- Independent Journalism From Today's Armenia
 January 31, 2003 

Art Preservation: Yerevan painter wears her feelings on her sleeves

Lusik Aguletsi says painting is philosophy expressed with colors and shades. But her philosophy is not limited just to the canvases that hold her work, but also in her daily life.

When Lusik goes into the street she is greeted with surprised and admiring looks from residents not used to seeing a woman dressed in Armenian national costume.

Today samples of beautiful, fine colors and national ornaments of her dresses and silver jewelry adorning her forehead, hands and neck are exhibited only in galleries and salons of ancient art. But it is Lusik's daily wear, and her way of showing her ancestral pride, themes that can also be found in her art.

Lusik Samvelyan-Aguletsi was born in an old Armenian town called Agulis that was famous for its ancient culture. Since 19 she has lived in Yerevan, but till now her art is breathing and living with memory of her native village-town.

"Every summer we went to Agulis with my grandmother and grandfather," she recalls. "In just our town there were 12 churches and in one of them were wall-paintings of Hovnatanyan. There, in the bosom of a wonderful nature, I used to paint discovering secrets of painting, then I would return to Yerevan and successfully pass my exams at the college of painting."

In the paintings of Lusik one can see all the weathers and colors of nature. Mighty and free brush strokes give breath, motion and dynamics to the things pictured in her canvases. In autumn landscapes trees seem to talk, the wind born out of agile brush strokes ruthlessly tears away the last leaf. The silent song of nature and fragrance of flowers are felt in the summer tranquility.

"Everything beautiful, all moments and hours of nature, color shades inspire me, and while painting every next picture I remember my teacher Minas Avetisyan," says the painter. "When Minas saw my paintings for the first time, he said, 'Don't forget that color and its combination with other colors should always be seen in light, you're good in that, don't lose that ability'."

During these years Lusik Aguletsi not only found the secrets of interconnection of colors and light, but also created a unique creative world - from ancient Armenian national culture to contemporary art.

Armenian national spirit is felt even in her kitchen: wooden and clay utensils, different types of dried fruits that she made herself, dessert and pumpkin.

"I have drawn on most of my utensils and I asked my husband to engrave on wood. This is utensil with Armenian symbols - grape leaves, there are also plates with Christian images."

The house of Lusik Aguletsi and her artist family is a big arts salon, where the painter's landscapes are combined with her husband Yura Samvelyan's sculptures and numerous household things created centuries ago.

The stairwell decorated with sculptures leads to a house-studio of the Samvelyans, where everything except a TV-set and computer has already been used by some famous person several centuries ago.

There are many ancient lampshades and utensils on the bureau with engraved ornaments of 17th century. Collection of silver jewelry and nominal belts is placed in special glass show-cases. The mirror along the full length of the wall has seen many beautiful women and dresses of different centuries. Aguletsi's father and grandfather grew in the 18th century cradle of her grand children.

"Armenian culture is first of all things, jewelry and costumes created by the people, which are based on their way of thinking, demands of the times. It is not right to neglect all that and let it die in museums," Luisk says.

"Every day is a life for me. If I open my eyes and see the sun, this means that the end of the world hasn't come yet. This means that I must create, paint and preserve my national culture."


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  Photos of the week
  Photo of the week: Talk Time
Photo of the week: Talk Time
Click on the photo above to enlarge

Talk Time

In 19 days Armenia will elect a President. Until then voters will be talked to by candidates such as Stepan Demirchyan (top). And some, such as President Robert Kocharyan (bottom), will be talked back to.



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