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“Hanging Garden: Dadivank and Beyond” Exhibition Opened at CCA

July 04, 2022
The private opening of the exhibition Hanging Garden: Dadivank and Beyond took place at the Cafesjian Center for the Arts on July 4, 2022.

The exhibition Hanging Garden: Dadivank and Beyond is a project by AHA collective, conceived following the creation of in-situ handmade imprints in the monastery of Dadivank in Artsakh’s perched garden on November 13, 2020. In the year that followed, mixed-media works were created ex-situ in Armenia, which engage in dialogue with these imprints.

It is November 13, 2020, and a collective of artists from Yerevan has traveled to Dadivank in what is an emergency situation. A few days have passed since the signing of the ceasefire ending the 44-Day War launched by Azerbaijan (27 September-10 November 2020). The Karvachar region in the territory of Artsakh is being evacuated. On that day, a pilgrimage of another kind is improvised – local people, believers, travelers, soldiers, priests, journalists, and photographers, from here and elsewhere, gather in the monastery. The collective of artists seeks to carry out a simple action within their reach. Papers and clay tablets in hand, the artists take imprints of the stone walls decorated with Armenian inscriptions and bas-reliefs with geometric, vegetal, and religious ornaments. The collection of handmade imprints made this day is an act of memory and preservation. Hanging Garden: Dadivank and Beyond is a triptych exhibition deployed in three spaces.

The start of the exhibition is in the Sasuntsi Davit Garden Gallery with the imprint installation as a testimonial relic of the pilgrimage in Dadivank. In the context of war, everyone and everything becomes vulnerable yet humankind always tries to carry in one form or other fragments of belongingness to keep and transmit the memory it contains. The series of paper and clay imprints are objects of memory, traces of an act of emergency, and historical sources of a heritage site with a status left hanging. 

The act of care and protection stands against the policy of destruction and erasure conducted by the opposite side. The exhibition continues at the Eagle Gallery where mixed media works present the wounds of war, the acts of destruction, collapse, and erasure. A series of video artworks explore the process of cultural erasure and the different levels of human alteration and collapse, both individual and collective. A separate sculptural installation questions the status of what it means to be a soldier.

Facing these radical opposites, there is an urge to reinvent how mankind inhabits territory and heritage and what new forms can be taken by one’s sense of belonging to one’s land and language. Gallery One showcases such a short film and an educational program for all to practice the art of typography through wooden stamps, to write by hand to inscribe a permanent imprint.

As part of the exhibition, a bilingual catalog, with contributions by Tigran Amiryan, Maïda Chavak, Anahit Hayrapetyan, Nazareth Karoyan, Naïri Khatchadourian, and Claude Moutafian has been published as a collective travel diary where texts, images, and archives engage in dialogue to cross, think, and heal beyond this event. The texts are edited as a polyphonic narration and the photographs of the artworks installed at the Cafesjian are included as postcards in the diary to let the reader freedom to use them, write notes, and share them.

Hanging Garden: Dadivank and Beyond exhibition will be open to the public from July 8 to September 4, 2022. Admission is free.

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