“Year of Armenia in France” Armnie mon amie, lAnne de lArmnie

A series of major art exhibits across France is marking the Year of Armenia in France. The program for the entire Year of Armenia includes around six-hundred events in more than forty cities all over France. The main purpose of the Year of Armenia is to represent Armenia to the world. Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian and French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy, along with the Ministers of Culture of each country, opened the Year of Armenia in France in September 2006. The day-to-day work is handled by the officially designated Comminer, Nelly Tardivier Henrot and her Armenian counterpart Vigen Sargsyan in Armenia. The Year of Armenia was launched on September 21, 2006, Armenian Independence Day, and will conclude on July 14, 2007, Frances 4th of July, with a final closing ceremony in the beginning of September 2007. Eduard Nalbandian, Armenia’s Ambassador to France, and Philippe Etienne, Director General of International Cooperation and Development of France, signed several documen’s on the agreemen’s reached and principles of the Year in of Armenia organization. Highlighting the events of the Year of Armenia is the massive Armenia Sacra exhibition on medieval Armenian Church art at the Louvre Museum. There are over 200 objects that will be displayed for three months in this exhibition. Of these, 27 are khatchkars or cross-stones-the first time so many have been exhibited anywhere outside of Armenia. At the press conference celebrating the opening, more than 300 newspaper, radio, and TV journalists from all over Europe were in attendance. The catalogue of the exhibit, with over 400 pages, will be a substantial landmark in medieval Armenian art history. Dr. Dickran Kouymjian, Haig and Isabel Berberian Professor of Armenian Studies at Fresno State and Director of the Armenian Studies Program, contributed to the preparation and writing of the catalogue. On March 2nd, Prof. Kouymjian gave a lecture on The Year of Armenia in Brussels. Also in February was the opening of LOrient des photographes armniens, on Armenian photographers of the Ottoman Empire at the Institut du monde arabe, one of Pariss major museums and the center of Islamic and Arab culture in France. Thousands of Parisians attended the opening. Two major exhibitions on the filmmaker-artist Sergei Paradjanov are being held in Paris At the Institut nationale superior des Beaux-Arts, 70 of his collages from the Paradjanov Museum in Erevan are on display. A beautiful catalogue of the exhibit is also a landmark on this art. In it are two major articles by Prof. Kouymjian and more than 100 documen’s and photos from his archive, many of them with the Fresno State logo. On March 9th is the opening of a retrospective of the films and more collages of Sergei Paradjanov at the Magic Cinema in Bobigny, a major Paris suburb, with a 200 page catalogue in which the journal Dr. Kouymjian kept during the attempt by Paradjanov to make a film on the Treasures of Etchmiadzin (which unfortunately failed), is published for the first time along with more material from his archives. The driving force for both exhibits is Zaven Sargsyan, a close friend of Paradjanov and the founder and director of his Erevan museum. On March 16-17th there is an international conference on Armenian culture at the University of Aix-en-Provence where Prof. Kouymjian will speak on the cult of relics in medieval Armenia. On March 21st will be the opening of the major exhibition on Armenian textiles and liturgical art Ors et Trsor dArmnie at the Muse du Tissus and the Muse Fourvire, both in Lyon, an exhibit in part conceived by Dr. Kouymjian years ago and the catalogue of which his contribution was a major one. For more details on the exhibit and the Year of Armenia in France (more than 600 scheduled events), you can visit the website of Armnie mon amie: http://www.armenie-mon-amie.com.

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