When Maretta Ayvazyan and Anatole Arakelov, two Birthright Armenia volunteers from different parts of the world, had already been volunteering in Gyumri for a few months during COVID-19, there were fortunately no quarantines on their creativity. The pair, she from Russia and he hailing from Ukraine, agreed to embark on a joint effort to beautify the neighboring village of Basen. Specifically, their intent was to colorize a long cement wall that runs through the center of village life, to leave something uplifting behind for all to enjoy.
Adding Color to Basen Village
After weeks of work, their idea culminated in a two-day Community Service Project with the participation of all of Birthright Armenia and Armenian Volunteer Corps volunteers joining forces to add life and character to this wall in Basen. "While designing this mural, Maretta and I wanted to portray a happy and positive moment in a villager’s life. It’s something to aspire to, but it could also be an old memory. The colorful pattern is meant to represent the Armenian carpet and celebrate the long legacy of amazing artisans and craftsmanship," says Anatole. The before and after photos below are truly transformative!
Imagery created by Anatole led to our two-day community give-back in Shirak province.
Creating a Mosaic
The success of the mural project then inspired our Birthrighters to continue adding artwork within the Shirak province, and with the help of Shirak is Our Home NGO, ordinary bottle caps were used to add a splash to this corner of Gyumri. You’ll find it at the public gallery of the NGO.