Shushi’s Occupied Museums

Hyperallergic Sunday Edition: “Artsakh: Cultural Heritage Under Threat”
Edited by Hrag Vartanian
February 2021

This essay for Hyperallergic’s Sunday Edition addresses the status of arts institutions in Occupied Shush, regarded as Artsakh’s cultural capital and home to six museums. After the seizure of ancestral lands by the state of Azerbaijan, Indigenous Armenian heritage in occupied Artsakh’s museums faces the threat of erasure and cultural cleansing:

“If decolonizing the museum requires reckoning with settler colonial histories, how do we approach decolonization in a state where history itself is a principal target of erasure?”

Image: Installation views of the Shushi State Museum of Fine Arts (photograph courtesy Lusine Gasparyan)