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Art for Artsakh: Karishok Dulyan’s Charity Exhibition at YBAF

By Hena Aposhian

Following the recent calamitous events in Artsakh, a strong sense of accountability has awakened among Armenian citizens, with many taking it upon themselves to help the displaced people of Artsakh by whatever means possible.

This was the case for the Armenian artist, Karishok Dulyan, and the Yerevan Biennial Art Foundation (YBAF).

On October 7, Karishok Dulyan and YBAF hosted a Charity Exhibition at A1 Art Space, where they invited guests to celebrate the power of art to make a difference.

After showcasing her works in various galleries and exhibitions, Karishok decided to use her art to make a real difference for the displaced people of Artsakh, through a charity exhibition. 

“I decided to frame the new Artsakh paintings (which she had been making since the blockade), art prints, and present everything that could be prepared to exhibit in the shortest time.”

When asked about the inspiration behind the artwork featured in this exhibition, Karishok explains that in 2020, when she truly understood people’s aggressive nature, she stumbled upon Bonobo monkeys and their methods to solve conflicts through lovemaking.

“I thought this was amazing. I started drawing buildings, where on every balcony or behind the windows people were making love. That was my own way of depicting the idea of Make Love Not War.”

This is where YBAF stepped in, ready to lend a hand by providing a gallery space and co-hosting an exhibition during critical times. With their collective efforts and non-stop work, the exhibition came about in a week. 

Since the 2020 Artsakh war, YBAF has concentrated on two main things; to preserve the existing Armenian heritage and culture and to continue to support local artists. YBAF believes that art exhibitions can act as a place of healing as well as dialogue especially during chaotic and unknown times, as it can create not only resolutions but also profound transformations in the collective consciousness. 

Karishok has also been actively helping the people of Artsakh, as she had previously organized many charitable sales of her artworks in California during the 2020 war. 

“Becoming aware of the unwavering spirit of those people, especially the children, deeply moved me. It instilled a responsibility in me to use my art as a voice for those unheard.”

All proceeds from the sales will be channeled to Transparent Armenia Charitable Foundation (TACF). Founded during the 2020 Artsakh war by a Canadian-Armenian Repat, TACF has been helping thousands of those affected by the war by providing food, medication, clothes, and other essentials. Now they are providing different kinds of help to the displaced.

“What I truly value is their commitment to transparency, allowing each donor to see how the funds are utilized. If there's any organization I'd entrust with this cause, it's TACF,” says Karishok.

Besides YBAF, this exhibition was supported by the printing company Printway and the framing company Blick. In Vino kindly provided wine for the opening. Ilya Dekard, a photographer and videographer recently relocated from Russia, helped the artist with creating advertisement material. Photographers Arman Karakhanyan and David Jotyan documented the opening event.

“As long as I believe in art’s power to heal, and multiply the beauty of this world, I am willing to organize a collective charitable exhibition for all of the artists I know and poke the people who are willing to help,” says Karishok.

She is currently planning to organize charitable masterclasses of intuitive painting and photography at A1 Art Space and also participating in Art Kvartal’s initiative of charitable auction for Artsakh with her other artworks.

The artist has already donated 500,000 AMD to TACF. The exhibition is open until October 15, inviting more people to A1 Art Space on 1/1 Khachatur Abovyan Street to see the artworks and donate as much as they can. 

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