Artists in Armenia critical of government’s moves to limit artistic expression
Posted by kronstadt on February 14, 2007
This article was taken from Sasna Dzrer blog:
The following statement has come to our attention regarding a group of Armenian artists in Yerevan who have criticized the government for limiting freedom of expression and artistic expression. In particular, they cite the governmen’t banning of British performance artist Nigel Charnock’s solo show. Readers will remember that Mr. Charnock was taken to task for wrapping himself with the Armenian flag and walking on it. He has since apologized for this act but described himself as being quite fond of Armenia.
Yerevan – February 2, 2007
By this letter we express our principal disagreement with the situation in Armenia concerning art, culture and freedom. We find it very important to let you know and ask your support as the violation against freedom of art, expression and though has no geography and should be STOPPED and PROTESTED world-widely by all the means we have.
Please, forward and inform everybody about our pain and send/ show your position to the Armenian Government and all the people and organizations dealing with Armenia.
Here are the addresses:
Government of the RA:
1. Republic Square. Yerevan, Republic of Armenia Tel:. (374 10) 52 87 12, 52 74 02, Fax:. (374 10) 52 87 12 http://www.blogger.com/
Ministry of the Culture:
Government Building 3, Republic Square, Yerevan
Here is a copy of their full statement:
The Ministry of Culture Puts Veto on Freedom
It would be much better if the Minister of Culture would be capable to explain to the uneducated “pure Armenian” audience, who is far away from real art , having included the cotemporary in anachronic ethnic and militaristic, that the ART in THE WORLD is liberated times ago and the ARTIST is FREE to CREATE.
The art, the artist and the thought in Armenia are forbidden from now on. The announcement of Minister of Culture from 01.02.2007 recovers long-term Soviet totalitarian repressive machinery aimed to exclude alternative thinking and pluralism. Actually by this decision the artistic freedom without the approval of the Ministry of Culture in Armenia is forbidden.
From now on the art is arrested by the power- holders conditioned by their doubtful education, by soc-realistic spirit and by nationalistic vision. From this moment the government declares the existence of the only possible and nationally admitted culture in Armenia and “the one nation- one culture” becomes the general slogan of state repressions against free creation and free artist.
By the banning the performance of the British artist the artist in Armenia is forbidden too and the audience is forbidden to see, to listen, to feel and to think by his/ her own. This announcement has a direct trend to exile from the country all those, who are not agree to fit with state cultural standards.
In this context it becomes clear why in independent Republic of Armenia liberated from Soviet totalitarism the KGB Day is celebrated nation-widely and enthusiastically, the whole cultural space is filled with militaristic spirit, and the folk and rabiz are mixed and propaganded broadly.
This is the way how the fascism enters and becomes reality accompanied by the society’s excitement.
Such kind of insult was never given to the art in post-Soviet times. The real intellectual must react to this unprecedented violence.
Harutyun Simonian, artist
Lala Aslikyan, citizen
Astghik Melkonyan, artist
Tigran Khachatryan, artist
Mariam Elmasyan, professor- orientalist
Lori Yapujyan, musician
Aram Talalyan, professor, Conservatory
Karen Hakobian, musician, “Hope” NGO
Artur Avanesov, composer, culturologist
Karine Talalyan, musician
Lilit Zakaryan, art critic
Vigen Tadevosyan, artist
Vahe Boyajyan, professor, Yerevan State University
Anahit Vardanyan, lawyer
Avetis Avagyan, civil servant
Natalya Martirosyan, human rights activist
Shushan Vardanyan, pharmacist
Anna Barseghyan, art curator, utopist
Stephan Kristensen, scientist, political activist
Vakhtang Siradeghyan, RA citizen
Armen Ohanyan, RA citizen
Gayane Sargsyan, RA citizen
Suren Saghatelyan, RA citizen
Naira Sultanyan, RA citizen
Vehanush Hovhannisyan, “Meghvik” NGO
Bella Sargsyan, RA citizen
Marish Manucharyan, RA citizen
Sona Abgaryan, artist
Ruben Arevshatyan, art curator
Nika Yepiskoposyan, sociologist