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Gyumri Residents Continue to Protest State Decision to Remove, Transport Minas Avetisyan Frescos

Minas Avetisyan Cultural Charitable Fund representatives, along with a specialist invited from Italy, today completed the work of removing a Minas Avetisyan fresco titled “Yerkanq” from the wall of the cafeteria of Gyumri’s former Galvanometer factory.

Recall, on Apr. 28, 2011, the Armenian government approved the restoration, removal and transfer of several Minas Avetisyan frescos in the former factory, citing the purpose of saving them from decay and destruction. However, residents of Armenia’s second-largest city have not been too pleased with the decision.

According to Shirak Center NGO, a dozen or so Gyumri residents had gathered outside the gates of the defunct factory today, in order to prevent the transport of the frescos to Yerevan.

On Jun. 8, a group of Gyumri artists protesting the government decision met with Armenian deputy culture minister Arev Samuelyan. The artists handed over an appeal letter addressed to Armenian culture minister Hasmik Poghosyan on behalf of Shirak Center written by hundreds of Gyumri cultural workers and representatives of artistic and civic agencies, which stated:

“… taking into account public opinion, negotiations with the culture minister, recommendations by around 1,000 Gyumri intellectuals, as well as Mr. [Eduardo] Eurnekian’s staff, we ask for your mediation that all stages of the working group’s restoration work be carried out in Gyumri, in which Gyumri students will also participate. Your recommendation to the working group, the Minas Avetisyan Cultural Charitable Fund and the group carrying out the restoration work will allow, through public discussions, the controversial issue to be naturally settled. We will assume the responsibility of not obstructing the restoration work and technical issues.”

Those protesting the decision note that they have not yet received a response from Armenian authorities.