Aiwa Thrive

Sarko Meené

THRIVE is an AIWA project dedicated to highlighting individuals who are doing remarkable things in their personal and professional lives to better themselves and those around them. These individuals are inspiring, dynamic, innovative and interesting. Today, we feature AIWA Thrive: Sarko Meené, Artist, Film maker, Writer, Athlete.

Sarko Meené, Artist, Film maker, Writer, Athlete.

Location: Yerevan, Armenia

Occupation: Artist, Film maker, Writer, Athlete



June 10, 2024

An artist of many words, but preferring less (or none) for her biography, Sarko Meené refuses to present quantitative facts of her lived life and of her achievements as an artist. She strongly believes that the art that she presents each time  should not be viewed and judged under the influence of the past, of degrees, diplomas, and number of exhibitions or awards, and particularly not by cumulative opinion. Sarko is not denying the importance of her previous work and the quality of experience that shows advancement in her work and builds her career: but she insists that the audience should be freed from the past or the future while standing in front of an art piece. Any kind of biography dictates subconsciously if things should be valued or not, and that in itself diminishes the formation of the very essential emotional connection between the viewer and the artwork. Most importantly, biographies simply distract from the present moment, in which we live and love.

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself

I like to say that I am just a girl, now already a woman I suppose, but a girl at heart, still… forever? I work in various spheres of the artworld from painting to video. I prefer not to define myself one way or another, as I believe the identity is a never ending cyclical movement and not dogmatic. I morph every month to something and someone I need to study about myself. It is fascinating.

I am born in a very interesting family of a great writer and translator grandfather, a singer grandmother who sand at Armenian national quire for 45 years, a genius surgeon father and my mother a very beloved doctor and father’s equal in her own sphere of medicine. I have a walking dictionary brother, who puts all my knowledge to shame since kindergarten. I always dreamt of having a sister, but was not blessed with one, so now I have a great group of female friends who are like sisters to me. I boast very much with the fact that all my female friends are very successful, very smart, very funny and very beautiful.

I will honestly confess that I am not a hard core feminist, although it looks like it from a side, in fact after doing so many various things in life and traveling the world, one profession I would really like to truly succeed in is being a professional mother, feels odd to say it in the modern world and for this application, but I do believe in complete vulnerability and in honesty.

Q: What is your life philosophy?

Life is too simple to simply live it. (but I wish we could just simply live)

Q: What is your hope for the future?

Growing up through several wars, peace is what comes to mind above and beyond anything else, and I cannot live without freedom, freedom for the self and in large. So I may contradict myself because feminism is fighting for that freedom, but I believe in balance. So I do hope when the pendulum stops swinging so violently as it does now, it will slow down and men and women can find a balanced existence together on this one very small but very vast and very beautiful planet.

Q: What is your favorite thing about being Armenian/Armenians?

Some years ago, one evening I went to one of my most favorite spots in Armenia, a large field from where I can see Ara mountain, Aragats, Ararat and Hatis. And I was standing there in the evening wind so common to summer evening in the mountains, it was sunset and it was so incredibly beautiful and I felt so small but so powerful. I felt beyond grounded in that field, like a tree. And I thought, I could have never been born anywhere else but from these mountains. I am famously known as “Sari Aghjik” or “Qari aghjik” and I like calling myself “Sarko Saretsi”… we are people of mountains and I think I take pride in that strength the most. I also take pride in being an Armenian WOMAN, especially a woman. I had a public installation in the heart of Stepanakert in 2019. It was called “My home is my castle” and it was an installation which I built from very transparent metal mesh on top of a house which was falling apart. The metal mesh though hardly visible was holding the house together. It symbolically was representing women, Armenian women “Nakhshun Baji” (beautiful sister) the Armenian woman who holds the house together while the Armenian men would go to war. So as an Armenian woman especially, I recognize my immense strength to hold a castle together, while remaining a woman – a beautiful sister. I can talk endlessly about how much I love being an Armenian – an Armenian woman. My grandfather used to say “Yes mard em, bayts yes HAY mard em, urish mard linel chem karogh.” (sorry for latin letter Armenian, I don’t use Armenian alphabet on my computer, it is too beautiful of an alphabet to make it into a keyboard :)) I use Armenian for cursive only or on my grandfather’s old typewriter.)

Q: How has Armenian culture shaped / influenced you?

I think I somewhat answered that above, but to elaborate a bit more, for me Armenian culture is family. And maybe that is one of the reasons I feel a bit rebellious about the feminist movement now days. I like that I was not raised in a westernised culture, I am not sure I want to go there ever in my values. I was raised and shaped on values that were built around family and feminism has promoted the idea of freedom in the form of “divorce”. I do understand that I may seem to be coming from a place where I may not understand the abuse women go through in families, but trust me I have seen that too and I still stand for family unity. I think we need to find a balance to live in our culture as Armenians and progress into more freedom orientated nation at large and like I said, the pendulum needs to swing long enough for it to center itself in the middle in peace.

Q: Final Thoughts?

I am not sure how worthy are my thoughts, but I am grateful you read it. As a woman I think my job is to “make beauty” beyond all other things that I can do during my short existence, and there can never be too much beauty, can there?! The nature proves it every single day that there can never be too much beauty, if we look at the sun alone, how it comes and how it goes every day, gracefully and beautifully… we have so much to learn from the sun…and I always welcome the opportunity to tell that to a wider audience. Thank you for considering me.


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