#kondgallery

#kondgallery

ARTS & CULTURE

In 2018, a part of Yerevan’s historical Kond district was turned into an open air street-art gallery. We talked about this amazing art project with its author Sergey Navasardyan (aka yerevantropics).

Text : Artavazd Yeghiazaryan    Photo : Sergey Navasardyan

 

 

In August 2018, on the wall next to the gas station behind Saryan str. post-office, from where the most mysterious part of Yerevan – the legendary Kond starts, a strange image emerged overnight; triangles resembling the peaks of Ararat, a palm tree, a flaming bottle: “Molotov’s cocktail.”

People, who are aware of the creative activities in Yerevan, immediately knew the handwriting of yerevantropics, but none was aware of the Yerevan tropics in Kond. Graffiti have very hard fate across the world, even if they are authored by Banksy, and innovations here, moreover, if they are ungrounded, are not welcomed. Kond has its own rules.

Vandalism was vandalized, but partially: Ararat was not touched, and “Molotov” was covered. The graffiti author Sergey Navasardyan, the very same yerevantropics, made up his mind to just go and socialize with the locals. It worked, and the image was partially restored and was even completed: now, in the top corner it reads, “street art gallery”. From here on, one of the weirdest projects of contemporary art in Yerevan was launched.

Graffity Graffity graffity grafity

Kond Gallery started from a graffiti near the gas station

Graffity  Graffity  

“Usually, when I look for a wall to paint on, and when I find it, I let my feelings and thoughts inspired by the environment guide me. The long wall in Frik street was always on my way, and I was looking at it every time I passed it, and something was being cooked.” Sergey says, “I painted. After a while, I saw the part of it where I had painted “Molotov” was covered with white. I realized I needed some socializing. So, I came, introduced myself, told them what I did, and why I did what I did. I told them I wanted to have Kond as an environment change its essence. As a result, people in the Church neighborhood received me warmly. Thanks.”

yerevantropics

Sergey Navasardyan, aka yerevantropics

 

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Truely, they now know Sergey here; the elderly men stand in the shade for hours and look, as he creates a new work of art with a respirator drawn on his face, and with his hands already colored with paint shaking the paint cylinder to create a new work on the wall. Sometimes, people approach, give some advice, like: “Draw another line here, let them become even triangles”. Sergey remembers the challenges:

““What’s your gain then?” is my favorite question. They ask me, “You buy the paint yourself, don’t you?” “Yeah!” “You do it yourself, don’t you? You spend your time, don’t you? Why, then?”

My gain is the development of art and giving a new essence to Kond as a neighborhood.

Street art is, somehow, about a different kind of gain. Giving a new essence to a neighborhood with vague future through art is already a great accomplishment”.

 

***

On the blue gate, paintings emerge that have little in common with yerevantropics’ style. From another corner, a beautiful little ornamental hedgehog is greeting us. Here, Sergey’s narrative reaches the point where other artists are joining him. And, not only graffiti artists; these are the photographer Karen Mirzoyan’s photos pinned on one of the walls.

So, what is #kondgallery for its creator?

“The #kondgallery is a call for all creators to come together and create an open art, available to everyone. That’s the reason I am not alone creating in Kond. Karen Mirzoyan joined me, so did Lamb from Tiflis, and Ossy – a Finnish artist. There are a lot of different artists interested in #kondgallery, I am expecting many of them this year, and the interest is growing day by day”.

Graffity- Artwork by Lamb

Artwork by Lamb

 

Artwork by Feoflip in frames of Yerevan Urban Festp - graffity

Artwork by Feoflip in frames of Yerevan Urban Fest

 

Bulky_Savage- graffity Artwork by Bulky_Savage

 

graffity - Artwork by Sneksy

Artwork by Sneksy

 

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Obviously, international involvement brings international attention to Yerevan, making the city’s pin more visible on the map, and as a result tourist interest is growing. I ask:

“Were there state support, wouldn’t the officials interfere with the project through state intervention? Graffiti in the frames of state order sounds a bit weird, and, usually, it’s similarly weirdly looked at (Yerevan has had that experience). Sergei partly agrees, but he gives an example. If the state or the municipality covered technical costs, but did not interfere with the concept, that would be ideal. I can’t but agree.

graffity - kondgallery      graffity, kondgallery 

kondgallery

Photographs by Karen Mirzoyan