Behind the Scenes: Organizing Lips of Pride

Art Talk by HAYP Pop Up Gallery & The Yerevan Underbelly @Mirzoyan Library. Photo credits: Mirzoyan Library.

From April 8 to 18, 2016, HAYP Pop Up Gallery will present its 6th contemporary art exhibition, Lips of Pride.

Lips of Pride will focus on the theme of women’s sexuality and societal perceptions of shame in Armenia. As the month-long celebration of “women’s day” comes to an end here in Armenia, we hope to encourage a different discussion on women’s rights.

Celebrating women with flowers and presents is one thing; making sure their voices are heard on sensitive topics such as reproductive rights, sexual autonomy and pleasure is quite another.

We received a lot of positive feedback, and it definitely seems like the chosen theme was inspiring: “Lips of Pride” will feature the works of 25 women artists from Armenia and abroad. Each artist will present a different perspective on the theme through various media – video, photography, painting, sculpture, installation.

We’re very happy to say that we received amazing support for that exhibition, which is entirely funded by Culture and Management Lab and the Swiss Cooperation Office, and by Armenian International Women’s Association (AIWA) Los Angeles chapter.

We experienced several hangups along the way, especially in terms of finding a space for “Lips of Pride”. Of course, scouting spaces in Yerevan and negotiating with landlords is nothing new for HAYP – it’s an occupational hazard of being a pop-up gallery… But we seemed to be out of luck for this exhibit: two proprietors backed up upon learning the theme of the exhibit, another found a better renter only a few days ago.

But we like to think of these difficulties as a blessing in disguise, because as it turns out, we ultimately found an awesome space in which to install “Lips of Pride”. It’s called Frigi Jiraff, and it’s definitely as cool as it sounds.

On March 15, we participated in a public discussion and gave a talk on feminist art historian Linda Nochlin’s famous essay “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists” at the Mirzoyan Library. Attendance was pretty awesome – see above picture!

In the next few days we’ll finalize the program details – you’ll be able to find it here on our website.

In the meantime, we can disclose as much: during Lips of Pride, HAYP Pop Up Gallery will host a panel discussion spearheaded by the Women’s Resource Center (WRC) and the Women’s Support Center (WSC), interactive workshops with PINK Armenia, a talk on art & geopolitics by researcher Paniz Musawi Natanzi from Tehran, three dance performances and a theater performance, all this between April 8-18… So stay tuned!

… And save the date: our opening night starts at 19:00, on Friday, April 8. DJ Anais Paws will perform, there will be wine courtesy of Nouart Aznuni, and delicious nibbles courtesy of INGREDIENT (yes, the awesome healthy food restaurant that just opened in Yerevan!). Admission will be free.

See you in two weeks!

Charlotte Poulain
Co-founder, Project Manager & Communications Coordinator
HAYP Pop Up Gallery

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