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A Calm Transition

Artist Blog by Azad Amin

The village of Dzoragyukh at the lake Sevan is situated some 120 km from Yerevan. A cultural pattern known as ‘Nehapetkan’ prevails among the habitants of the village; the word denotes ‘the elders’ (of the family) and it signifies subsequently a patriarchal social order.

Since the demise of the Soviet Union and Armenia’s political independence, the country has had the aspiration for economic independence. In recent years many factors, like population growth, unemployment, and low income followed by financial hardships, have changed the traditional economic trend. Younger men have traveled to Russia in the hope of finding jobs and better incomes; many have found employment with Russian road construction firms.

As a result of this, the majority of the masculine habitants of the village are now elderly farmers and former day workers who are no longer able to work. They spend time together with their grandchildren, and in the tea houses playing cards and dominos.

This absence of a masculine workforce has led to a massive participation of women in every aspect of social and economic life. Many physically demanding jobs, previously exclusively done by men, are now done by women, and many social tasks are administered by them. At the same time, the level of schooling and continuation of education is also remarkably higher among the girls.

At the first encounter, and before everything else, the ancient mood of everyday life fascinated me; a very simple traditional religious life with primitive facilities on the one hand, and an active, powerful presence of women in every corner of life on the other. The alterations in the economic situation and subsequently the absence of men have made the way for decisive changes in the ancient patriarchal order of administrating daily life.

This project endeavors to register and document the changes in the ancient cultural patterns, social order, and way of life in Dzoragyukh as the consequence of the comprehensive changes in the economic conditions.

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