</Homecoming as a Dream>

author: Alina Dmitrieva
photos: Natalie Budagyan

This essay is devoted to the “Homecoming“ exhibition, held in May, 2023 at the Art Kvartal in Yerevan, Armenia


It is quite symbolic that I came to the exhibition called “Homecoming“ with my friends whom I knew and regularly met up with at the time, in a great variety of cities. Four people with no home who found themselves in Yerevan at the same time.

My friends were more interested in discussing the pictures on the walls, while I immediately was captivated by the red teapot with peas motif and repeatedly told myself: “Don’t cry, don’t cry.” We had the same teapot in the garden, where our family spent all the weekends from spring to autumn, in the house that my grandfather has built himself. Now there is no grandfather, no garden with the house, no teapot. There is just a little bit of me left.

Daniel Khechyan, Self-portrait, Zhora Gasparyan, “Wind“, Anna Silivonchik, Self-isolation, Ivan Pezikov, The living kitchen, “Homecoming“ exhibition, Art Kvartal, 2023

Despite the apparent simplicity of the exhibition, the artists managed to convey these elusive and magical little things available only to children: the entrance to their world through a closet, a shelter made of blankets, a collection of stones, even the sounds and smells. Somewhere metaphorical, somewhere straightforward, somewhere there is just a hint. Such blurred memories of the house from sensations, impressions, something undefined, but very important, barely perceptible.

I am really grateful to our guide, a young guy with a perky twinkle in his eyes. It was surprisingly comfortable to giggle with him, climbing onto a stepladder to peek under the curtain, and be unembarrassed by a cry of joy when we had found a wolf under the bed. When we entered the closet, I asked: “What now? Should we take a look and move on?“ The guy said calmly: “Do whatever you want.“ And I wanted to just lie down and stare at the ceiling, since everything was possible at that place.

1 / Maria Stadnik, Landscape 29, 2 / Sed Velikodny (Chinese women), Masha Luch (The carpet), Toros (Shtorosy)

A fan, Jesus, it's just a plastic fan. And this sound: “Trrr-trrr-trr“ - a time machine straight into childhood. Basically, a toy of limitless functionality for a bored child, almost like a carpet on the wall.

For some reason, it was only me who guessed to pick up the phone that was ringing. If a telephone rings, you have to pick it up. My friends thought I was playing a prank on them when I started giggling, holding the old phone in my hand for a full minute. I have been listening to the speech about the benefits of aloe. It was exactly like my grandmother speaking! After all, my grandmother definitely knew a lot about aloe, grew a greenhouse full of aloe and was going to cure the whole world. I couldn't understand, grandma. How I miss you now. Only you knew everything.

The projector reminded me of how my parents used to show filmstrips to my brother and me. And a year ago we put a film on the projector in our first real apartment. We stared straight at the wall during the New Year. We were stretching out our hands to touch these magical rays. An insanely sweet memory. We no longer have this house.

Sed Velikodny, Woman’s Day Watch, Karine Andriasyan, Step back to move forward

Lying in an old car in the middle of the basement. On the dirty glass, the finger writing reads: “Russia is also a kind of art.“ For some reason, this phrase is very bitter. I slept in the car like this when my grandfather or dad took us to the lake or for mushroom hunting. We were also laying in the car as adults when we went to our parents and spent the night in a field under the stars. Back then, I already had known that when you feel like at home, it is your home. Still, 10 rented apartments later, with a green leaf in my pocket. So we hung a garland in the car and chatted half the night about how great it was that we were each other's home. This car is no longer with us as well. And we are here.

It's fascinating how we're all going through the collective trauma of losing a home. And all my drawings have been about one thing for half a year. In each new country, I came to a realization that home is the people, the sensations, it’s a stupid teapot that you love even with a broken handle, it’s something almost non-existent, elusive and ephemeral. Why am I stubbornly dragging along a couple of photographs, my mother's shabby pendant and this damn garland?

Anna Silivonchik, Nostalgia

We were given a postcard on which we could write a message to ourselves in childhood and throw it into the bathroom. I wrote: “My darling, be a little patient. It's worth it. You will be very happy. Then it will be very scary, but you can handle it. You will always manage.“

Thanks to the artists for throwing the spotlight on the inexpressible that hurts us all now. Because someone had to say it.

I wish you to find your home, wherever it is.
Exhibition was organized by: Darya Plaksieva, Ivan Pezikov, Gelya Polivka, Ivan Dok.

Artists: Gelya Polivka, Harut Hovsepyan, Koto Javakhyan, Zhora Gasparyan, Sed Velikodny, Artush Petrosyan, Toros, Olga Zhurkina, Daniel Khechyan, Masha Luch, Yuriy Plaksiev, Daniil Russkov, Anna Silivonchik, Dmitriy Udoli, Kseniya Voskoboynikova, Asya Mirzahanyan, Viktor Korn, Maria Stadnik, Lusine Abrahamyan, Karine Andriasyan, Irina Brana, Cheparylka, Agata Gomzina, Olga Gorodenskaya, Vse Zasvecheno, Artyom Romanov, Aleksei Kulakov, Anastasia Piatrunina, Alyona Voronina, Sofia Avakova, Ilona Kraikovskaya, Anton Alimov, Sveta Sokolova, Aqvari, Julia Lihora, David Finestein, Nataliia Sivaeva, Ekaterina Kosyanenko.