Visual Stories from Armenia, Georgia and Ukraine

In the framework of the EU Creative Europe Programme a consortium of partners from Armenia, Georgia and Ukraine are implementing a comics genre development project Visual Stories from Armenia, Georgia and Ukraine. Project will offer a number of training and webinar sessions for comics artists and writers, as well as other interested professionals to introduce the topics of comics and graphic story writing, graphic journalism, promotion and marketing, copyright and financial literacy, negotiation skills, etc.

The final product of the project will be a comic book with stories by three women writers, one from each country, outlining the women’s perspective on war, their role in it and its impact on their lives. 

The writers involved in the project are Ani Asatryan, Armenia, Ekaterine Togonidze, Georgia and Marichka Paplauskaite, Ukraine. The illustrators will be selected through an open competition (to be announced soon). The editor who will coordinate and mentor the writers and illustrators while creating the story collection is Mikheil Tsikhelashvili. Please see the bios of the writers and the editor below:

Armenian team

Ani Asatryan, writer

Ani Asatryan is a writer of the Generation Independence and a “text artist”. Her first untitled book “    ” was published in 2014 and is a conceptual-Dadaist collection of short stories and essays. It was a collection of avant-garde literature, which included works written at the age of 19-21 and included surreal short pieces and which was published fully deleted. Nevertheless, the full printrun of the book ran out on the day of the presentation and became known in media as “a not-for-reading book”. Ani has Bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology from Yerevan State University and Master’s degree from the Institute of Contemporary Arts in Yerevan. Holds a Master’s degree in portrait and landscape photography, poetic documentary film making and digital media storytelling from the University of Sussex, UK. Ani teaches creative writing at TUMO technological center.

Astghik Harutyunyan, comics artist

Astghik Harutyunyan (Armenia) is a comic artist. Astghik studied comics art at École Européenne Supérieure del’Image, animation at Banzay production, worked as artist for animations, games and films. Presented her works at Angouleme comics festival. She co-created Tales of Neto games, which was presented at Luka games and comics festival and won special NICE awards. Her works were presented at Katapult expo at HayArt cultural center, Reanimania Comics and Animation festival and were published at Yerevan Journal and Aravot newspaper. She now works at TUMO technological center’s academy as an expert-trainer.

Georgian team

Ekaterine Togonidze, writer

Georgian journalist, author, lecturer and activist for the rights of people with disabilities, Ekaterine Togonidze, was born in Tbilisi in 1981. Ekaterine Togonidze made her literary debut in 2011 with her short story collection “Anesthesia” with which she introduced a new theme to Georgian literature: the discrimination against disabled people in society. The book was awarded the SABA Literary Prize for the best debut of the year in 2012. She also was the winner of different literary competitions including the best story of the year (Sulakauri publishing prize), The BEST SHORT STORY (Literary Magazine) and the script development competition (Georgian National Film Center). She has got the Writing Scholarship of Writers’ House and was a scholarship holder for residency of Literarisches Colloquium Berlin (LCB). Her first novel “Asynchrony” was translated into German. Her latest novel “You-Home” became a best-seller immediately after its release. Her works have also appeared in magazines in Georgia and abroad, and have been translated into English, German, Czech and Abkhazian. 

Luka Lakhshi, comics artist

Luka Lashkhi (Georgia) is a Georgian artist well-versed in different disciplines including comic art, screenwriting, storyboards, visual storytelling, drawing and filmmaking. Luka Lashkhi has participated in different comics residencies, art and publishing projects. Has self-published four comic books during past four years. The main goal of Luka Lashkhi to participate in the project “The Visual Stories from Georgia, Armenia and Ukraine” is to contribute to the development of comic genre in Georgia and create one of his most important comic works.

Ukrainian team

Vira Kuryko, writer

Vira Kuryko is a Ukrainian journalist, reporter and writer. She has penned a collection of stories, including “The Street of Those Involved. The File on Lukianenko from Chernihiv”, a historical non-fiction for children “Mazepa. Rights to the Sabre”, and a non-fiction book titled “Healthy Person’s Reform”. She is a reporter and writer for Ukrainian media outlets such as Reporters, The Ukrainians Media, Lokalna Istoria (Local History), Ukrayinskiy Tyzhden (The Ukrainian Week),  Ukrainska Pravda. Her texts have also been published in German, Polish, and Czech media. She has been nominated for the BBC-2020 Book of the Year literary prize, is an awardee of the prize LitAccent of the Year 2020, winner of the contest Chest’ Profesiyi 2020 (Honor of the Profession) in a nomination Reportage. She is the author of several reportages in the joint book-collection of Reporters authors — 77 Days of February: Living and Dying in UkraineIn 2022, she worked as a documentarian on The Reckoning Project: Ukraine Testifies to document Russian war crimes in Ukraine. She is the author of a reportage about the first bombing of a residential area in Chernihiv, which was included in the book “The Most Frightening Days of My Life”.

Sofia Pokorchak, comics artist

Sofia Pokorchak (Ukraine) is an artist and illustrator from Lviv. After graduating from the College of Decorative and Applied Arts after I. Trush, she received a bachelor’s degree from the Lviv National Academy of Arts, Faculty of Design. She then studied animation, design, and multimedia at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk, where she started creating her own comics. She worked in graphic design and illustration, from magazine and advertising illustrations to children’s book graphics. In 2021, she began working in the field of fashion design as a printmaker, and in 2023, she started working with 2D frame-by-frame animation, which she has been doing ever since.

Mikheil Tsikhelashvili, editor [Georgia]

Mikheil Tsikhelashvili is a Georgian writer, translator and comic-book editor. He graduated from Tbilisi State University (Bachelor of Fine Arts) and Ilia State University (Master of Cultural Management). For 7 years Tsikhelashvili had been working for Sulakauri Publishing as an acquisition editor and rights manager. Later he joined the Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe team as an archive coordinator for one complete season. After publishing his first novel in September 2019, Tsikhelashvili started part-time freelance practice as a translator, writer, and script supervisor and part-time volunteering. In his catalog, one can find a novel, a collection of short stories, two comic books, eight translated books, two movie scripts, and tens of articles. Currently, he lives and works in Porto, Portugal.

Project implementing partners

ARI Literature Foundation (ARI) is a non-governmental organization which aims to contribute to the development of the Armenian book market, promotion of writing and reading in Armenia as well as representation of Armenian literature and culture globally. Major goal of ARI Literature Foundation is to build multicultural dialogues to enhance the role of literature in the regional context, making Armenia an active partner in shaping literary platforms for cooperation․ ARI Literature Foundation has an extensive experience and excellent record of success stories in implementing international and local projects in cooperation with US Embassy in Armenia, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (Portugal), Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Goethe Institute, EU Delegation in Armenia, including EU funded projects.

Literature Initiative Georgia (LIG) is an NGO with goals to enhance intercultural dialogue and development of literary and cultural relations, develop the literary process in Georgia, implement initiatives and projects to strengthen the freedom of speech and expression, organize discussion platforms for representatives of the literary and artistic fields. LIG has worked with such partners as Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Goethe Institute and others. 

Komora Publishing House (Ukraine) was established in 2013. The motto of the publishing house is «Only what remains», which reflects Komora’s policy and business strategy: publishing high-quality printed books, meant for personal libraries and several generations of readers. After ten years of work, the catalog of Komora includes over 90 books. Komora specializes in Ukrainian and world fiction and non-fiction, both classical and contemporary, trying to introduce Ukrainian audiences to attention-worthy (and also not widely promoted) names, events and trends, thus contributing to the growth of national reading standards. Komora actively works on projects, essential for a modern intellectual. 

Associated partners

“Co-funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only
and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union  Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.”