Tuesday, January 1, 2019 at 11:33AM
Drew Wolfe

The 'Pop Art' Of Armenia's Revolution Is ... Calligraphy?

"Under a little white tent at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C., an artist named Ruben Malayan is teaching kids and visitors how to write the letter "A" in Armenian calligraphy."

"Little do they know that Malayan, 47, is the creator of the iconic protest posters that became a symbol of Armenia's revolution in April. A report from Al-Jazeera in May called Malayan's placards the 'pop art of the revolution.'"

"Using a mix of traditional calligraphy and bold block script, Malayan hand-painted placards that said 'defend the revolution' and 'be brave' — then gave them away to people in the streets. Protesters pressured Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan to step down. A few weeks later, he did."

"In June, he came to the U.S. for two weeks to share the art of Armenian calligraphy at the Smithsonian festival."

"In workshops, he demonstrated how to ink letters onto paper using a pen with a flat metal nib. His strokes — black line after black line, in perfect symmetrical succession — are hypnotic."


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