Annie Kurkdjian

From Armenia to Lebanon

Annie Kurkdjian, Lebanese artist, has exposed many times her works at Marciac.

Discover the life journey as well as the creative journey of this artist of an extraordinary sensitivity.

In France, when there is an attack same as those we have experienced recently, we put in place a “psychological cell” to help the survivors and the victims’ relatives. For Annie Kurkdjian who has experienced the war in Lebanon and other distresses since her childhood, the “psychological cell” was her painting workshop. This cell has awaken in her an astonishing creative process and revealed a unique, rich, complex and touching personality. She currently resides in Lebanon, but she has exhibited her art works several times in France, especially in Marciac. She was recently on the cover of the artistic magazine “Voleur de Feu” of William Mathieu. I’ve been able to dialogue with her by an interposed email.

From Armenia to Lebanon
Of an Armenian origin, her parents have met in Syria where they have been refugees after the Armenian genocide by the Turks. They moved again to Lebanon in order to escape the totalitarian Syrian regime. Her father ran a jewelry business which was well developing when the war broke out in 1975. “We thought that this would last a few days, but the situation has become extremely complicated, as in Syria today.” In 1985, when she was 13 years old, her dad decided to settle the family in France. But he did not have the time:  Three brothers have come to burgle him and his employees, who were savagely massacred. The three criminals were imprisoned initially but they have escaped in the chaos of war and they were never found…

Annie is a victim of post-traumatic stress and the family life becomes very difficult. “However, I was lucky to have two passionate aunts who have given me a lot of love. I have always believed that I have three mothers… They have opened a haute couture shop, and due to their talent, they have succeeded in attracting a good Lebanese customers. Few oriental women possessed this spiritual and financial independence. They were sure of themselves and they were free-thinkers…

Annie passes masters in Business, but the business world repels her. At 22 years old, she discovers painting and feels that this shall be for her a privileged mean of expression. But she continues the search. She registered in theology and psychology in university. Then, during a training course in the psychiatric hospital, she sees the schizophrenics drawing and gets fascinated by the sincerity of their work. She begins to realize small sketches and to reconstruct her identity. Finally, the artistic talent wins.  Her first exhibition was held in 2005: “I felt good. I dyed my hair red which became the symbol of my healing and my faith in life.”

Creating her style
At the beginning, she isolates in a small workshop called “shitland” (shitty country) and lives in conditions of great destitution. “I had to be alone to work and create my own style without being disturbed by any opinion. In this room where I lived seven years, nobody had the right to enter.” Today she works in a comfortable apartment. “I am not aggressive anymore if someone visits me. Internally, I have built a solid world of mine.” Her paintings exorcise her demons and express also a joyful imaginative wealth and the hope of life which retakes above everything.

How  did she manage to exhibit at le Gers? “During an exhibition in Paris, I met Saty, the exhibitor of l’Ane Bleu (Blue Donkey)at Marciac. Of an Armenian origin, just like me , she is very sensible to the theme of genocide. She has invited me to expose at Marciac and I accepted. Then, I met Fred from the Espace Ecart where I have exposed the following year. I adore this village a lot. You have many chances to live in this country…”

Jean-Louis Le Breton

*Voleur de feu