Launch of the newly expanded Hamazkayin Art Gallery
Under the patronage of Mr. and Mrs. Garbis and Lucy Tutunjian, the newly expanded exhibition hall of the Hamazkayin Lucy Tutunjian Art Gallery was launched on 8 November 2013, at 7:00 p.m. On this occasion, a collective exhibition featuring the works of 34 artists also opened at the Art Gallery.
The opening ceremony was attended by a large number of state officials, people active in politics and culture, representatives of various organizations, and numerous Armenian and non-Armenian artists and art lovers. The opening speech was given by Ms. Suzy Minasian-Derderian, a staff member at the Art Gallery, who emphasized the significant symbolic meaning of this gallery-expansion project in the Lebanese-Armenian community, which was achieved through the collective efforts of a large number of people.
Next, Ms. Lola Beuyukian, a member of the Art Gallery’s committee, delivered a speech in English. She said that in the past four years, the Art Gallery has operated as a fine example of cooperation among various artists. Through this expansion, an even larger number of Armenian and non-Armenian artists and art lovers will have the opportunity to enjoy art exhibitions. Beuyukian added that the expanded Art Gallery will, without doubt, continue serving as a bridge between Lebanon, Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora, while enriching further the Lebanese cultural scene. She expressed her gratitude to all those who provided financial and moral support in order to implement the expansion project of the cultural center. She also thanked all the artists who have contributed to the development of cultural activities through their exhibitions, presence and commitment.
Ms. Maral Gharibian-Kalemkerian then read a congratulatory letter sent by Mr. Mkrtich Karapetyan, president of the Armenian Publishers’ National Association. In the letter, Karapetyan noted that in the past 80 years, the Hamazkayin “Vahe Sethian” Publishing House has contributed to the development of Armenian literature and culture by publishing diverse Western Armenian and Armenian diasporan literary works, thus earning the admiration of children, adults and a large number of book lovers.
Gharibian-Kalemkerian also read a letter by Mr. Karen Aghamyan, president of the Artists’ Union of Armenia. According to Aghamyan’s letter, the Hamazkayin Lucy Tutunjian Art Gallery, which began its operations four years ago, has achieved to organize numerous individual and collective exhibitions in a short period of time, offering the opportunity to Armenian and Arab art lovers in Lebanon to enjoy great pieces of contemporary art. Aghamyan wrote: “The role of Hamazkayin, and in this case, of the [Lucy Tutunjian] Art Gallery, is significant in relation to presenting the works of talented artists from Armenia and to strengthening the relations [between Lebanon and Armenia] through the language of the arts.”
The next speaker was Mr. Hagop Yapoudjian, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Hamazkayin “Vahe Sethian” Publishing House. He said that by sponsoring the construction of this Art Gallery in the heart of Bourj Hammoud, Mr. and Mrs. Garbis and Lucy Tutunjian have achieved to bring fine arts closer to the public and the wider community. Thus, it is also the responsibility of artists to ensure that their works are also more accessible to the wider public, Yapoudjian added.
Yapoudjian then talked about the activities of the “Vahe Sethian” Publishing House in the last 15 years. He said that in 1998, the then Hamazkayin Central Executive Board, appointed Mr. Hagop Havatian as director of the Publishing House. Through his innovative spirit, Havatian achieved not only to continue the work that had started many years ago, but also to equip the Publishing House with new printing equipment, renovate the Hamazkayin Bookstore thanks to a donation by Mr. Hovig and Mrs. Maral Kurkdjian, participate in international book exhibitions, and establish close ties with galleries in Armenia, thus contributing to the strengthening of Armenia-Diaspora relations.
In his speech, Mr. Hagop Havatian, director of the Hamazkayin Lucy Tutunjian Art Gallery and of the “Vahe Sethian” Publishing House, said that many people had questioned whether it would have been possible to complete the expansion of the Art Gallery in a period of instability in the country and the region. However, the project was successfully completed thanks to the cooperation and collective efforts of those involved. Four years ago, when this Art Gallery was launched, we were all — the Hamazkayin family, staff, director, committee — committed to work toward the fulfillment of the objectives we had set, Havatian said. “And today, we can state that we have collectively managed to face the challenges,” he added. “We are all worried about the future of the Lebanese-Armenian community. However, let us admit that through such initiatives and through much bigger future initiatives, our community has no other choice but to continue being a central diasporic community and moving forward for the benefit of our collective national goals. We will continue our journey, sometimes sailing against the wind, sometimes with difficulty, but we will definitely reach our goals,” Havatian affirmed.
Next, Bishop Shahe Panossian, Prelate of the Armenian Diocese in Lebanon, said that it is a great pleasure to witness that Hamazkayin has managed to gather such a significant number of people on this occasion. The love toward Armenian culture helps all of them to maintain their Armenian identity in the Diaspora, relying on the rich legacy of the Armenian cultural heritage.
Bishop Panossian added that we currently live in an unfavorable environment, but throughout its centuries-long existence, our nation has amassed great inner strength, especially in the form of culture and spiritual heritage, through which we believe we can survive and safely move forward in the future. We only need to be aware of and loyal to our heritage, he said.
After concluding his speech, Bishop Panossian read a message sent by His Holiness Catholicos Aram I of the Holy See of Cilicia. In his message, Catholicos Aram I commended highly the launch of the expanded Lucy Tutunjian Art Gallery, as well as Hamazkayin’s contributions to the advancement of Armenian culture and arts.