Folklife Festival Displays Archived Photos of Armenian Artisans

Sarkis Arakelyan, a master folk instrument craftsman, in his workshop c. 1930s. (Source: Smithsonian)
Sarkis Arakelyan, a master folk instrument craftsman, in his workshop c. 1930s. (Source: Smithsonian)

Sarkis Arakelyan, a master folk instrument craftsman, in his workshop c. 1930s. (Source: Smithsonian)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Smithsonian)—As part of the 2018 Smithsonian Folklife Festival’s “Armenia: Creating Home” exhibit, Project SAVE Armenian Photograph Archives highlighted a selection of images featuring Armenian artisans, their education, craft and artistry. The selected contemporary photos show Armenian artisans from around the world mastering traditions and keeping the craft vibrant. Featured artisans include stone carvers, embroiders, carpet weavers, and more.

The photos illustrate that formal training was available to Armenian men and women in the Ottoman Empire before 1915 as well as present village life as the collaboration of different generations.

Students and teachers of the Nersessian Orphanage Trade School learn tailoring in 1902. (Source: Smithsonian)

Students and teachers of the Nersessian Orphanage Trade School learn tailoring in 1902. (Source: Smithsonian)

In the aftermath of the Armenian Genocide, photos of orphanages show children learning carpentry, shoemaking, weaving and tailoring. These trades created opportunities for orphaned boys and girls to establish future livelihoods beyond the orphanage.

Anahid Dakessian Kazazian displaying her traditional Marash needlework at the 1988 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. (Source: Smithsonian)

Anahid Dakessian Kazazian with her needlework at the 1988 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. (Source: Smithsonian)

Project SAVE Armenian Photograph Archives collects, documents, preserves and presents the photographic record of all Armenians. It strives to increase knowledge of Armenian culture and heritage by encouraging the use of its extensive collection of photographs, together with its many other resources to the widest possible audience. Further, it aims to contribute back to the community by supporting and collaborating with other historical, cultural and educational organizations.

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