Armenia Art Fair


Armenia Art Fair

The foundations of Armenian art are both ancient and modern, with a legacy that has continuously reinvented and adapted itself to the changes that have shaped the nation throughout its history. Today, Armenia is home to dozens of museums, a number of art colleges and a thriving art scene, making 2018 the perfect time to host the very first Armenia Art Fair. Regional Post presents the team behind this event, women devoted to art.


On May 11-14, Yerevan Expo Centre will welcome galleries from countries of the former Soviet Union, the Black Sea region, the UK, the Middle East and beyond, to exhibit their work and to promote new ideas and relationships that cross borders. The fair will have 20 booths of both emerging and established galleries, presenting artists at different stages in their careers. Young and budding talent will receive the same exposure as established practitioners with a Millennial Spotlight that will highlight artists aged 25-years and under, with recognized artists being represented by galleries.

Supported by art-world professionals and curators from France, Russia and Austria, Armenia Art Fair will also provide evening events which will feature leading critics and academics to discuss trends in the local and global contemporary art world and art market.

“The first international Art Fair in Armenia will bring together galleries, artists, collectors, and art enthusiasts to create an exceptional celebration of art that will drive momentum for galleries and artists and the whole Armenian art scene to demonstrate the financial potential of this market,” says curator Eva Khachatryan.

To address challenges faced by Armenian artists in terms of gaining international visibility, the fair, which is organised and funded by the newly established Aragil Art Foundation, is striving to build a local art market that can function within the international and global art world, as well as promote Armenia as an international center for the creative industries.

Why Armenia? Situated at the crossroads of Asia and Europe, this historic country has a unique position at the intersection of cultures, traditions and ideas. A clear advantage in this endeavor is the large footprint the global Armenian diaspora has on the world. Leveraged properly, the diasporan experience, as well as the involvement of many talented Armenians in these fields, can aid Armenia’s artistic evolution as a center for creativity with something to offer the world at home and abroad.

“We want to encourage artistic investment in the country to advance arts education and foster a new generation of talent,” says founder Nina Festekjian, and adds, “by showcasing creative achievements through the fair and similar cultural events, we will maintain international standards of professionalism.”

The launch team for the art fair is comprised of successful professional women who bring specific areas of expertise as well as varied cultural and intellectual perspectives with a collective desire to make the international local and the local international, with the ultimate goal of Armenia Art Fair to be the bridge that links these two worlds.

By highlighting Armenia’s appeal as an artistic hub, the fair will also help boost the country as a tourist destination. Yerevan is a short distance by car to many of the abundant historical sites across Armenia, providing ample opportunity for visitors to the art fair to add to their cultural experiences and enjoyment. We are preparing for your arrival and welcome you to Yerevan!

Boston based Nina Festekjian is co-founder of YerazArt, a non-profit organisation, whose mission is to assist young Armenian musicians and help them reach their full potential. Festekjian, the founder of Armenia Art Fair, is a successful businesswoman and art patron who has organised multiple fundraising events in support of Armenian arts and culture.

The fair’s curator is Eva Khachatryan. She is the vice-president of AICA Armenia International Association of Art Critics and a member of the International Committee of ICOM for Museums and Collections of Modern and Contemporary Art. Khachatryan has curated exhibitions in Vienna and Yerevan, and worked in conjunction with the “Culturescapes” festival in Basel, Switzerland.

Zara Ouzounian-Halpin is a cultural producer, and co-founder of the fair. Armenian-British, she grew up in Yerevan, and has lived in the UK, Russia, and the US. Ouzounian-Halpin developed a national art contest and exhibition of young Russian artists for the EU, as well as an art show and auction at Winzavod Gallery in Moscow. She has a background organizing diplomatic, charitable and social events and is the founder of an online gallery that features Armenian artists.

Ira Mnatsakanian is a project manager who has implemented arts and cultural projects in Geneva, Venice, and New York. In 2013 she produced the opera “Anoush.” Among other international projects, Mnatsakanian organised a large exhibition of Armenian artists and a series of jazz concerts in Geneva. In AAF she heads up Cultural and Special Projects.

Sarah Watterson is a practicing abstract artist and communications expert with a background in journalism and graphic design. She has lived and worked in Africa, the Middle East, Russia, Georgia, and will soon relocate to Armenia. Watterson is fair’s communications director.

Arevik Grigorian has been the studio design director for “– O –Soleill.” Since 2013 she is a technical expert for a construction company which specializes in securing building projects worldwide. Arevik is leading the exhibition production process.

Lizzy Vartanian Collier is a writer, editor and curator based in London. She runs the Gallery Girl blog and has written for Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, Canvas and the Guardian. Her Perpetual Movement exhibition was featured in Vogue Arabia and The Art Newspaper. She is helping write the AAF blog as well as with press and PR.

Nona Isajanyan, who is responsible for fair’s branding, is one of the leading designers of Armenia. She is art-director of leading Armenian publications: “Yerevan” and Regional Post magazines.

Armine Aghayan is a Wikipidea editor, who provides project assistance.