AUA Students Visit Parajanov Museum
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AUA Students Visit Parajanov Museum

3 min read

YEREVAN, Armenia On February 29, students enrolled in adjunct lecturer Dr. Ani Shahnazaryan’s Armenian Language and Literature course at the American University of Armenia (AUA) enjoyed the enriching opportunity to explore the Sergei Parajanov Museum. Dr. Shahnazaryan guided the students through an insightful discussion centered around the film director’s renowned Color of Pomegranates (1969), which is part of the course curriculum.

In addition to the discussion, students delved further into their understanding of Parajanov’s art by exploring the museum. The exhibits showcased unpublished screenplays, librettos, and various artworks created by Parajanov during his time in prison. The exhibits also included two re-created memorial rooms, original posters, festival prizes, and signed letters by notable figures such as Federico Fellini, Lilya Brik, Andrey Tarkovsky, Mikhail Vartanov, and Yuri Nikulin. 

The visit concluded with students taking time to reflect on their impressions from the tour, undoubtedly gaining a deeper appreciation for the cultural and artistic legacy presented by the museum.

“Our visit to the museum was extremely interesting and fascinating,” noted Nane Avetisyan (BAPG ’25). “What sets this museum apart is its ability to transport visitors into Parajanov’s world, where imagination knows no bounds. As our class wandered through the halls adorned with his masterpieces, we couldn’t help but feel inspired by his unconventional approach to art. The museum’s layout, coupled with insightful commentary from our guide, provided us with a comprehensive understanding of Parajanov’s artistic vision and the historical context in which he lived. It is an honor to have such a relative, and every corner of the museum is proof of Parajanov’s uniqueness.”  

‘’Visiting a museum as part of our class was an interesting experience — especially Sergei Parajanov’s Museum, as he is the mastermind behind works of art like The Color of Pomegranates,” said Davit Sahakyan (BSCS ’25). “It allows us to see, in real life, how Parajanov lived, expressed himself, and created what is considered fine art in our days. The museum’s location was also perfect, with a gorgeous view of Yerevan, which helps us compare Parajanov’s art with the beauty of nature.”

Gayane Manukyan (BAPG ’25) shared: “Our visit to the Parajanov Museum was a truly memorable experience that left a lasting impression on all of us. It not only deepened our appreciation for Armenian culture, but also instilled in us a newfound sense of creativity and curiosity. What struck me the most was the museum’s meticulous curation, which not only showcased Parajanov’s eclectic collection of artwork, but also delved into his tumultuous life story and the socio-political context of his time. Through a series of multimedia exhibits and interactive displays, we were able to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges Parajanov faced as an artist and the profound impact of his work on Armenian culture and beyond. Parajanov’s creative world is multi-layered. To understand, you need to penetrate the artist’s inner world and understand him. The works, most of which we were acquainted with during the museum visit, summarize the flight of the soul and mind of the Parajanov phenomenon.”

Finally, Ani Jinanyan (BAPG ’25) added: “Parajanov’s unconventional approach to storytelling and his mastery of symbolism left us spellbound, prompting us to delve deeper into the layers of meaning embedded within each artwork. It provided us with a platform to engage in thought-provoking discussions about the intersection of art, politics, and identity, shedding light on the complexities of Armenian history and heritage. By immersing ourselves in Parajanov’s artistic universe, we gained a newfound appreciation for the power of art to evoke emotion, provoke introspection, and transcend linguistic and cultural barriers. I strongly believe that extracurricular visits to museums hold significant importance, as they offer a closer acquaintance with the individuals and artwork that have been the subject of numerous classroom discussions.”

Armenian Language and Literature is a required second-year course for all students. 

Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, affiliated with the University of California, and accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission in the United States. AUA provides local and international students with Western-style education through top-quality undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values.