Akram Aylisli and Lusik Aguletsi


Akram Aylisli and Lusik Aguletsi

The Armenian artist and ethnographer Lusik Aguletsi spent her childhood with her grandparents who in the mid 20th century lived in a small town in Soviet Nakhijevan – Agulis. Her creative pseudonym (Aguletsi) means “from Agulis.”

Lusik Aguletsi is well-known in Armenia also due to her quite unusual appearance.  The national costume that she has been wearing for a few decades now is an element of her routine, and not a uniform for meeting journalists. Probably she is the only woman in Armenia today to dress like that. 

The creative pseudonym of the Azerbaijani writer Akram Aylisli means “from Aylissi.” 

Agulis (the name of the medieval town) is now called Aylis.


“The yellowish-pinky light on the tall dome seemed to tell the similarly tall mountains of the once present purity, elevation, spaciousness and beauty of the world. And Lusik was there again, in the yard of the beauty of all churches – the Vangh Church: the artist Lusik, the granddaughter of Haykanush, a girl of thirteen – fourteen. That summer Lusik came from Yerevan for the first time, to spend her summer holidays in Aylis and from the very first day on she would not leave the churchyard until late in the evening. How many times was it possible to draw the same church? … Or could the church only be an excuse? Maybe Lusik saw the God’s smile reflected in the yellowish-pinky light on the dome in the mornings and evenings and believed that she could draw it, and that is why, being firmly settled in the churchyard, she would keep drawing the same thing day by day…?”

An excerpt from a novel by Akram Aylisli Stone Dreams  


Lusik Aguletsi about Life in Agulis and her meeting with young Akram Aylisli there:

“I was in the first year of my studies at college, and I was only 14. That year I arrived in Agulis to draw the Tovma Church. A young man came up to us – a fair-haired one. I even wondered how handsome the young man was with such a light complexion. He had quite a prolonged conversation with my Grandma. When he left, I asked my grandma who that was. She said that he was the most educated young man in our village and a very intelligent man. I remember he was some 25 years old, quite a mature young man, I would say.

He spoke in a very literate and gentle manner. You know he talked to my grandmother in a way as if he was her son.

He saw me only once, but he described it in such a beautiful manner. He is right; I did see divine light in that church. I would draw all the time. Every year I would go there to draw. I did not ever meet him there again, but he could have felt me going to the church and drawing it.

We had good neighbors. There were 6 rooms in the same yard. Zokhra lived in one of those. She was an elderly woman, all her ten children had died.

The other neighbors were a young couple with a small five-year old child. I was older, but I would sometimes take the child over to our house to play with, so that I was not very bored.

Then, Nubar Khala moved in, another neighbor, who had two daughters. There were not married, they were the one to take care of me, they looked after me and protected me.

We would teach them, they would help us.

Khidayat’s mother was Armenian, her father was Azerbaijani. He was a friend of my grandfather, he would even say words in Zok (Zok is the Agulis dialect of the Armenian language – By ed.). He would play the drums, the others played the tar, the kamancha, and Khidayat played the drum. This Khidayat brought paper for me from Ordubad, and he put me into his lap and was the first person to teach me to draw. He drew a flower. At that time it was difficult to find and buy paper in Agulis, and he brought this paper for me from Ordubad, and I started to draw on it; I loved drawing! And thus, I bear this impression that it was an Azerbaijani man who taught me to draw.

There were different kinds of Azerbaijani people. There were both kinds of Azerbaijanis: good and evil ones. There was a blue-eyed man there, named Murtuz. His face only would already bring about fear in one. He was an unbearable man. This Murtuz was trying to do everything possible to force out my grandparents, so that his children would come in to live in our house. My grandparents opposed that for many years.

It was impossible to forget that place, to forget the fruits, the sunrise, the sunset, and our tree with gindari.

I think that this is love for the motherland, for the place where one was born. For he was also born where I was born. The nature there made him the way he is. For there are very few people of that kind. People who would love their land, the name of that land and would choose it as their name. This is not accidental that among us there are people from Nakhijevan, Agulis and Jugha…

After the pillages, as he tells, Agulis became Aylis. And in order to preserve the memory of his motherland, he bears the name of Aylisli. I am doing the same.”


30 January, 2014
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