Women in Photography 2017: Asian Women Photographers’ Showcase Slideshow Projection
Inhabitants of the Empty | Yulia Grigoryants

In 1988, a 7.0 Richter-scale earthquake struck northern Armenia. The quake killed at least 25,000 people in the region. Thousands more were maimed and hundreds of thousands left homeless. Gyumri, Armenia’s second largest city, bore much of the damage. Large-scale war by the early 1990s, the collapse of the Soviet Union, an energy shortage, and a blockade that left landlocked Armenia with just two open borders contributed to exacerbating the region’s already prevalent social and economic problems.

A quarter of a century later, Gyumri has the country’s highest poverty rate at 47.7%. The city has lost nearly half of its population since 1988, due in part to the migration of the labor force. A few thousand families are still living in makeshift shelters, waiting for help. Many of them are not eligible for new housing, since they are not considered to be direct victims of the earthquake. 25 years later, they are still waiting for urgently needed improvements to their dwellings.

During the Soviet era, these huge twin dormitory buildings on the outskirts of Gyumri accommodated around 60 families each. Today there are just four families living here, among decaying walls and corridors.

About Yulia Grigoryants
Yulia Grigoryants is an independent photographer and producer from Armenia currently living between France and Armenia. Her extensive professional background in documentary film production helped develop her storytelling abilities while covering social, cultural, and human rights issues around the world, including conflict zones.

Born in 1984 in Baku, Azerbaijan, she fled the country in 1988 with her family because of the violence against the Armenian population, which was followed by a large-scale war in the early 1990’s. She grew up during a time of important political and social changes for Armenia and the region, with the transition from the Soviet system to independence, devastating earthquake, five years of war, and years of social-economic hardship, which still continues to this day.

In 2016 Yulia won The Best New Talent award at International Photography Awards (IPA-CIS). She was nominated for the annual Lucie Awards (2016) and shortlisted for prestigious Sony World Photography Award (2017). Yulia’s works have been exhibited and published internationally, including in Washington Post, L’oeil de la Photographie, Life Force Magazine, Life Framer, Fotodoc, etc. In 2015 Yulia’s photographs were twice exhibited at UN House in Yerevan, Armenia. In the same year, she held a personal exhibition in the border region of Armenia exhibiting her story from the conflict zone. In 2017 Yulia held her first exhibition in France at the House of Council of Europe. Her works were also exhibited in England, China, Philippines and Russia.

Women in Film & Photography Showcase Programme
:: Women in Photography Exhibition: 13 Oct to 19 Nov
:: Guided photographer & curator tour: 13 Oct, Fri, 230pm to 330pm

:: Panel Discussion – Woman Photographer: 13 Oct, Fri, 730pm to 9pm
:: Artist talks: 14 Oct, Sat, 2pm to 430pm
:: Slideshow Projection featuring Asian Women Photographers’ Showcase: 15 Nov, Wed, 730pm to 830pm
:: Women in Film 2017 (19 to 28 Oct)