Yerevan has come a long ways both economically and in terms of hope and belief since the late 80s early 90s that sometimes you forget what it went through. The photo exhibit at NPAK/ACCEA this past month has been as stark a reminder as you can get. This retrospective of Ruben Mangasarian is a mind numbing, stomach wrenching look back at what this nation went through in a few short years. This man seems to have been present at every single event, and captured it all. Massive, unprecedented protests in Yerevan. Earthquake and aftermath. Blockade. War. Refugees. Extreme poverty. Economic collapse. Everything hit at once, and people still had hope for a bright future. The sacrifice was going to be worth it. Ideals were everything. The dream collapsed when the new government, rather than sharing the ideals and dreams of the people, thought only of themselves.
Above: One of countless protests. © Ruben Mangasarian
Above: © Ruben Mangasarian - The crazy scene of trade on the Armenian-Georgian border. The bridge was being repeatedly blown up by Azerbaijanis, and so trade was conducted by thousands of border traders in this fashion, climbing over rubble, dragging ropes back and forth across the river. There was a shortage of nearly everything in the country.
Ruben sadly passed away a couple of years ago – at a relatively young age.