higbee, W., & Lim, S. H. (Eds.). (2010). Cinemas of the Other: A Personal Journey with Film-Makers from the Middle East and Central Asia. Intellect.
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Thacker, E. (2001). The science fiction of technoscience: the politics of simulation and a challenge for new media art. Leonardo, 34(2), 155-158.
Magazine Issue N29
A Century of Cinema
Back in the first years of the war-torn, crisis-stricken and extremely fragile Soviet Armenian republic, a small group of passionate, young idealists decided that the economically destitute country had to establish its own film industry from scratch, thus enabling the transmission of Armenian stories to audiences worldwide, while helping to edify the downtrodden masses at home. Exactly 100 years after that fateful date in 1923, Armenian cinema has traversed a path of remarkable complexity and drama, which merits a “biopic” in its own right. Reflecting back on this history, we find not only a sprinkling of beloved cinematic narratives that have long become a part of Armenia’s cultural fabric, or a handful of films that have, astonishingly, made an impact on the development of the 7th art itself. What we find, above all, is a poignant reflection of the nation’s collective spirit – its great aspirations and dreams, its woeful failures and missteps, its fears and its will to persevere against all odds.
The richness of this legacy truly marks one of the great peaks of Armenian cultural achievement, and to celebrate it, EVN Report has dedicated its May issue to some of its proudest, as well as more under-acknowledged moments. In her article on Daniel Dznuni, Anush Vardanyan sheds new light on the inspiring and tragic fate of the Armenian film industry’s spearheading founder, while the editor of our Et Cetera section, Vigen Galstyan dissects the intricate codes of one of the greatest Soviet films of the 1960s, Frunze Dovlatyan’s “Hello, It’s Me”, newly restored by the National Cinema Center of Armenia. Turning her attention on the venerated school of Armenian animation, Sona Karapoghosyan has unearthed a veritable pleiad of women animators, whose contributions and achievements to the medium have been mostly ignored thus far. Looking at the “other end” of film culture – the audiences – Taguhi Torosyan analyzes the significance of film spectatorship as a social phenomenon, and what the current haphazard relationship between local viewers and the Armenian screen means in political terms. Rounding off the issue is a beautiful gallery of rarely-seen foreign-produced posters for Armenian movies, which testify to our cinema’s once-notable presence on the international arena – a position that it has been tentatively and steadily returning to in recent years.
The remarkable contributions to the development of Armenian animation by female artists have yet to be explored and properly appreciated. In her latest article, Sona Karapoghosyan unearths a veritable pleiad of women animators.Read more
Magazine Issue N27
Books & Literature
Armenian books and literature have a rich history dating back more than 1,500 years. Following the invention of Gutenberg’s printing press, the first Armenian book to ever be published was the Book of Friday prayers (Urbatagirk) by Hakob Meghapart in Venice in 1512. However, the tradition of books and literature can be traced back to the 5th century, considered the Golden Age of Armenian art and literature. The invention of the Armenian alphabet in 405 AD by Mesrob Mashtots became a major turning point for the Armenian people and provided the foundation of a literary tradition that began with making the Bible and translations of the Classical world accessible, opening Armenian schools, and thus ushering in the spread of literacy. A new generation was being educated in their mother tongue, one that would better understand the plight of their nation and homeland. From the earliest works ever written, all the way to contemporary times, Armenian books and literature have helped form the basis for Armenian cultural identity.
The magazine issue for March — “Books and Literature” — include articles about the art of translation, what it means to be a literary agent in modern day Armenia, memory and literature, how books can help teach children about disabilities, and how Armenian literature created the image of Yerevan as a “sunny city” during the last century, serving as a lens to read the capital of the country.
Reading children's literature that includes characters with disabilities can be instrumental in changing attitudes and social stereotypes, writes Armenuhi Avagyan.Read more
A considerable volume of literature from antiquity to well-known 20th century writers is now available in Armenian. There is a need to expand the scope of translations from Spanish, one of the most spoken languages in the world, writes Alice Ter-Ghevondian.Read more
Literature’s contours are often greatly defined by catastrophic events such as war, genocide and exile. While academic accounts tend to focus on the detached analytical overview, the Arts reflect the more emotionally engaged personal and subjective reactions to historical upheaval.Read more