The birth of Jesus has been a recurring theme for Armenian artists since early times. Depictions of the nativity in medieval Armenian art, especially in miniature painting, are full of religious symbolism. Based on the nativity narratives in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, they combine traditional approaches to iconography with diverse artistic mediums and common cultural elements.
More than 40 days ago, on this day, amid the chaos of COVID-19 and the existential battles on various fronts in Artsakh, one of the titanic figures of Armenian choral music, Maestro Harutyun Topikyan, the artistic director and conductor of the Yerevan Chamber Choir succumbed to the vicious virus, months after candidly exposing his unwavering love for Komitas Vardapet in a candid interview with h-pem contributor Gohar Topchyan.
Generations of Armenians have been haunted by the crane, one of the most potent and emotive symbols ingrained in the Armenian psyche. Ever since Komitas Vardapet addressed the bird in his soulful song of a wanderer, “Oh crane, don’t you have news from our homeland?” it has been associated with ill omen, leaving the question unanswered. In the final poem of the “Artsakh Trilogy” Harasharzh gives an ironic twist to the folk-based story of the past. Steeped in renaissance style and contemporary references, the poet’s words act like a mantra in these trying days.
"New Navasardian, a Sullen Ode" is Harasharzh's second poem published by h-pem.
The poet addresses Daniel Varoujan, a martyr of the Armenian Genocide, looking for wisdom in his eponymous pagan song, while the Artskah war is entering its most virulent phase. Resilience in dealing with loss remains an amorphous mix of grim sacrifice and hope, as the poet evokes the ancient gods of Armenian mythology, and challenges Varoujan in his optimism about the nation's future.
Can we expect war to give rise to creative beauty? What is the role of poets in contemporary warfare where sensational media leaves little to the imagination? Do poets still have to bear testimony to war? Stir feelings? Raise arguments? Can war poetry become a path to redefine identity? In "Vaspurakan's Echo," the first poem of the "Artsakh Trilogy," Harasharzh, a young American-Armenian poet, draws answers from history, literature, and the spaces between.
In this exclusive interview, Serj Tankian speaks candidly with h-pem editor Rupen Janbazian about everything from the Armenian community's reactions to System of a Down's early days to his move to New Zealand, his years of activism, and his lifelong love for Armenian culture.
Hearts quiver with the questions posed in Arthur Meschian’s uniquely rebellious rock-prayer “Ur eir, Astvats” (“Ո՞ւր էիր, Աստուած” | “Where Were You, God?”), especially after a year of loss, heartache, and looming dangers in our homeland. While many Armenians struggle to come to terms with the catastrophic changes in Armenia and Artsakh, Sandra Arslanian, a Beirut-based Armenian singer, and C-rouge, a Yerevan-based musician, collaborate for a celestial rendition of the song. Why would it matter that a new version of an old favorite was premiered just before the end of the year? H-pem reflects on the origins of the song and the remarkably cathartic new single, with illuminating quotes from exclusive interviews.
While the world has turned a blind eye to the current atrocities, the displacement of thousands of native Armenians, and the ethnic cleansing in Artsakh, it is ironic to remember that 32 years ago today, it took an earthquake to put Armenia on the world map, as world-famous artists chipped into fundraising efforts with the talents they possessed.
On Sept. 27, the peaceful people of Artsakh awoke to the sound of missile strikes crashing down on their homes. In the two weeks since, this storied, ancient homeland has become the battleground for renewed violence. As an arts and cultural platform, we hope to offer some solace, strength, and solidarity through the written form. The words of beloved Artsakhtsi poet and playwright, Vazgen Ovian (1932-1987), ring as true today as they did when he penned them over 50 years ago…
Chances are you’ve all heard the songs—classics and more recent ballads (six in all) dedicated to Artsakh, its history, its natural beauty, its people, and its heroes... But you’ve probably never heard them as a part of a mash-up! Read all about “My Artsakh” in this h-pem exclusive!
These are trying times: The world is being overrun by an insidiously contagious virus, schools and businesses have shuttered, and people all across the world are physically locked-in and virtually logged-on.
Since the advent of the internet, many have posited whether the invention can bring us closer or drift us further apart. For the time being, our “real” world has been suspended and moved to a “virtual” reality. It is perhaps the biggest migration in the shortest span of time in history. If this crisis has taught us anything, it’s that we all need connection, community, and comfort.
One of the heartwarming sides of the COVID-19 pandemic has been an explosion of all three C’s—whether it’s neighbors singing songs from their balconies, museums posting exhibitions online for free, or musicians livestreaming their concerts.
Art is the antidote...