A work available in Protect ARTsakh, an online auction to raise humanitarian aid for Armenians displaced following attacks led by Azerbaijani forces. Pictured: Alisha Sofia, "T’aguhi" (2019), Ground pigments from rock sediments, gouache, sumi ink on teas dyed paper, 41.7 x 59.8 inches (courtesy the artist and Protect ARTsakh)

An online art auction is raising humanitarian aid for thousands of war-stricken Armenian families who had been displaced from the region of Artsakh (otherwise known as Nagorno-Karabakh) following attacks led by Azerbaijani forces, with backing from Turkey as well as Syrian Islamist mercenaries.  

A Russian-brokered ceasefire on November 9 marked the beginning of a mass migration of the majority of ethnic Armenians in Artsakh to neighboring Armenia. Over 100,000 out of the 150,000 Armenians in Artsakh had been forced to flee the region, leaving many of them homeless, food-insecure, and exposed to Armenia’s punishing winter weather.

The auction, titled Protect ARTsakh, presents 78 lots by 60 multidisciplinary artists from Armenia and around the world. The featured works range from paintings and photography to textile and jewelry. The auction will continue until December 20.

Artists include the participants of Armenia’s Golden Lion-winning Pavilion for Best National Participation at the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015: Mikayel Ohanjanyan (Armenia); Aikaterini Gegisian (Greece); Hrair Sarkissian (Syria); Rosana Palazyan (Brazil); Silvina Der Meguerditchian (Argentina); and Aram Jibilian (USA). 

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Other participants include French artist Lionel Esteve, Iranian artist Arghavan Khosravi, and American artists Adam Parker Smith and Bailey Scieszka, among others. 

Organized by Lara Arslanian, Garabed Bardakjian, and Sarine Semerjian, with support from the Arslanian Foundation, the auction aims to assist the ongoing humanitarian relief efforts directed towards Artsakh’s Armenian refugees. The organizers also hope to raise awareness of the dire situation in Armenia and Artsakh, which are still subjected to Azeri attacks in violation of the ceasefire. 

“The story of Armenians is one of survival and resilience, punctuated by terrible tragedies but also great triumphs spanning over their 3,500 years of history,” the auction’s website says. “By offering a unique selection of works highlighting unique talents of artists from Armenia and beyond, we wish to highlight the vibrant Armenian art scene but also elevate artists from around the world using their talents to give a voice to the voiceless.”

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Hakim Bishara

Hakim Bishara is a Senior Editor at Hyperallergic. He is also a co-director at Soloway Gallery, an artist-run space in Brooklyn. Bishara is a recipient of the 2019 Andy Warhol Foundation and Creative Capital...