By Gevorg Gyulumyan
YEREVAN — The Vahan Tekeyan Awards ceremony of the Tekeyan Cultural Association (TCA), supported by the Shake Tekeyan-Ghazarian Fund of the TCA of the United States and Canada, took place on May 30 at the Tekeyan Center. These annual awards recognize and encourage the best work in various fields of Armenian culture. During its existence, more than 100 worthy individuals have been recognized. This year, Edmond Y. Azadian, president of the TCA of the United States and Canada, was present, along with Rouben Mirzakhanyan, president of the TCA of Armenia, and many Armenian intellectuals and writers.
The event began with a performance of the Armenian Philharmonic’s chamber group. Mirzakhanyan declared that the prizes intend to encourage the creative element to develop Armenian culture further, and announced the four categories of prizes for this year: literature, music, fine arts and drama.
Author Artsvi Bakhchinyan won the award for literature for his novel Aylastantsi Muchik hayastantsin. Azadian, who is the president of the literary jury, declared, “If we judge by current standards, then this novel, without a doubt, lays claim to be a best seller.”
As Bakhchinyan was absent, his wife stood in his stead to accept the price and thank Tekeyan. She said she hoped that Armenians scattered around the world would, like Muchik, the hero of her husband’s novel, finally return home and take care of their homeland.
The drama prize was won by Bakhtiar Hovakimyan’s study, Nor Jughayi tatrone, 1887-2017 [The Theater of New Julfa, 1887-2017]. Hovakimyan is one of the best specialist of the history of Armenian theater and can be considered its last Mohican. Jury head Armen Elbakyan praised Hovakimyan’s legacy in his field. Elbakyan said, “Our cultural figures need not only financial aid but also [supportive] behavior for their sedulous labor. For all this is invested in the future. All that is created now has the goal of enriching and insuring those who come after us. This valuable work of Bakhtiar Hovakimyan intends this too.”