Academy of Fine Arts in Prague
Annemari Vardanyan. Diploma work – Academy of Fine Arts in Prague

With respect to events associated with everyday life, cultural space and personalities as implemented into her artwork, she tries to combine associations related to both the current and historical connotations in Armenia. For her, this connection represents the basis for understanding where we come from. Comprehending both the creation and development of our identity and the identity of the nation. She is interested in the clashes of different cultures, the topic of multiculturalism, the establishment of an individual in a new and perhaps unfamiliar society. While trying to revolve around the problem of individual’s identity in contemporary world, she also reflects on fundamental topics of religion and tolerance.

Where do you find inspiration?
I always look for inspiration for my work around me, whether it is people, spaces, experiences, or the culture. On one hand, I deal with a topic that addresses the everyday common issues of ordinary life in the family and society. On the other hand, I try to understand and reflect on the social, historical, cultural, and political phenomena that transcend the frameworks and boundaries of diverse national cultures and global religions. These circumstances inevitably shape the nature of the individual human experience. 

How personal are your works? 
My work is very much connected to my personal experience. As I mentioned, I deal with the topics which are essentially connected to my perception of ordinary life in family and society. Furthermore, I try to address difficulties that may arise for individuals in connection with cultural changes, which may arise in relation to migration. I’m also interested in the issue of alienation that a person may feel being confronted with a new cultural frameworks, ideas, and customs, while separated from the known and explored culture. I also realizee to what extent my life is interwoven with the experience of cultural and national diversity, and how intense influence this diversity may have for my daily life.

This experience is also known in my family, since my parents, who had lived in Armenia during war, have decided to leave their native land of Armenia and emigrate to Europe with the vision of promising future, at least for future generations.

Who we are?, 2020, acryl and oil pastel on canvas, 210 x 260 cm
Who we are?, 2020, acryl and oil pastel on canvas, 210 x 260 cm

What role does the artist have in society?
I believe that artists are those who are obliged to critically reflect on the fundamental problems of society. Art and artists function as means of communication, and, through their work, it is possible to influence social discourse, draw attention to fundamental issues, both locally and globally, whether the problems are of a political, social, psychological, or other nature. I also believe that artists are those who articulate and reflect on the style of a particular culture from within such culture. In this sense, an artist reflects the culture of a certain society. This process can then lead to a common understanding of certain issues or problems and, perhaps, to common understanding of societies which are fundamentally different. 

What does being creative mean to you?
It means to be able to think critically and freely for ourselves, despite of any influences around us. It means to be able to see the world through various perspectives, rather than accepting all ideas and opinions, even though they might be perceived as prevailing rule or practice. 

I also think that for someone to be creative, it is necessary for them to bring something totally new and something which has a value for society. 

No one will be here until we leave, 2021, acryl on canvas, 180 x 210 cm
No one will be here until we leave, 2021, acryl on canvas, 180 x 210 cm

You currently live in Prague. How does living in Prague inspire you as an artist?
Yes, I have lived in Prague for 20 years. My parents decided 20 years ago to leave their native Armenia and emigrate to Europe with the vision of a more promising future. Prague greatly influenced me, especially the people I met here. I went to the Prague Academy of Fine Arts to Jiří Petrbok’s Drawing Studio, where I met many inspiring people. I think that Czech people tend to be very self-critical, when it comes to Czech culture, and life in Prague as well, however I think that they should be very proud about a lot of very inspiring aspects of Czech culture, including the Czech art, literature etc. 

Artist. Annemari Vardanyan
Artist. Annemari Vardanyan

What are your future plans?
I have graduated from Academy a few weeks ago and my goal after graduation is to have a studio somewhere outside of the Czech Republic. I would love to try to continue working on my paintings there, while being able to get know further cultures and societies. While I have grown surrounded by many different cultures, I continue to find it extremely tempting to experience foreign cultures, therefore I would love to be able to work on my project, while being able to experience this.

Annemari Vardanyan –

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