Germany's Armenians Respond to Aggression

As reported in this newspaper, the Armenian Ambassador in Berlin Ashot Smbatyan had urged not to take part in unauthorized protest demonstrations, in an effort to avoid escalating tensions and prevent the outbreak of violence between Azerbaijanis and Armenians, whether in Germany or elsewhere. The Berlin authorities, both political and police, had been fully informed and were investigating to identify the perpetrators. Smbatyan sought to maintain calm and to prevent any acts that might provide a pretext for provocations.

If not though public demonstrations, then one most effective means of responding is found in art. To be sure, at the Berlin gathering, poems and music also played a part. But more is in the offing. Archi Galentz, artist a gallerist in the capital, announced on July 30 a major initiative, a special exhibition, dedicated to the theme: “: Gracefulness and Violence. Pictures of Landscapes and Traces of War.”

“Behind every exhibition lies a reason,” the announcement reads, and “this exhibition is simply a spontaneous reaction — a reaction to the renewed aggression by the south Caucasus Republic of Azerbaijan against the neighboring Republic of Armenia.” For three decades, hatred and violence have prevailed, and recently Turkish President Erdogan called for his country and its “sister” Azerbaijan, to complete the “mission of their forefathers.” Such statements reopen the wounds of the 1915 genocide, which is still being denied.

“Armenia,” the announcement continues, “lies in the crossroads of many different cultures and has developed its own emotional approach to the world. Even in landscape painting this independent character is recognizable.” Thus special relationships in space and color have contributed to creating “a unique aesthetic in painting.” And “singing praises to the barren mountains has even become a species of its own in visual art.”

The exhibition, which opens on August 9 and runs until August 30, presents landscapes from private collections in Berlin. The artists include Mher Abeghjan, Seda Bekarjan, Hakob Hakobjan, Khachatur Jesajan, Harutyun and Armine Kalenz, Vanik Sharanbeja, Henrikh Siravjan, Albert Tzovjan, Hovhannes Zardarjan, among others.

Counterposed to these paintings and drawings are photographs of landscapes by Zaven Sargsyan. The well-known photographer is founder and director of the Paradjanov Museum in Yerevan and has exhibited worldwide for the past 30 years. Among the works presented is a photo of the 13th century

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