Art and peace-building
a

Art Cham

Photo: Olivia Jaques

Photo: Olivia Jaques

Photo: Olivia Jaques

Photo: Olivia Jaques

Photo: Franziska Koch

Photo: Seylan Elbas

Photo: Olivia Jaques

Photo: Augustina Salomon

Photo: Olivia Jaques

Photo: Olivia Jaques

Photo: Olivia Jaques

Photo: Olivia Jaques

Photo: Olivia Jaques

Photo: Olivia Jaques

An art project in an Armenian village on the border with Azerbaijan. During two weeks in late summer 2018, twelve Swiss art students travelled with artasfoundation to Armenia, from there they went on together with a group of young artists from Yerevan to Chambarak, a small town of around 5,800 inhabitants in the province of Gegharkunik. Chambarak has experienced major population changes since the early 1990s connected to the war with Azerbaidjan. Members of the Molokan Christian religious community were evacuated in the course of the forced resettlements between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Altogether, about 50% of Chambarak’s current inhabitants have been resettled, with some of them bringing their own cultural traditions. Today, a large part of the male population is employed in Russia, so therefore the everyday life of the village is mainly conducted by the women. Chambarak is not directly affected by fighting in the ongoing conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan but, like the entire border region, suffers from emigration, structural weakness and stagnation.

The 28 participants lived with twelve host families and used a children’s art school that was empty for the summer holidays as a temporary work space. The artists worked in different groups, exploring various local practices (from knowledge about herbs to the local embroidery tradition) and getting to know the city and its inhabitants. Curious children were invited to playful art workshops, the local shepherd was accompanied, an ephemeral monument was created to honour the new boxing champion of Armenia (a girl from Chambarak), a common mural was created, a final exhibition with drawings, videos and a performative city tour was organized, and so on. Another highlight was the concert of Yerevan’s new all-female band Tiezerk. The artistic projects in Chambarak used mostly experimental, collaborative and process-based approaches, whereby the role of the foreign artists in such a context was continuously examined.

Place and year
Chambarak, 2018

Participants
Maggie Araratyan, David Aydiyan, Sonja Berta, Seylan Elbas, Barbara Ellenberger, Anna Gevorgyan, Margarita Ghazaryan, Emma Lou Hermann, Olivia Jaques, Franziska Koch, Hrachuhi Loretsyan, Jenya Matevosyan, Sean Meaders, Shoghakat Mlke-Galstyan, Mariam Mughdusyan, Andrea Raemi, Dagmar Reichert, Augustina Salomon, Katerina Sedy, Milos Stolic, Maelle Torné, Anush Titanyan, Sofia Tsypkina, Cecily Ann Walti, Lucien Wampfler

Lecturers
Shoghakat Mlke-Galstyan (Yerevan)
Franziska Koch (ZHdK)
Olivia Jaques (ZHdK, artasfoundation)
Dagmar Reichert (ZHdK, artasfoundation)

Project management
Shoghakat Mlke-Galstyan (Yerevan)
Olivia Jaques (artasfoundation)

Partner organisations
Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK)
Yerevan State Institute of Theatre and Cinematography (Armenia)
Chambarak Art School

Financial contribution
Thomas Abegg Stiftung für Geist und Kultur