Last Sunday I was roaming around Saryan Park, which is adjacent to the Opera House on the corner of Sayat Nova and Mashdots Streets, while waiting for a friend. The park is the location of the original vernisage, where local Armenian artists proudly display their works on Saturdays and Sundays.
The paintings that are for sale at the other vernisage, where you can buy anything from hand-carved backgammon boards to handmade silver jewelry to chemistry sets, pale in comparision. With only a few exceptions, those works are the types you would find in low-end shopping malls or flea markets in the US--mostly paint-by-numbers paintings with aboslutely no originality or expression conveyed by the artist.
You can, however, find some true gems from local artists at the real vernisage near the statue of Mardiros Saryan (who was a famous 20th century post-impressionist painter). I can't say that everything is worth owning, nevertheless most of the painters are indeed very talented, and they all for the most part paint in their own unique styles, save for those who are simply reproducing (and failing at that) works by Dali and Picasso. If you are searcing for paintings from Armenian artists but don't know where to turn, that's the place to start browsing.
Saryan Park incidentally is one of the last green spaces that hasn't been tainted by ugly, stoic and obtuse cement structures serving as oligarch-controlled gaudy restuarants that are strewn across the Opera Park just across the street. There is only one permanent structure, but it's located on the corner of Baghramian and Moscovyan Streets and therefore doesn't intrude. Only two sidewalk cafes are found there, one of which, known as "Gazirok" but is actually called "Hripsime," has been working since Soviet times--at least 30 years, but most likely longer. There's no pretentions at those cafes--they are what they should be, with plastic chairs and tables protected by shade umbrellas set up on patios. It's where middle-aged men get together to smoke, have a bite to eat and gaily down shots of vodka. No rabiz found. At "Gazirok" the waitresses are rather friendly and the beer is ice cold, not to mention relatively cheap. You would probably pay twice as much across the street. It's not fancy by any means, but I feel more relaxed there than at any other outdoor cafe in all of dusty Yerevan.
Photos taken with my Nokia N86 8MP
Labels: Film and Art, Photography, Thoughts and Musings