Ara the Rat has teamed up with Kond Gallery, an initiative to revitalize Kond, the oldest neighborhood in Yerevan, with street art.
Our Kond collection includes a t-shirt, tote bag, and enamel pin. The design is an ode to the colorful and warm characters, history and rich dynamics encapsulated in the neighborhood. It features Soviet-era tattoo art, a familiar site you come across as you meet people in the winding alleyways of Kond.
Started by artist Sereg Navasardyan, this open-air gallery seeks to give the ancient neighborhood, whose future hangs in the balance, a face lift by pairing artists with local counterparts to produce public art in an endangered urban space.
29 years older than Rome, Armenia’s capital has undergone massive changes over the years, but at its core a piece of Old Yerevan still remains.
Kond, the city’s oldest surviving and most charming neighborhood is an intricate series of narrow alleyways and haphazard, yet creatively constructed housing structures dating as far back as the 17th century.
Various ethnic and religious communities once lived in the area with Armenians including Persians, Turks, Romanis and Jews. Remnants of the Tepebaşı (“Top of the Hill” in Turkish) mosque, built in 1687, still stand in Kond today as does the 15th century Surp Hovhannes Church.
Kond also became home for Armenian refugees fleeing the genocide in 1915, and survivors from cities like Van, Mush, and Erzerum settled there, giving the neighborhood its distinct look that can still be seen today.
In the decades following, it gained a reputation as a stomping ground for Soviet-era crime bosses. Since then, redevelopment projects for the district failed to materialize after Armenia gained independence. Cut off from the rest of the city, residents still deal with urban issues, including a lack of access to running water, but a walk through Kond means never having to go thirsty - warm invitations for a cup of coffee will meet you in many of its corners.
Now, Kond is getting another kind of facelift. Kond Gallery, an initiative founded by artist Sereg Navasardyan is bringing public displays of art and renewed interest to the area. In collaboration with Kond Gallery, Ara The Rat is releasing a collection which includes a t-shirt, tote bag, and pin in honor of Yerevan’s most vibrant, historic neighborhood.
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Uncle Fester helped raise more than $1 million ($15 million in 2019) for Armenian Genocide victims.
The actor Jackie Coogan was 10 years old at the time and 3 years earlier had starred in the Charlie Chaplin classic movie, The Kid. He was dubbed “the most famous boy in the world” and had a movie career playing scrappy, lovable orphans. Because of this he was seen as a powerful and effective advocate for philanthropic causes.
During the aftermath of the Genocide, The Near East Foundation approached Coogan’s father who granted approval stating that he wanted “Jackie to see and realize some of the hardships and suffering other children of his own age have had to endure, to bring home to him a realization of the common duty of all mankind to one another.”
In 1924, Jackie Coogan embarked on a national fundraising tour on behalf of Near East Relief. Coogan traveled across the United States in a railroad car collecting clothing, non-perishable food, and financial donations.
Crowds of fans greeted Jackie at every stop across America. Coogan then traveled by sea to London, Paris, Rome with his tour culminating in Greece at the largest orphanage in Athens, Zappeion. He arrived with more than $1 million in cargo ($15 million in 2019).
The Greek government presented Jackie with the Silver Cross of the Order of Saint George.