My beautiful Armenia – Hayastan


My beautiful Armenia – Hayastan

Leigh Anderton-Hall

Opening: December 6 5:30 pm

Viewing: December 6 until December 22

Հայաստան գրված Hayastan grvats

In the vibrant tapestry of Hayastan, Graham and I immersed ourselves in a two-week exploration during September 2023, centered around the Yerevan Print Biennale in Armenia’s capital city, Yerevan.

Yerevan, known as the pink city, stood adorned with structures hewn from pink, white, brown, and black volcanic rock, each telling a silent story against the backdrop of Mt Ararat. Visually similar to Mt Ruapehu, its mythical association with Noah’s Ark, Armenia’s landscape whispered tales of a rich history embedded in ancient temples, rock-carved churches, and a captivating opera house, all punctuated by distinctive Brutus architecture.

Our time in Yerevan coincided with both the enchantment of artistic expression at the Print Biennale and the simmering unrest in the neighboring lands. As we departed, the echoes of discord resonated, and within a week of returning home, Armenia’s map had transformed, relinquishing more of its territory.

My ceramic sculptures, born from this immersive experience, are a testament to the shapes and patterns imprinted on my consciousness by the temples, churches, subways, manholes, and gates of Yerevan. The clay becomes a canvas for exploring the intersection of people, war, and land – themes that, although geographically distant, are intimately connected to the heart of Armenia.

As I mold the clay, I aim to capture not just the physical forms but also the resilience and the quiet narratives of a land grappling with transformation. This collection of ceramic sculptures is a visual dialogue, a reflection of Armenia’s strength, losses, and enduring spirit amid the ever-evolving landscape.

Amphorae were scattered throughout my exploration—some displayed decoratively, others left abandoned in the garden. Drawing inspiration from these distinctive pupae shapes, I used them as a starting point for creating patterns, textures, and openings.

Our accommodation was a refined villa with a purpose beyond comfort—it served as a hub for fundraising to support orphans and families affected by the 1988 earthquake. The funding was generated through the production and sale of ceramics. During our stay, we encountered an international group of volcanologists and geophysicists attending a conference in Yerevan.

Notably, Yerevan is constructed from a volcanic material called Tufa, lending the city a distinctive pink hue that shifts with the changing light. All these elements came together to influence the creation of the larger works.

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