Dame Gulizar and Other Love Stories. Rebecca Topakian

Once upon a time, in distant Constantinople, there lived Hadji Garabet Kevork Topakian, a well-known and respected producer of basturma, considered by many to be the best in the city. Garabet led a lonely life until one day he fell deeply in love with the beautiful and young Gulizar, who – to his joy – reciprocated his feeling. They were an adorable couple.
Unfortunately, their love was opposed by Gulizar’s parents, for whom Garabet was too boorish. Unable to come to terms with the loss of his beloved, one frosty night he snuck on horseback to her bedroom window. Without hesitating for long, Gulizar threw herself into her lover’s arms and together they left for Constantinople to get married and live happily ever after. Distant Ararat, illuminated by moonlight, was the only witness to this kidnapping…


For Dame Gulizar and Other Love Stories, Rebecca Topakian’s starting point is the unique story of her Armenian family, who lived in Turkey before her grandfather emigrated to France. This story is the love of her great-grandparents – Garabed and Gulizar.
Topakian explored this part of her identity by choosing fiction and mythology. Bearing the love story of her ancestors in mind while she traveled and lived in Armenia, desire became the thread of this project: it is a desire for earth, ground, identity, but also for the other’s body acting almost as a mirror.


The book includes her own pictures mixed with her family archives, establishing a link between past and present. And the photographs printed on transparent paper symbolically put her great-grandparents back to the land they belong to, offering an intimate and impressionistic portrait of Armenia.

Number of pages: 120
Number of photographs: 57
Language version: English, French and Armenian
Print run: 600 copies
Publication date: July 2024
Publisher: BLOW UP PRESS (Warsaw, Poland)