Amy Kazandjian’s ‘We Are Our Mountains’ exhibition is a vibrant tribute to Armenian heritage and resilience

By Rupen Janbazian

Berlin, Germany – In a world where cultural heritage and identity are constantly threatened, Toronto-born Amy Kazandjian’s art has been a vibrant tribute to Armenian heritage and resilience. Her recent exhibition, “We Are Our Mountains,” which ran from Nov. 10 to 17 in Berlin, captivated audiences with its colorful and powerful representation of Armenian culture.

“We Are Our Mountains” was not just an art exhibition; it was a poignant statement inspired by the native Armenian population’s recent exile from their generational and indigenous lands of Artsakh. “The mountains and sacred heritage sites of Artsakh have always been an integral part of Armenian identity, representing a connection to our roots and standing as a testament to our existence,” Kazandjian told Torontohye in an exclusive interview.

However, with the ongoing conflict and displacement, the question arose: When all is erased, what shares the truth of their existence?
Kazandjian’s artwork in this exhibition served as a powerful response to this question. Her pieces were adorned with celebrated Armenian symbols, yet, according to her, they speak “to a global collective pain shared by marginalized groups worldwide.”

But beyond the pain, her art also looked toward hope for the future, offering a vision of resilience and determination.
One of the unique aspects of this exhibition was its exploration of the digital experience surrounding war in an era marked by collective struggles. In a world where information is selectively favoured or silenced by algorithms, Kazandjian used her personal Instagram captions to bring attention to the attacks on her community. These captions, though shadow-banned from the feed, were shared urgently alongside her artwork, creating a powerful contrast that underscored the ongoing tragedy.

Kazandjian’s journey as an artist has been deeply intertwined with her Armenian heritage. Born and raised in Toronto, she now resides in Berlin, where her colorful modern designs draw inspiration from her roots, incorporating elements such as pomegranates, sacred mountains, and traditional Armenian motifs. Through her work, she explores themes of erasure, diaspora, and homeland, connecting with her Armenian community both in Berlin and online.

Amy has a rich history of creative projects that celebrate her heritage. She has worked as the Creative and Cultural Director for “The Nightingale of a Thousand Songs” with the Canadian Children’s Opera Company, demonstrating her commitment to preserving Armenian culture even while working on diverse projects. Additionally, her illustrations have graced the covers and pages of children’s books, incorporating Armenian iconography and landscapes to provide comfort and cultural connection to Armenian children of all ages.

In “We Are Our Mountains,” Kazandjian’s artwork was a vibrant representation of the resilience and determination of the Armenian community. “What was exciting to see was that this exhibit invited non-Armenians to engage with the topic of war and the events that transpired in the last two months through the colorful themes and descriptions, making it a truly inclusive and educational experience,” she explained.

As Amy’s exhibition “We Are Our Mountains” concluded on Nov. 17, it left a lasting impact on all who had the privilege to view her artwork. It serves as a reminder of the power of art to tell stories, raise awareness, and highlight the strength of marginalized communities in the face of adversity. Kazandjian’s dedication to her Armenian heritage and her commitment to cultural preservation is evident in every brushstroke, making her an artist worth celebrating.

All photos are courtesy of Amy Kazandjian. To learn more about Amy or to purchase or commission her art, visit Amy. Amy also offers an online watercolour course through the Teachable platform.