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Snippets: "Artists for Artsakh"

Artsakh’s cultural defenders Nora Martirosyan, Emily Mkrtichian, Lika Zakaryan, and Sevana Tchakerian discuss artistic responsibility in times of war and more in a panel moderated by Carla Garapedian

June 9, 2021  |  by Creative Armenia

The second panel of Creative Armenia Week (May 17-21, 2021) was swept up in passion, emotion, and reflection on the state and future of Artsakh. Conversations moved from uncertain to inspiring, from disappointed to hopeful. We have captured some of the most powerful and touching moments of the panel from the brave creators who have been advocating, defending, and lifting up Artsakh before, during, and after the war. 

Nora Martirosyan, Filmmaker 


“Cinema is not there to tell the truth. I think cinema is there to raise the reality to the level of a fiction that would affect you emotionally and intellectually. In fact, that emotional and intellectual effect is more important for me than the truth. It is important for the film to be based on reality – not the truth.”


“I think that any creation is an act of resistance. I agree with everything that was said, we can’t do much about politics. But if we stop resisting we are dead. I would encourage everyone to go on creating because creation is an act of resistance.”

Sevana Tchakerian, Musician



“I had a burnout at the end of December but until then, I couldn’t stop. Everyone kept telling us that we need to take a day off. But the thing is, I could not do it any other way. What was helping is hearing parents telling us thank you for bringing at least a bit of positivity in these days. Or when we went to see psychological facilities where the soldiers were with depression and mental health issues, the doctors said it was the first time they saw them smiling. Channeling this trauma and sharing these emotions, even if they are negative, is a healing process for everyone.”


“I don’t think we can make big political changes. But I also think we shouldn’t have boundaries in the way we express ourselves. If anyone can keep it real and really tell the story it is the artists and journalists. You can create change in human behavior and in civil society because art creates empathy and it allows people to connect. You see the faces of people who live there, tell the stories of people in Artsakh. You take out all the ‘Armenia’ and ‘Azerbaijan’, and you feel the pain and emotions.”


Emily Mkrtichian, Filmmaker 



“Around the world, in regions like this (Artsakh), women tend to shoulder a lot of the responsibility of what it takes to rebuild a country and pull a community together. And that was really interesting to me because a lot of the time that work is invisibilized. We don’t usually hold it up as a very typical form of strength and don’t recognize the role women are playing in community and state building.”


“For me, my ethical responsibility is to the people in my film, the people who are sharing their story. So I see that ethical obligation as a creation of a relationship that is based on trust. That they can trust me that I would – since ultimately I have control over the narrative that will be shown to lots of people – do justice to the intimate experiences they have shared with me.”


Lika Zakaryan, Journalist



“When the war started, I had only had two months journalism experience. I didn’t have a huge experience in these matters; I only had ten month courses of civic journalism before this and war corresponding wasn’t part of it. I didn’t have time to learn it step by step. In war, you are supposed to do whatever you can. The war was my teacher.”


“I just think that nothing can change politics. Only international organizations, people who rule this all can. It is their decision – I call them men in suits – they just sit and decide something and everything else happens. Nothing happens because some guy kills someone on the border and then the big war breaks out. Nothing happens like that. It is not up to me to decide when it comes to bigger politics.”

Dr. Carla Garapedian, Filmmaker 



“We often get questions in Creative Armenia from artists from different disciplines, asking about timing, ‘I need help to do this, I need help to do that.’ And your experience (to Lika), is very common for artists. You can’t always determine the path of your career. But you can have things happen to you and if you are ready to take that opportunity, and go with it, and be your authentic self you can actually succeed. It sounds odd but there is often a silver lining in disaster.”


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