Last year’s YEAR OF ARMENIA in France, called “Arménie, mon amie” (Armenia, my friend), was a coup for Armenian cultural awareness in the West…well, at least in Europe.
One of the most interesting exhibits from the French festivities, and there were tons of crappy ones judging by the web, was the Armenian photography show at the Institut du Monde Arabe (IMA) in Paris.
Thankfully, the IMA (which is a great museum in an amazing Jean Nouvel building) does a great job documenting its shows and in this case, a webpage and brochure exist online for posterity.
Focusing on work from North Africa (Egypt) and West Asia (Turkey, Israel/Palestine, Iraq), the show spanned 150 years of Armenian photography. Armenians had a seminal role in West Asian photography.
In places like Jerusalem, Armenians were the pioneers of the medium, while in Cairo, Baghdad, Beirut, Aleppo, Istanbul & Tehran most famous photographers were Armenian.
Admittedly, some photographers are more gifted than others and many tend to be to documentarian, but the Egyptian Armenian photographers are the exception and come across as artists—Van Leo, Angelo, and Katia Boyadjian are the crème de la crème of that creative flowering.
Perhaps one day, the other branches of Armenian photographic history (like Soviet & Anglo-American) will be given their day in the sun.
While I’ve posted half a dozen images from the exhibit here, check out the original exhibit brochure for more images from the IMA show (.pdf).
Leave a Reply