“Our First Element” Water is life itself

On March 9th the Foundation for the Preservation of Wild life and Cultural Assets (FPWC) in cooperation with the German Embassy in Yerevan organized a presentation of the book “Our First Element: Caucasian Water” at the bookstore BUREAUCRAT in Yerevan.


Already in 2009 FPWC presented in an exhibition in the frame of SunChild 2nd International Environmental Festival the outcomes of a regional photo contest under the slogan “Our First Element: Caucasian Water”. The contest as well as the exhibition was supported by the Prince Claus Foundation for Culture and Development. The objective of the Photo contest was to raise public attention for water issues and to address the topic on a regional level. Moreover the contest and the exhibition aimed to give an insight in the magnificent beauty of water as a divine gift and our first element.

Photographers from Armenia, Georgia, Turkey, and Iran took part in the contest. Each of the contestants had a chance to submit up to 4 photos.

The jury consisted of experts from five countries of the region, including photographer Zaven Sargsyan (Director of Sergey Parajanov’s Museum), Giorgi Gogiberidze (Producer, Director of Art House Festival in Batumi), Aidin Kudun, (Producer, Director of Turkishmu Film Yapi, Turkey), Mohammad Shakiba (cultural attaché of the Embassy of Islamic Republic of Iran in Armenia), and the Azerbaijanian journalist, Vafa Farajova.

The photo exhibition on water issues has raised much attention not only among photographers, but also among environmental organizations and the general public. The exhibition’s significance was a unique combination of esthetic and social issues.
FPWC decided to publish the book “Our First Element” as a continuation of the contest. The book displays a best selection of the submitted photos combined with poems and stories dedicated to the water of Caucasian Region.

Photographers, writers, representatives of Environmental Organizations were present at the presentation of the book “Our First Element” held in Yerevan, in the book store BUREAUCRAT. Karen Antashyan (poet and author of one of the poems published in the book and named EA) noted that the book has already become a special platform uniting people of different social levels and political views.
He finalized his speech with a quote of Exupéry, : «Water is not necessary to life, but rather life itself. It fills us with a gratification that exceeds the delight of the senses». Photographer Zaven Sargsyan appreciated the initiative to publish the book and proposed FPWC to organize more exhibitions inviting photographers to work on important topics and raise public attention to them.

The ambassador of Germany to Armenia Hans-Jochen Schmidt was also present at the book presentation in “BUREAUCRAT”. He emphasized the significance of the book not only from the aesthetic view point but also for its message reminding the public of the urgent need to protect our natural resources.

FPWC founder Ruben Khachatryan noted that the book has become a special bridge for all Caucasian people uniting us around one very important idea “Nature is a treasure and we carry responsibility for it”.

Prizes were awarded to the winners of the photo contest; Moreover Ruben Khachatryan passed a Certificate of Merit to Ambassador Hans-Jochen Schmidt.
The texts which are published in the book are written by authors from all over the region. The names of the poets and photographers are presented below:

FPWC will organize a touring exhibition of the best photos and show it in Caucasian countries.

Arman Karakhanyan /Armenia/
Georgij Gogatishvili /Georgia/
Mehrdat Oskouei /Iran/
Jackob Majaryan /Armenia-Australia/
Haik Barsgehyan /Armenia/
Anastasia Danielyan /Armenia/
Gayane Manukyan /Armenia/
Seda Papoyan /Armenia/
Vahan Stepanyan /Armenia/
Burastan Gevorgyan/Armenia/
Nazik Armenakyan /Armenia/
Gayane Manukyan /Armenia/
Manuk Manukyan /Armenia/
Sophia Nemsitsveridze /Georgia/
Gohar Lalayan /Armenia/
Anna Davtyan /Armenia/
Hrach Ghazaryan /Armenia/
Armine Khachaturyan /Armenia/
Karen Apoyan /Armenia/
Serkan Taykan /Turkey/
Lilie Altunyan /Armenia/
Hayk Shalunts /Armenia/
Gevorg Hovsepyan /Armenia/

Karen Antashyan /Armenia/
Noushin Nabavi /Iran/
Bedia Akyuz /Turkey – Germany/
Armine Anda /Armenia/
Dost Korpe /Turkey/
Tamar Mtvarelidze/Georgia/
Mushfig Bermek /Azerbaijan/
Orang Gholikhani /Iran/
Artak Kolyan /Armenia/
Orhan Pamuk /Turkey/

Winners of the photo contest
Edgar Marukyan – Incentive Award in Amateur Category, Armenia
Armine Khachaturyan- First Award in Amateur Category, Armenia
Serkan Taykan – Special Award in Professional Category, Turkey
Suren Manvelyan – First Award in Professional Category, Armenia

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