Between art and protest: Street art in Georgia and Armenia

Presentation of the project „Talking Walls“ of the Free University of Berlin and discussion

Charlotte Bull and Claudia Eggart (Project Talking Walls, Free University Berlin), Edita Badasyan (Journalist), Nadja Douglas (ZOiS)
Chair: Tsypylma Darieva (ZOiS)

A soldier on leave from the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict hugs his mother. The picture was created by the Armenian activist group 'Counterstrike'. © Talking Walls

Students at the Free University of Berlin have documented street art in the capitals of Armenia and Georgia, spoken to artists and activists, and discovered the people and stories behind the works. Graffiti, murals, vignettes, paste-ups, and stickers: for some people vandalism, for others a tool to criticise political circumstances and expose social grievances. The group will showcase its impressions of urban works of art in Yerevan and Tbilisi within the political and social contexts of their respective countries.

Charlotte Bull studied East European studies at the Free University, with a focus on culture. She received her bachelor’s degree in Slavic studies and German from the University of Cambridge. She is interested in artistic representations of historical upheaval and developments. She has lived in Russia and gained experience in a number of pan-regional civil-society initiatives.

Claudia Eggart studies East European studies at the Free University, with a focus on sociology. She received her bachelor’s degree in comparative literature and Slavic studies from the University of Vienna. She is interested in transformation processes, especially gender research in Russia and the Caucasus. She has travelled frequently to these countries and worked as a language assistant in the Volgograd region.

Edita Badasyan is a freelance journalist from Tbilisi, Georgia. She is interested in political conflicts and peacebuilding, minority rights, social problems, and gender.

Nadja Douglas studied political science and international relations. Her interests lie in peace and conflict, human rights, and political-military relations in the OSCE area. Her project at ZOiS deals with social initiatives and state policies in the post-Soviet space.

Tsypylma Darieva studied history and Eastern studies in St Petersburg, Russia, and social anthropology in Berlin. Her research focuses on issues including migration, transnational mobility, and post-socialist urbanism. Her project at ZOiS deals with changing urban spaces and religious pluralism in Central Asian cities.