By Levon Lachikyan
For the past five years, April Fools’ Day has been celebrated in Armenia. Here, we call it Humor Day and we’ve embraced it fully, throwing events in Yerevan and Gyumri. This year, one of the most notable was the exhibition of the caricatures by modern Armenian satirists, which was held at Artist’s House in Yerevan.
Founded 10 years ago, the Association of Armenian Caricaturists unites more than 20 artists. Half of them exhibited their new works at Artist’s House, which expressed their views on Armenia’s politics and cultural happenings. These artists typically show their work in personal exhibitions and also publish them in local and international magazines.
Particularly interesting were Harutyun Chalikyan’s cartoon portraits depicting today’s “heroes” – Hosni Mubarak, Muammar al-Gaddafi, politicians like NATO Secretary General Anders Rasmussen, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, and others.
This event was great, for as any foreign visitor to Armenia can tell you – Armenians do not ordinarily walk around smiling. Everyday life and other social difficulties often leave faces somber and sullen. Yet, experts say smiling is therapeutic; any occasion that may trigger a smile is important and this was one such occasion.
The work of Vladimir Abroyan, Tsolak Kantegh, Pavel Jangirov and Arzo also stole the laughter of the exhibition’s visitors, giving them joy and a few moments of delight.