Armenia’s first art fair goes ahead in face of revolution

The Art Newspaper | Aimee Dawson

Just three days after a revolution swept Armenia, the country’s first art fair opened in Yerevan. Despite concerns that the political unrest would disrupt its opening, the Armenia Art Fair (11-14 May) went ahead as planned, with over 700 guests attending the opening and almost 2,000 attendees in total. “These numbers are really amazing for Armenia, and we consider this art fair to be a huge success,” says Sarah Watterson, the fair’s head of public relations and communications.

Protests and marches against the then-prime minister Serzh Sargsyan began in March but escalated in April in reaction to his election for a third consecutive term. Despite being mostly peaceful, the revolution caused a national lockdown on 2 May with roads, trains and the airport in Yerevan shut down and the borders between Georgia and Iran closed. “We certainly were very nervous in the weeks leading up to the fair as the revolution gained momentum and intensity,” Watterson says. “We knew we might have to cancel at any moment.”

Sargsyan’s opponent and leader of the protests, Nikol Pashinyan—a former journalist who has previously been imprisoned for his political activism—was elected as Armenia’s new prime minister on 8 May, three days before the fair’s opening…read more

Image: arte.sson via Instagram