If Sayat Nova wrote hundreds of songs in Armenian, Azeri, and Georgian, then why are the cross-cultural celebrations of Sayat Nova so few and far between? Gaps in the historical record and contemporary political environment make a pancultural perspective of the legendary bard of the Caucasus more difficult.
Ahmad Muxtar’s Red Frame not only documents Baku’s rapid urban transformation, but also explores the ways our perceptions of urban space are framed by social, political, and economic forces.
Ajam MC interviews Patrick Redford of Vice Sports about his participation in the Tour d’Azerbaijan and the theatricality of sports in the young nation-state.
The items collected for the Ajam Digital Archive will allow us to document and record history from below—how it was actually lived, experienced, and understood. It is precisely these histories that were ignored in favor of tales that focused exclusively on wars and revolutions, rarely giving us a sense of how life was lived amidst it all.
One hundred years on from the Armenian Genocide, we highlight but a few Armenian cultural organizations and producers in hopes of both remembering the past, and supporting Armenians who continue to build a better future.
Kamyar Jarahzadeh aka Yavaran brings us to the dance floor once again, this time with a wedding-themed mixtape in time for Valentine’s Day. This mix highlights the shared happiness and culture that surrounds the region’s marriage celebrations.
Ajam Media Collective recently worked with THE STATE, a Dubai-based publishing practice, to make a ‘zine. We provided the words and art while they provided the design to make a wonderful collaborative document. We are also publishing the work on our site, beginning with this introduction.
As UNESCO World Heritage sites, the Armenian Monastic Ensembles of Iran act as a celebration of the past, but not an examination of it. One may ask: where are the Armenians who lived here, if only their buildings remain? As landmarks are indoctrinated into the cult of heritage, we are able to consecrate something that speaks to cosmopolitanism without actually having to live it, or ask the question why the past no longer resembles the present.
The preservation and restoration of religious buildings become implicated in complex and polemical questions of Georgian nationhood, citizenship, identity, and belonging. The production of a neoliberal notion of cosmopolitanism based on tolerance and celebration of different ethno-religious groups within national borders, enshrined in the preservation of religious buildings, is part and parcel of this re-branding campaign. The presentation of a public space that celebrates diversity does not however necessarily translate to lived reality where difference just is.