From September 16 till 30 in Yerevan at the “Art Gallery” (52, Leo street) the exhibition of well-known photojournalist Ruben Mangasarian, who suddenly passed away on March 21, 2009 at the age of 49, is being held. The exhibition is organized by Ruben’s brother Tigran Mangasarian, Director of “Patker” photo agency, with the financial support of Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation-Armenia.
“Ray of Light in Family’s Black Life”, demonstrated in Armenia for the first time, is a story of a family, depicted by Ruben Mangasarian over years. In the beginning there was a photo story, published under the same name in September 2004 on BBCRussian.com, then on BBC News Online. Later there were other publications and exhibitions in different countries of the world. “I will never forget those overwhelming feelings. Thinking about taking those pictures, I realised what was hitting so hard. The mother Lida’s "black life" was like a real hell on Earth – not the one for evil sinners”, wrote Ruben Mangasarian. After publishing the photo story Ruben received many messages from people, willing to help this family. “Jay, a BBC News Online reader from Britain, sent some money, so I paid local authorities to build a toilet cabin for Lida’s family. Then I needed to get them into new clothes. I wanted them to wear fresh shirts sent from Tokyo on their clean washed bodies. I asked the children – have they ever had a bath or taken a shower? They didn’t know what they were. So I arranged for them to visit local communal baths. It was the first time they had washed in something other than a small tub with lukewarm water. Lida is the only person who knows the outside world – she goes out to earn some money. The rest of the family don’t leave the house much – only to get water from a tap nearby. The children don’t know what friendship is, they still don’t go to school, they cannot read or write. (…) The future of this family depends on people’s mercy. It’s not their choice to stay captured in their “black life” or to escape: they are not able to change anything on their own. If nobody helps, these children will never see any other life full of colors and joy.”
On June 29, 2010 Ruben Mangasarian would be 50. The Yerevan exposition is dedicated to the final project in his life: help to Lida’s family, which continued till his last days. The last professional photos of his life, made on January 26, 2009, were also about that family.