“In November 2020, in the middle of the COVID crisis, the middle of the winter, and the middle of a war, I decided to visit Armenia for the first time, with my photographer father, Roger Kasparian, and my son, Norvan, to discover the country of my ancestors.
The timing was far from ideal: Armenia had just signed a ceasefire agreement after a 44-day war with its neighbor, Azerbaijan, with the support of Erdogan, its powerful Turkish ally. This war had left over 2,500 Armenian casualties, most of them young soldiers between 18 and 22 years old. The reason for this war was Azerbaijan’s desire to eliminate all Armenian presence in Artsakh, the enclave in Azerbaijan populated by Armenians for centuries and ceded to the Armenians by Stalin in 1921. Artsakh is 30 kilometers from the Armenian border and accessible by a road called the Latchin corridor. Since then, Azerbaijan has continued its aggressions against the Armenians of Artsakh, but also didn’t hesitate to hit Armenian territory in September 2022 with the threat of a second genocide.
Before it happened, I wanted to go with my father and my son to document as much as I could, everything it was still possible to photograph in Armenia. My grandfather, Varastade, lived through the 1915 genocide: stabbed at the age of four, he survived and became a photographer. He passed the photographic virus on to the whole family.
This photo exhibition is meant to show as many people as possible what Armenia is: the sacred marvels built there, its celestial landscapes, the people whose very gaze is the reflection of a profound faith and an indestructible dignity.
Before it happened, because the barbarians never stop destroying the traces of the past, pillaging stone monasteries and steles with bulldozers, annihilating this inestimable historical heritage.
efore it happened, because it’s the duty of all of us to stand against destruction.”
lorent Mabilat is the space’s caretaker.
After some initial forays into the music scene and then the theatre, several experiments in collective creation, and a period of drawing and working with color, an encounter with some old olive trees in Italian Apulia pointed him in the direction of painting.
He collaborates regularly with musicians, dancers, actors, authors, photographers, videographers…