Snippets: “Lifting the Curtain”

Armenian creators Olivia Katrandjian, Nvard Yerkanian, Nairi Khatchadourian, Ophelia Harutyunyan share the intricacies of their artistic practice and shed light on their creative challenges 

June 17, 2021  |  by Creative Armenia

Creative Armenia’s artists Olivia Katrandjian, Nvard Yerkanian, Nairi Khatchadourian, and Ophelia Harutyunyan, who are on a journey of defining the modern Armenian artistic landscape, have faced many challenges when paving their path to success. During Creative Armenia Week’s “Lifting the Curtain” panel they let us peek behind the scenes of some of their signature works, spoke about their creative struggles and ambitions, and shared hopes about the future of art. Watch their insightful conversation and read through some of the most memorable moments below. 

Olivia Katrandjian, Writer 

“I don’t think writers should write a story because it is going to sell or not sell, or speak to certain people or not. Writing a book is such a long process that you have to be passionate about what you are going to spend years writing and rewriting and revising.”

“Starting International Armenian Literary Alliance has connected me with many interesting people and perspectives. And those relationships are so beneficial. Even if it is something like, ‘Have you read this book?’ I might go, ‘Oh I never heard of that, let me read it!’ and that inspires me to read something else. These kinds of connections are very important. As writers and artists, we all have to support each other otherwise we are just alone, doing it in our pajamas.”
 

Ophelia Harutyunyan, Filmmaker & Producer 

 

“With documentaries, you are a filmmaker but also a little bit of a journalist, depending on what kind of documentary films you make. You are researching and you are learning about the topic. You are, in a way, becoming a mini-expert and sharing this information with the general public.”

“Film is the most expensive medium. We do need a lot of equipment, and lights, and camera, and crew, and locations. It is a very big and expensive art. But what I love seeing is more and more people from the younger generation trying to break out and try to do new work with new gadgets, trying to tell their stories without needing a lot of money and crew.”

Nairi Khatchadourian, Curator 

 

“My approach is to build a strong relationship with the artist because I think that the curator and the curatorial practice is closely linked to the way one works with the artist. What I have been trying to do for five-six years is to establish deep relationships. Sometimes the artwork that gets created is an individual artwork but sometimes there are themes and practices that are shared among the artists and that leads to a collective exhibition.”

 

“What is really important is to establish a healthy ecosystem. And in any ecosystem, you have the commercial aspect as well, besides the artistic, the educational, the scientific. There are different ways to strengthen and make the ecosystem healthier. But there are really great examples happening now in Yerevan where different alternative spaces that are business-oriented are offering their space to artists and designers to produce works that are for sale.”

Nvard Yerkanian, Visual Artist & Curator 

 

“With my illustration series on Soviet ModernismI wanted to question the future. To ask a question, ‘We had this heritage but we are almost losing it. Are we able to create architectural monuments that are as powerful as those were?’ Because we do not see much new architecture that makes a statement. Back in the Soviet times, those architectural monuments were communicating a message to the public. They had futuristic intentions. Today we do not see many examples like this in Armenia, so it was also kind of a provocation and reminder.”

 

“I consider myself as successful, as happy I am with what I do. Once you are not enjoying your work anymore, even if you are famous and stuff like that, I do not know if you can consider yourself successful.”

 

Anush Ter-Khachatryan 

Moderator

 

“There is a power in presenting that, in presenting the Armenian struggle in the background (of a novel) because in that way it becomes the truth, part of life, rather than in the foreground as a statement.”

 

“Creating art that eventually leads to social change has always been around historically but creating art that is advocating social change is a relatively new phenomenon and it’s beginning to become more and more part of the fabric of the creative process.”

Content list

An Inconvenient Truth, directed by Davis Guggenheim

International Armenian Literary Alliance, founded by Oliva Katrandjian

Totally Under Control, directed and produced by Alex Gibney and Ophelia Harutyunyan

“Inside Out,” art installation by Anush Ghukasyan; curated by Nairi Khatchadourian

Soviet Modernism, illustration series by Nvard Yerkanian