Sergei Parajanov Museum, Yerevan, Armenia

I was reminded of this photo today as the UK went into lockdown to combat the coronavirus. Sergei Parajanov was a leading Soviet Armenian avant-grade director and artist and the Sergei Parajanov Museum is a testament to his fertile and often bizarre artistic vision.

Set in a traditional home overlooking the Hrazdan gorge, it features displays of disembodied dolls, reimagined furniture and humorous and witty icons and chart his surreal artistic vision.

It is also home to a sobering collection of sketches and art done in prison, when Sergei inevitably fell out of favour with the powers that be.

Ranging from caricatures and sketches to silver coins, fashioned from scraps of aluminium, he would give them to guards in return for various favours.

Of course, our prisons – if you can even call them that – will be our homes. And we certainly won’t face the privations that Sergei did.

But if we face the lockdown with the same good humour and positivity that Sergei did, who knows, something good might come out of it.

The aluminium coins that Sergei made while he was in prison are now presented as the top prize in the annual Golden Apricot International Film Festival in Yerevan.

Website: Sergei Parajanov Museum

Courtyard at Sergei Paranjov Museum

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