Lucie Abdalian
“Armenia is a place where my soul can rest and I can just be myself.”

| From New York, USA | Moved in 2010

I’ve been in Armenia for four years now. It’s a place I come to rest, where I can be at peace and create. As an artist I always try to travel and experience new things. It’s good for one’s creativity to see new things, smell new scents, go to new places and meet new people.

Lucie was born in Lebanon. She remembers moving to Montreal, Canada with her family when she was around 4 years old. “I remember not knowing the language and trying to communicate with the other children around me who spoke French. It was calm and it was a completely different world when compared to living in a warzone. There was a large Armenian community in Montreal and I attended Surb Hakob Armenian School (considered to be one of the best schools in Quebec). We were taught in three languages: French, English and Armenian and we had Armenian class every day.”

Lucie Abdalian-1

“When I was four years old, my father insisted that I take piano lessons. I didn’t really like it; I thought I could do something completely different like painting or drawing. My 3rd grade teacher Mr. Tufenkian was the first person who showed me what art really was. I remember being inspired by a painting of a woman gazing down by Goya and his signature at the bottom of the painting. After that, I decided to discontinue my musical education. Still, in most strict Armenian households, many parents realize their own dreams through their children. But, I sold my piano after a performance on the day I graduated college as a pianist, and I never played again.” Lucie began to draw for herselfand hung her drawings around her house. After seeing her paintings, one of her friends suggested that she should organize an exhibition of her works her works in a gallery. A month after her application she noticed that her name had been printed in San Francisco’s 7×7 magazine and her work was to be included in an exhibition of emerging artists. “Then it began. I started to get calls from New York and my collection expanded because I had so much more I wanted to say.”

“I lived in New York for five years and I worked a lot, but the energy and vibe there is so strong that you can’t relax. This was the biggest difference I felt when I began to come to Armenia periodically. Everything felt serene, like the calm of an ocean after a storm. Finally I could hear my own feelings and emotions.”

Later on, a fan of Lucie’s work approached her in New York saying that she had seen one of her paintings and wanted to buy it. To Lucie it was a simple piece, but nevertheless it had touched her and that was the most important thing for Lucie. She says that her audience’s energy inspires her.

Lucie Abdalian-2

“I used to draw young girls in their melancholy or in fashion at one point, and the director, Maria Sahakian contacted me saying that wanted to use my characters in a cartoon she planned to film. She gave me complete freedom to choose the characters, their make-up, clothes and hair. Though I’d never done anything like that before, I thought that I had nothing to lose by giving it a try. That’s when I met Lilit Movsisyan. While I was still living in New York we began to correspond and four months later she told me she was shooting a film and offered me a role. Naturally I told her I wasn’t a trained actress, but she insisted that she had a character in her film that was perfect for me. So, we started filming.”

“I have experienced some of the most extraordinary things, the most random, unthinkable and wonderful things. They happen no matter where I live, but anything that happens in Armenia is more valuable to me because I’m Armenian. For instance, I never imagined that one day I would accept an award on the stage of the National Opera House. The feeling that you get is indescribable. You just want your parents to be there so you can show them what you’ve accomplished. Sure, I could have done the same thing somewhere else, but the facts that I did it in Armenia, in Yerevan, means that I’ve made a contribution to my country and to my nation.”

“Recently, the energy that radiates from my pieces have become even stronger. I’ve met people here that I would have never met anywhere else in the world. They’re very warm and dedicated to you. Even if you need something at 3 o’clock in the morning they’ll move heaven and earth to be there for you. That’s the kind of people I look for and try to surround myself with.”

Lucie also recalls her fear of traveling and of being alone. However living in Armenia has given her the confidence to live alone and to feel safe and calm.

“In my relationships I’ve learned to keep a bit more to myself. Jealousy is very prevalent here. I think that if the energy people funnel into emotions of jealousy and envy was aimed at working, Armenia would be a very strong country. There truly are a lot of talented people here.”

When I’m in New York I feel like I’m on a nice vacation, but Armenia feels like home. When I’m away I miss everything about Armenia: the air and even the dust. I’m always surprised when people ask me why I moved back. Why shouldn’t I want to live here? I don’t know what it is exactly that I like about being here, but I know that it’s only here where I feel completely at peace. Armenia is a place where my soul can rest and I can just be myself. I’ve found myself here.”

Video article by ShoghakatTV
Transcription by Alice Ananian
Editing by Anahit Galstyan
Photos contributed by Alex Tarverdi and Tatev Vardanyan
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