The exhibition entitled "Eclipse" dedicated to the Armenian victims of the Bolsheviks' repression, organized at Yerevan Museum after Hovhannes Tumanyan, was closed after 22 days by the order of the Ministry of Culture. This case caused debates and attracted public attention.
Ruben Babayan, Director of Puppet Theatre after Hovhannes Tumanyan, talking about the forced suspension of teh exhibition, said: “Narine Tukhikyan has fulfilled her professional duties best. She proved that the director of the museum is, first of all, a scientific worker, a researcher, and only in the last place an official and a bureaucrat.”
According to the artist, the closure of the exhibition had an important and seductive role. “This hot reaction of the public is the best result for this exhibition. I can congratulate all of us that the exhibition was closed and this kind of response was good.”
Composer Vahan Artsruni considers the closure of the exhibition as a rude censorship, a brutal invasion of the art field and underlines that the exhibition was a literally landscaped installation outside the museum.
“Passing over the stairs, we were informed from the first posters that Tumanyan's family was shot dead in 1938, and when we went up, we understood that there were addressees. We saw the letter signed by Mikoyan asking Yejov to kill another 700 people. Then we saw that another 2,000 people were being executed, and the mirror is at the end. We saw that this problem is not a tiny family problem of the Tumanyans but that's a problem the end of which you are. You face this problem and you see yourself in a mirror on which "lustration" is written.”
According to Sakunts, politics should not have any influence on art. He stresses that the state's obligation should be to create favorable conditions for the development of art, not to finance, etc. but to create that field, not to hinder it.
“The order to close the exhibition was from the President, and the Ministry of Culture was not ready to give comments on that order. They do not work as a team, so it is up to the people to make it. It was necessary to find justification for this political instruction but they did not even manage to come to an agreement,” sakunts said.
The Media Center sent an invitation to the Ministry of Culture to participate in the discussion but the ministry was unable to provide participation at this stage.
The clarifications of Armen Amiryan, RA Minister of Culture, on "Eclipse" exhibition are available here.
Arpine Arzumanyan, editor/events coordinator at “Media Center”
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