Armenia’s Smiling Women

Nune Hakhverdyan

Art critic, journalist

March 8 is an opportunity to remember, single out, and address special messages to women. According to an inexplicable tradition, this day is considered a holiday and synonymous with spring, flowers, and beauty. Or, the opposite is done: flowers are ruled out and the model of a revolutionary woman fighting for her rights is esteemed.

This photo series by photographer Zaven Khachikyan offers a completely different view of looking at Armenia’s women.

These women are neither struggling and fighting nor the objects of glossy magazines and synonymous with spring. Their living and working conditions are not only far from ideal, but also simply brutal. The subjects in these photographs taken in various regions of Armenia live in crumbling shacks that lack basic living conditions; they feed their children and ensure the home has electricity and heating (many families are without fathers) with difficulty.

But all the women are smiling — gently,unaccustomed, with the careful understanding of their role and place.

These women are harmonious and self-sufficient. They live with everyday worries and joys, forming a warm and bright completeness with their environment. In their images, there is love, a fragile happiness, and an inner strength to experience the charm of a fleeting moment. Whether that be at home, in the workplace, or at organized rallies for a better future.

These women seem to know that only the unconditionally accepted truth is the beauty of the present moment. And so, happy is their family, their land, and this planet…

Nune Hakhverdyan

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