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Arman Hambardzumyan with "Hector"

Responding to Violence through Art

by Muriel Mirak-Weissbach
YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 4, 2021 — Every message I have received from Armenia over the holidays has expressed the notion that 2020 was a terrible year for everyone, and doubly so for Armenia. Not only has the pandemic brought sickness and death to many families, but the war in Artsakh has left the country traumatized, many young people wounded or killed in battle.

Arman Hambardzumyan, a young artist in Yerevan, wrote that he worked through the end of November, trying to express his feelings through art. Three sculptures resulted from the process: “Jason,ˮ “The Battle against the Minotaur” and “The Child of War.ˮ The last one, created during the military conflict, has a special concept.

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“The Battle Against the Minotaur”

“The idea was born,ˮ he explained, “when I saw the destroyed childhood of the children living in Artsakh, hiding in shelters under the bombed-out buildings. In the eyes of the children, I read the pain of the horror of war.ˮ Arman called it a “war of generations.ˮ In earlier times, he said, “children used to play with balloons or fly kites, but today out of a peaceful sky comes danger, with drones and bombers.ˮ In his sculpture the child is holding the string to a kite, which “has turned into a military drone bearing the flag symbols of countries engaged in aggression against the Armenians.ˮ Those countries that supplied the drones have carried out “deadly policiesˮ that have become “a plague for our Armenian nation.ˮ

With this sculpture, Arman said, “I raise my voice and condemn the insidious military policy of the governments of Turkey, Azerbaijan and Israel towards our peaceful country. This sculpture represents all children worldwide whose childhood has been shattered by the aggression of foreign enemies.ˮ

In the recent war, Arman’s brother Haykaz was deployed in one of the most dangerous places in the south, and fortunately returned home safely.

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“The Child of War”

Arman was born in 1988 and was a child when newly-independent Armenia was engaged in war in Nagorno-Karabakh. As a youngster, he had no toys, and therefore had to make himself things for amusement. His father always wanted to become an artist but did not have the means to do so; Arman decided to realize his father’s dream and, while still in elementary school, determined to study art. He attended the Henry Igityan National Art Center, then earned his master’s degree at Yerevan Pedagogical University. He has specialized in bronze sculptures, focusing on subjects from mythology, including the Homeric epics. One magnificent piece depicts Hector, the Trojan warrior.