Balasanian's interpretation of "Anush"
portrayed women as victims.
In an audience hall there are girls first walking on all fours then
resting their hands crosswise upon bars placed on their necks, then playing ball.
Onstage again there are girls gathered in a musical band, dressed in wedding dresses
and playing guitars and other instruments.
The cortege of women is a performance
directed by Armenian-American Sonya Balasanian last week at the Center of Contemporary
Experimental Art in Yerevan.
The verse ". . . let us mourn young lovers'
untimely dead love . . ." was not sung, but
rather cried out by crucified girls who then walked
on all fours. Meanwhile, the back of the performance
hall different women's dresses were hanging from
the ceiling. The entire 40-minute performance
symbolized the tragedy of women.
"Anush's abstractedness is my inner world,"
says Sonya Balasanyan. "I present women's
role in the society. Women like crucified victims
carry bars on their shoulders. Hung dresses are
without any content. Woman is a dancer, a doll
and something else but no attention is paid to
her sense. I presented the problem of women's
rights, which is an international problem. Yesterday
my neighbor broke his wife's arm but he bore no
responsibility for that."
Different symbolic performances
representing life conditions of women are filled with the artist's pictures of
childhood. There is a girl in a red dress sitting in a corner in front of a mirror.
She is playing with white feathers blowing them upwards. This is a scene left
from Balasanyan's memory of childhood when her father had left their home and
her mother had blown a feather behind his back when he was leaving.
In the center of the hall there are two naked
men lying on backless benches placed opposite
each other. First they are washed with water,
then are covered with white sheets. Mourning women
are walking around "bodies" of men.
Before there was a church ceremony to wash and
wrap up deceased people in burial clothes. And
it is also a part of Balasanyan's memory of her
childhood spent in Tehran.
my life church ceremonies have been influencing my imagination. Now I'm performing
them. I just want to present only men as dead bodies."
In the performance
a man is also presented first as an executioner beating the ground with a whip
then on a video demonstrated on a screen placed in the back-end of the stage he
is presented as a person, who with insolent facial expressions cries at a silent
women with eyelids cast down.
Spectators express different opinions concerning
"It would be more correct to perform this
frontal explanation of women's problems in the
streets," says one of the women spectators,
"where women selling sunflower seeds or tired
of household duties could see that they are crucified.
I am not touched with primitive demonstrations
of women's rights."
Wrapped up in white sheets "bodies"
continued to lie in the audience hall for a long time after the performance, when
the audience had already left.