Ruben [not his real name] was already an artist when he entered Kosh - a skilled silversmith, he has focused on perfecting his art and is now one of the facility’s most refined masters. He shapes statues and makes tasbihs.
“Before being jailed, I studied Law and Psychology, but I did not manage to finish either course,” he says. “When I started working, the time started to pass more quickly. I am left with no idle time, plus I make a profit. Also, the administration treats working prisoners differently”, says Ruben, who will be out of Kosh’s high walls in December.
The artcrafts - icons, tasbihs, carpets, woodwork, lamps and other handmade items - are on sale at the pavilion. Anna Harutyunyan has been the salesperson for four and a half years.
“Many people avoid entering the pavilion, the sign scares them,” Anna explains. “Once a couple was walking, the boy wanted to enter, while the girl pulled him back. Still, many people come precisely because the items are made by the prisoners.” Customers include tourists as well as Armenians from the diaspora. Tasbihs are popular, as well as carpets with the Armenian alphabet, she adds.