Opening Night & Thanks: ANKAPital

by Anna K. Gargarian


Today, April 24th 2015, marks the centennial commemoration of the Armenian Genocide. Yerevan is gray and quiet, many of the shops and bars are closed out of solemn respect. It’s a stark energetic contrast to yesterday evening’s System of a Down (SOAD) concert that filled Republic Square with an exhilarated (albeit rainy) buzz- a celebration of life and resilience in the face of tragedy.

10997976_10153306512000559_1050076477556982755_nBut today is reserved to the memory, sacrifice and bravery of the lives lost one hundred years ago. I cannot help but feel immensely grateful on so many levels despite the sadness that inevitably accompanies this commemoration. I am happy to be here in Yerevan in this moment as an Armenian and descendent of genocide survivors. I am grateful to be a part of many interesting international commemorative projects honoring our collective memory and human rights, like the “DRAEM” installation in Copenhagen (DK) which I’ve curated with artist and architect Allen Sayegh for the Armenian Embassy to Denmark and Norway, and for the opportunity to curate the upcoming “Memory and Dreams” Armenian Pavilion at the Beijing International Art Biennale this fall thanks to the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Armenia. I am also thankful to be contributing locally to the art scene through HAYP Pop Up Gallery, a personal project I started with my dear cousin Charlotte Poulain last fall, and which has continued due to the support, love and help of many dear friends who believe in me and this project. I feel truly lucky!

***

In this moment of thanks and reflection, and exactly one week into our 10-day exhibit, I would like to take this opportunity to thank those who were a part of making ANKAPital happen. I am thrilled to share with you the photos of ANKAPital’s inauguration, HAYP’s current collective exhibit that opened with a bang last Friday, April 17 and that will continue to be on view until Monday April 27th. The turnout was incredible and the exhibit looked great (which seemed highly unlikely 48 hours earlier). Over 500 people attended the event throughout the course of the evening, thanks to our social media following and our central location that attracted a lot of foot-traffic.

ANKAPital_panorama

The exhibit features a group of 15 contemporary artists from Italy, Argentina, France and Armenia and the artworks include painting, installation, photography and video art. Opening Night also featured a live musical performance by Heavy Shepherd, an experimental punk-folk-blues-digital-hip-hop ensemble that totally rocked ANKAPital. Special thanks have to be given to our sponsors Golden Grape ArmAs for providing us with our Pop Up location and wine for opening night. Other gracious sponsorship included: Crumbs Bread Factory for catering, Orange France for Internet connection, AYB School and THE SCreENERY for projectors, and the LUYS foundation for chairs and a media team.

heavy shepherd

Heavy Shepherd, a three-man ensemble with Saro Arshag, Devon Yagian-Boutelle, and Shant Kerbabian, performed at HAYP’s opening along with projection art by Saro Arshag.

Our guests included a predominantly young crowd including many local artists, hipsters (what kind of art gallery opening would this be without them?) and socialites. Some important diplomatic officials, entrepreneurs and international organizational heads were also spotted at HAYP. And of course, a huge number of friends and supporters of HAYP Pop Up Gallery were present, many of whom lent a helping hand during the clean-up and prep work of the space.

On that note….Thank You!

ANKAPital could not have happened without the support of so many people. A huge thank you to HAYP team members Rachel Nersesian for coordinating all of the events, to Lilit Markosian for the social media and graphic design, and to Sonya Armaghanyan for assisting in administrative help and for bringing theater to HAYP through EVN 24 Hour Theater. Thank you also to Karine Vann for her journalistic support, as well as the networking and collaborative opportunities that she has brought to HAYP.

We’ve also had many volunteers who’ve lent a physical hand in cleaning up the space, thank you to Robin Kuehn and Caden Nathan James for helping despite not knowing much about HAYP at the time! Thank you to Khashayar Zandyavari and Seda Orbelian for your assistance during events. An enormous special thanks to Mehdi Moqimi who has been a constant and reliable anchor throughout the entire process- from transforming the space, to providing much-needed caffeine, to overseeing technical assistance for our projections. A huge thank you also to Hermine Sarkissian, a dear friend, my flat-mate, and a great supporter of HAYP who has bared with my neurosis, mess and sleepless nights these past three weeks: her calm presence and patience has been a silent source of strength for me. Another big thank you to the whole ArmAs team, including Manushak and Hagop, and in particular to Victoria Aslanian and Armen Aslanian for providing us with a very talented and efficient construction crew to set up lights and walls where needed. Thank you to our neighbors at Megerian Carpets for providing us with a restroom and sink when needed (alas, the pop up life is one without a WC!). A huge thank you to all of the artists for being a part of this project: thank you to Janine Gaelle for putting me in touch with artist Noumeda Carbone, and thank you to Noumeda for coming here all the way from Florence, to RIZEK for sending his custom work from abroad, and to local artists Asya Yaghmurian, Davit Galstyan, and Vahram Akimyan for helping to install the exhibit. Other amazing artists in show include: Samvel Saghatelian, Artak Gevorgyan, NavereY, Nairi Khatchadourian, Lucy Kirakosyan, Florencia Babouian, Shamiram Khachatryan, Ruben Malayan, Adrineh Gregorian and Serge Navasardyan.

Thank you to everyone!

Now here are the pictures:

 

by Anna K. Gargarian

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