Borders: Artists Consider the Armeno-Turkish Divide
Dedicated to German Avagyan (1962-2020)
Conceptual photographers and photojournalists tackle the thorny subject of the Armeno-Turkish divide with a critical look at the aftermath of war and dislocation and its long-terms effects on people and landscape. Genocide, war, and displacement have been a constant for over 100 years in this area—starting with the Armenian Genocide of 1915-22, followed by massive population displacements through the 1930s and 1940s, and continuing today with the Armenian-Azeri conflict over Artsakh. This latest war began in 1988, paused with a ceasefire in 1994, but only 2 years ago re-ignited with a full-scale Azeri attack on Armenia. The photographers of Borders explore the human toll on this multigenerational conflict; the effects on the landscape and ecology, and whether there is hope of preserving vestiges of ancient cultures in this maelstrom of long-lasting state-sponsored violence.
Borders will run from March 20 – May 3, 2020.
- Artists in the exhibition: German Avagyan, Areg Balayan, Matthew Karanian, Eric Grigorian and Scout Tufankjian and the Houshamadyan Project with Silvina Der Meguerdichian.
- Borders is organized in collaboration with the Armenian National Committee—Western Region.
- Borders is dedicated to German Avagyan (1962-2020) and curated by Ara and Anahid Oshagan.
German Avagyan explores a deeply familial divide that is a fallout of war and border disruption. His project “Born After Death” consists of “double” portraits of men and women who were born after their fathers passed away on the battlefields in the first Azeri-Armenia war of 1990-94. They hold photos or paintings of their fathers whom they never saw. The series is an eerie hybrid work, melding archive and conceptual portraiture. Not only do the double portraits include archival material in their frames but the project is an archive itself—a collection of 36 such double portraits. Buoyed by the extensive research in a war-ravaged landscape, Avagyan’s work is a testament to the ability of documentary photography to synthesize, encapsulate and cross invisible borders of time and space. Avagyan’s untimely passing away earlier this year was a significant blow to the international photographic community and Borders is dedicated to his memory and his incessant spirit of exploration through photography.
Areg Balayan, winner of the Lens Culture international photography award, presents work from his new series “Consequence: Artefact.” Collaborating with artist Edik Boghosian, Balayan’s work is an attempt to “investigate and represent the aftereffects of the frozen military conflict in Nagorny Karabakh,” writes Vigen Galstyan, curator and historian. “By taking an archaeological approach, these artists aim to break through the partisan barriers that divide people across enemy lines. The combination of salvaged metallic remnants from war-torn buildings and photographs of residents who live in the conflict zone is built on a fascinating interplay between historical traces and the living present. It is a space where trauma becomes naturalized and internalized, affecting the way people see their lives, the world and the future.”
World Press Award winning photojournalist Eric Grigorian photographed a more recent war: a continuation of a long-standing border conflict. In April 2018, Azerbaijani forces attacked The Republic of Nagorno-Karbagh/Armenia in what came to be known as the “four day war.” Having moved to Armenia several years ago, Grigorian responded immediately to the news of the attack and spent four days covering it. Unable to reach the actual front lines, he explored the secondary front line and spent time with soldiers preparing to enter the conflict. His work is a nuanced look at war and foregrounds the fragility of the current-day Azeri-Armenia border and its keepers, a space where deadly conflict can flare at any moment.
Matthew Karanian’s obsession is the historic Armenian Highland, most of which is also known as Western Armenia. He has been visiting it since 1997 when he was invited to a wedding and decided to stay behind to visit his grandfather’s home in the Van region. Since then, he has returned countless times looking for vestiges of state-sponsored erasure of Western Armenian culture and his own ancestral connectivity. He found his ancestral homeland to be fading and tattered. But he also found and connected to people living on that land—Turkish, Kurdish, part-Armenian. His photographs look across a divide of cultures and time to consider the complex relationship Armenians have to place and past—a relationship compounded by continued Turkish state denial of the atrocities that took place on that land.
Scout Tufankjian is an award-winning photographer who travels the world on assignment, and regularly visits Armenia. She presents a series of images of war-displaced Armenian populations living in villages along the Artsakh-Azerbaijan border, the so-called “green zone/liberated territories/occupied territories.” This is an area of potentially shifting status, at high risk of conflict and military posturing and used as a game piece in both a local conflict and a global proxy war. The villagers are natives of Artsakh, as well as economic and patriotic migrants from Armenia proper and Syrian refugees. Tufankjian’s photograph of President Barak and Michelle Obama was recently selected as one of the 100 most important photographs of the past decade by Time magazine.
In the PassageWay, artist Silvina DerMegeurdichian, the artistic director of the Houshamadyan Project, displays documents and narratives that cross borders. Drawing from the vast archives of the project, she has selected passports, identity papers, and documents of passage that reveal arcs of movement across borders and territories—from the Ottoman Empire before 1915 through to the Armenian diaspora. Presented in an innovative and interactive installation, the public is encouraged to touch and open the documents on display. Narratives accompany the installation and tell the history of the documents and their holders as they crisscrossed borders looking for stability and peace. Houshamadyan Project’s mission is to reconstruct and preserve the memory of Armenian life in the Ottoman Empire through research. For more information, visit www.houshamadyan.org.
Programs are sponsored by the Glendale Library Foundation.
CONTACT: ReflectSpace email.
PARKING: Visitors to the Glendale’s Downtown Central Library receive three hours free parking from the MarketPlace parking structure across Harvard Street with validation at the InfoSpace service desk on the main floor.
The highly anticipated and reimagined Glendale Central Library reopened in 2017 and included ReflectSpace: a new exhibition space designed to explore and reflect on major human atrocities, genocides and civil rights violations. Immersive in conception, ReflectSpace is a hybrid space that is both experiential and informative, employing art, technology and interactive media to reflect on the past and present of Glendale’s communal fabric and interrogate current-day global human rights issues.
The approach is intimate. Emphasis is placed on the witness narrative: who saw, wrote, spoke or has been affected by genocide or human rights calamities. The narratives will unfold through multiple technologies--projection, interactive media and immersive sound design--and multiple discipline of thought and arts. ReflectSpace will also present installation art and engage with the archives, books and texts in the library in which it exists.
ReflectSpace is an inclusive exhibition space. First, it will explore the Armenian Genocide, presenting personal as well as reflective narratives from survivors and artwork from descendants. Also, in the coming months, it will present the fate of the Rwandan Tutsis and, later, the Holocaust, then subsequent genocides. With a focus on Glendale as well as an international perspective, ReflectSpace will also delve into contemporary issues like immigration, violence in society, Korean comfort women, interned Japanese, as well as the disappearance of Native Californians and the roots and routes of slavery in the US. And this is just the beginning.
ReflectSpace is an intimate experiential space for reflection and exploration. At times it will be immersive, at other times disorienting and yet at other times overwhelming. But it will always engage.
Further Reading: Read about the Genocide Memorial Collection at the Central Library.
January 31 - March 15, 2020 -- Access: A Century After Women’s Right to Vote
- Opening reception: Friday January 31, 2020,7-9 pm
- Panel Discussion: A diverse group of artists, educators, and writers will explore the question, Have women achieved empowerment and access to power with the right to vote?
- Artists in the exhibition include: Kim Abeles, April Bey, Joey Forsyte, Erika Rothenberg, and the Las Fotos Project
- Access is curated by guest curator Ani Ohanessian, and Ara and Anahid Oshagan
- Access is presented in partnership with the Glendale Commission on the Status of Women
The year 2020 marks the centennial milestone when women gained access to the political process with the right to vote in the United States. Despite the passage of the 19th amendment, women of color did not gain that right until much later and vast numbers of women remain disenfranchised and excluded from the political process. The latest exhibit at ReflectSpace gallery at the Glendale Central Library, Access: A Century After Women’s Right to Vote, examines the past 100 years of women’s rights through the work of several contemporary women artists, and considers women’s roles today and their access to positions of power.
Kim Abeles addresses gender issues head-on, using her body and an inter-generational sensibility to create new spaces of feminist discourse. Abeles’ work in Access includes self-portraits and short videos related to the 19th Amendment. She is a Los Angeles based interdisciplinary award winning artist-activist and her work has been exhibited in 22 countries. Ms. Abeles was a 2013 recipient of the prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship.
Artist and educator April Bey tackles issues of Black empowerment and feminism. Using oil paint, wax fabric, and epoxy resin, her bold and layered work challenges and redefines stereotypes about women and feminism and focuses on the resilience of women. For Access, she will be showing brand new work addressing the suffrage movement. A prolific artist, Ms. Bey is internationally exhibited and is a full time educator at Glendale Community College.
Filmmaker and artist Joey Forsyte is the founder and CEO of “A Band of Voters” (ABOV) which helps students and other marginalized citizens overcome systemic barriers to voting and access to their political power at the ballot box. Ms. Forsyte contributes a social engagement-based installation about voting to the Access exhibit.
Erika Rothenberg uses the seemingly innocuous format of greeting cards and various other forms to explore and examine social ills and political injustices of our time. Ms. Rothenberg describes her messaging as “passionately interested in exposing American hubris, corruption, privilege and prejudice in a humorous non-didactic way with an intersectional feminist edge.” Her work is exhibited in major museums and galleries throughout the United States. Rothenberg’s satirical greeting cards as well as a new interactive rendition of the Star Spangled Banner will be part of Access.
Las Fotos Project is a community-based nonprofit organization that inspires teenage girls through photography, mentorship, and self-expression. Teenage girls are equipped with professional cameras, instruction, and workshops to help develop lifelong skills through confidence building, leadership and advocacy skills. For Access, Las Fotos Project will contribute work from their “Migrant Mamas” project as well as Esta Soy Yo, a self-expression program for young Latina women that uses therapeutic photography methodologies to enable them to find their unique story-telling voices.
About The Glendale Commission on the Status of Women
The purpose of the City of Glendale Commission on the Status of Women is to advance social justice and equity and ensure equality of rights and opportunities for all women and girls in Glendale by building new and strengthening existing bridges between the City’s diverse groups, organizations, agencies and individuals; by increasing the level of knowledge in the community regarding women’s issues and the status of women in our community; by encouraging and promoting participation and by increasing visibility of women in all spheres of life in Glendale. To learn more about the Commission, visit the website www.glendaleca.gov/women.
November 16, 2019 - January 12, 2020 -- Fragmented Futures: Afghanistan 100 Years Later
Explore an unprecedented showcase of art, writing, film, and scholarship about Afghanistan's fragmented past and future featuring over a dozen Afghan-American artists and writers.
- Opening Reception: Saturday, November 16, 2019, 5 - 7 pm, featuring live musical performance and reading
- Film and Panel Discussion: Sunday, January 12, 2020, 4-6 pm, featuring Mariam Ghani’s What We Left Unfinished and Fazila Amiri’s “Unknown Artist"
What would the dust of Afghanistan sound like if it were music? How is a burqa transformed into canvas through oil paint? What stories do a pair of shoes recount in the aftermath of displacement? These questions are explored in an unprecedented showcase of art, writing, film, and scholarship entitled, Fragmented Futures: Afghanistan 100 Years Later, opening at ReflectSpace Gallery on November 16, 2019.
Co-sponsored by The Afghan American Artists & Writers Association, Fragmented Futures will run from November 16, 2019 through January 12, 2020, and is co-curated by Gazelle Samizay and Helena Zeweri of AAAWA and Ara & Anahid Oshagan.
The year 2019 marks the centennial of some of the first attempts to engineer a “modern Afghan state” following the third Anglo-Afghan War in 1919. Attempts by foreign powers to incorporate Afghanistan into the economic and political life of the international community had mixed results for the country and its people. Political upheaval has been a result but also the development of progressive agendas around gender equality, civic life, and the media. In the words of photographer Rafi Samizay, “The result of so many invasions and foreign occupations is a culture made of a patchwork of contradictory traits...Traces of the past remain in every citizen and in the physical environment. It is precisely these residual paradoxes that mirror the mixed historic legacy.” Using the centennial as a guiding theme, Fragmented Futures seeks to address the ongoing consequences of foreign intervention, which are key to understanding Afghanistan’s current struggles to be self-sufficient.
The exhibit expands the conversation beyond depictions of Afghanistan and its diaspora as either simply victims of imperial agendas or completely independent of them. Rather, Fragmented Futures sheds light on how people’s everyday aspirations were interrupted, transformed, and reborn in both the diaspora and an ever-changing Afghanistan. This is illustrated in Yusuf Misdaq’s installation, as “ghostly voices of youth from the past echo through in the form of spliced and affected spoken-word interviews.”
Several artists and writers have been invited to contribute to a zine created especially for the exhibit, bringing together art, short stories, essays, poetry, and scholarship. The zine serves as a unique creative artifact illustrating the vibrant public life and community building that takes place in the Afghan diaspora, while the exhibit as a whole critically engages with the ongoing legacies of empire and war in the Afghan community.
Artists and Writers
The artists in Fragmented Futures exhibition: Elyas Alavi, Fazila Amiri, Hangama Amiri, Farhad Azad, Sabrina Barekzai, Muheb Esmat, Shiraz Fazli, Zuhal Feraidon, Johanna-Maria Fritz, Mariam Ghani, Shamsia Hassani, Reza Hazare, Jim Huylebroek, Yusuf Misdaq, Aman Mojadidi, Sahar Muradi, Laimah Osman, Sara Rezaie, Gazelle Samizay, Rafi Samizay, and Samea Shanori.
Writers and artists in Fragmented Futures zine: Leeza Ahmady, Arash Azizzada, Mojib Ghaznawi, Mehdia Hassan, Brian Higbee, Seelai Karzai, Hanna Kherzai, Jamil Kochai, Omar Mizdaq, Deeva Momand, Neda Olomi, Mohammad Sabir Sabir, Susan Saleh, Malahat Zhobin, Sara Zhobin, and Wazina Zondon.
The Afghan American Artists & Writers Association is a North American-based Afghan women-led collective that aims to give artists and writers in the Afghan diaspora a platform to feature their work to a broad audience through community forums, exhibitions, creative workshops, and public commentaries. AAAWA seeks to amplify work that critically engages mainstream U.S. discourses around Afghanistan, where Afghan voices are either routinely ignored or reduced to cultural tropes.
Explore an unprecedented showcase of art, writing, film, and scholarship about Afghanistan's fragmented past and future featuring over a dozen Afghan-American artists and writers.
September 13 - November 8, 2019 -- TELL ME: Stories of Migration to Glendale
- Opening Reception: Friday, September 13, 7:00 p.m.
Glendale’s urban landscape and populace has changed dramatically over time. The region, inhabited by indigenous Kizh (also referred to as Tongva) people before the first wave of immigrants arrived, is now home to a diverse population from all over the world. When the city incorporated in 1906, the area boasted a population of about 13,000. Today, the population soars over 200,000 according to the last census.
A new installation at ReflectSpace ReflectSpace presents Tell Me: Stories of Migration to Glendale: an exhibit that reflects on the histories and experiences of movement into Glendale for generations and builds a multi-dimensional portrait of the city and its residents. Supported by a major grant from California Humanities, Tell Me gathers video, image and stories from a wide spectrum of Glendale communities to present a narrative—cohesive but also at times fractured—that details how we got here as a city. Contextualizing these stories, Tell Me’s curators have sourced the Central Library’s archives to tell a parallel Glendale story based on historic maps, photographs and other ephemera—some of which have not been seen for decades. In an attempt to create a portrait of the city itself, Tell Me also presents a somewhat experimental contemporary video project via the meanderings of the library arts and culture courier as he makes his rounds crisscrossing the city over several days. Glendale’s story is ongoing and Tell Me adds to the city’s narrative with interactivity: it engages the audience and creates a space for library patrons to write their own stories and become part of the exhibit itself.
As part of the Tell Me exhibit, the Glendale Central Library is collaborating with InsideOut Project, launched by world-renowned French artist JR: a global art project transforming messages of personal identity into works of art. The library staff has photographed dozens of Glendale residents and library patrons into a visual and communal story of our city. Intimate and informal, the portraits will be supersized and displayed all over the library, in windows, suspended in mid-air and on the ground at the library’s entrance.
Taken together, these contemporary and historical narratives, tell a story of transformation and community: much like the history of the city itself.
Tell Me: Stories of Migration to Glendale is the first step in the library’s newly launched effort to documents the stories and narratives of its residents. These videos and images will become part of a growing archive, soon to be available to the public, that tells and tracks Glendale’s contemporary history. Tell Me is curated by Ara and Anahid Oshagan.
July 12 - August 29 -- 1 in 3: Sexual Violence Pandemic
- Opening Reception: Friday, July 12, 7:00 p.m.
- Comfort Women Commemoration Day, Saturday, July 27, 5:00 - 8:00 p.m.
- Seminar: 1:00 - 4:00 p.m.
- Cultural program and commemoration: 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.
- Performance by artist Han Ho: 7:00 p.m.
- Against Our Will: Book Talk & Discussion, Thursday, August 8, 7:00 p.m.
Listen to respected scholar and author Vivien Fryd present her new book “Against Our Will” and discuss feminism in Art with artist Leslie Labowitz Starus.
One in three women in the world have experienced sexual violence during their lifetime. Nearly one in five women have been involved in a rape assault. Sexual violence affects millions of Americans, as every 92 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. This can happen in private and public spaces, during war and peace, by family members and strangers, young and old. Sexual violence is a human rights violation of pandemic proportions: a vicious disease impacting the health and reproductive abilities of all of humanity.
1 in 3: Sexual Violence Pandemic at ReflectSpace Gallery addresses this global violence with an international cast of artists from South Korea and the US. Headlined by a massive 23-foot-wide interior mural by Leslie Labowitz Starus, 1 in 3considers the historical sweep of this violence with works and performance addressing the Asian Comfort Women of WWII, the anti-sexual violence efforts of the 1970’s, and the current #metoo movement.
The exhibition runs from July 12 to September 1, 2019, with an opening reception on Friday, July 12, from 7:00 – 9:00 pm. 1 in 3 is curated by Ara & Anahid Oshagan, with guest curator Monica Hye Yoen Jun from S. Korea, and is done in collaboration with Glenn Ruga of Social Documentary Network. The exhibition is sponsored by the City of Glendale Library, Arts & Culture Department, the 8th Annual Commemoration of “COMFORT WOMAN DAY” in Glendale Organizing Committee, and the Korea-Glendale Sister City Association.
Artists in 1 in 3: Sexual Violence Pandemic include Leslie Labowitz Starus, along with Suzanne Lacy, Han Ho, Jungbae Seo, Seoung Woo Kim (aka Moogie), Ji-An Kwon (aka Solbi), Alyssa Meadows, and Lee Lee Nam.
- Leslie Labowitz Starus is a Los Angeles-based artist and entrepreneur best known for her public performance work in collaboration with Suzanne Lacy on violence against women in the 1970s and ‘80s. For 1 in 3, Starus displays a massive 23-foot-wide mural that is a reproduction of a photographic collage created before digitalization of two well-known performances from 1977: 1) In Mourning and In Rage, a ritual memorial for the 12 raped and murdered victims of the “Hillside Strangler,” and 2) Record Companies Drag Their Feet media event to boycott record companies for their use of violent and degrading images of women to sell records. The original mural is being exhibited at SFMOMA, part of Suzanne Lacy’s retrospective.
- Suzanne Lacy is an internationally recognized artist living in Los Angeles. Her early works, Three Weeks in May (that included performances by Labowitz) and In Mourning and In Rage (a collaboration with Labowitz) are models for social practice artworks that integrate activism, community organizing, and performance. Her productions now involve hundreds of people and use live performance, projections, and installations in New York, Spain, as well as in Ecuador and the UK. Her collaboration with Labowitz Starus is documented in the mural and on the archival website www.againstviolence.art.
- Han Ho is a visual artist and performer who works with the illusion of space, creating an atmosphere in his work through the movement of light and time. Working with two portraits of a comfort woman—one young, another much older—Ho casts a net across the whole timespan of recent Korean history and expresses a deep feeling of loss. Ho also brings his intimate and imaginative performance art to ReflectSpace.
- Jung Bae Seo employs a fictional character named “Kiki” to express complex internal emotions of women. Constructed as an oversized scroll, her work is figurative and narrative to tell a story through drawing, painting and text.
- Seoung Woo Kim (aka Moogie) is a photographer and installation artist. Sourced from recent portraits of comfort women in Korea, his work places them into contemporary contexts. His digital collage work embeds comfort women in the middle of busy urban streets beneath massive electronic news billboards, and his installation with light casts them into an otherworldly dimension.
- Ji-An Kwon (aka Solbi) is a Korean artist, musician, painter, TV broadcaster, performer and lead vocalist for K-POP group “Typhoon”. Her work wavers between painting and performance, and is marked by two colors: red (resurrection) and black (wound). She blends and mixes these colors and media to create a process and space for healing.
- Alyssa Meadows’ portrait series depicts every woman she personally knows who has been a victim of sexual violence. Photographed first anonymously, then for those who consent, with faces in light, her work speaks from the core of the #metoo movement and challenges us to know who the “1 in 3” women may be in our lives. Meadows’ work comes via Social Documentary Network, a documentary photography and visual storytelling platform, to explore global social justice and human rights themes.
- Lee Lee Nam re-interprets existing artworks by transforming them with moving digital visualization. A young woman’s portrait is slowly metamorphosed into an elderly one, bit by bit, via digital falling teardrops. The teardrops allude to a history of sadness and the universal status of women's rights.
April 19 - June 16 -- THRESHOLD: Armenian Passages
Threshold: Armenian Passages explores the idea of a threshold as a physical, emotional and historical passage and is a reflection on the migratory restlessness of the Armenian Diaspora. Thresholds happen at the beginning as well as ending of journeys: often ambiguous crossings that embody all the experiences before and after.
ReflectSpace Gallery commissioned three contemporary artists--Sophia Gasparian, Kaloust Guedel, Gegam Kacherian—to create new work and site-specific installations to reflect on this idea of threshold, specifically sourced and reflecting on their own personal experiences as global citizens and Armenians who share similar journeys. The Gallery is located inside the Glendale Downtown Central Library.
This exhibition is made possible with support from the Glendale Library Foundation.
- Opening Reception -- Friday, April 19, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
- Curatorial Talk -- Thursday, April 25, 6:00 p.m.
- Parallel Histories - Tour/Discussion -- Thursday, April 25, 7:00 p.m.
Artists and scholars drawn from two years of ReflectSpace exhibitions consider their interconnected histories of injustice. Sponsored by the City of Glendale, Week of Remembrance, Man’s Inhumanity to Man. Artists/scholars under consideration and/or confirmed include:
Slavery in America: Nicola Goode (Photographer/Installation Artist)
Asian comfort women & Colonization: Yong Soon Min (Artist/Professor at UC Irvine)
Armenian Genocide & Immigration: Alina Mnatsakanian (Artist)
Incarceration & Native American issues: Sheila Pinkel (Artist/Professor at Pomona College)
Moderated by Ara Oshagan
Discussion will be followed by a book signing of “One Person Died” art book by Alina Mnatsakanian
- Passages - Artists Reflect -- Thursday, May 23, 7:00 p.m., Auditorium
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Social identity, dislocation, human and woman’s rights are integral parts of Sophia Gasparian’s consciousness and artwork. Both intertwine in unexpected and surprising ways creating a narrative that is at once steeped in sociopolitical critique but also strangely childlike. She employs caricature, stencils, stickers, spray paint, and nontraditional media as if she is on the street, painting on walls. Gasparian’s journey started in Armenia and landed her in Los Angeles where her work has evolved to incorporate subtle but effective elements of her culture, as well as her immediate surroundings. For Threshold, Sophia will install a mixed-media mural that is semi auto-biographical while also providing a glimpse of the contemporary arc of Armenian history.
Kaloust Geudel is an artist, curator and progenitor of an art initiative called "excessivism" which is a direct critique of the excesses of Capitalism. His work takes many forms—painting, sculpture, installation, and public art—but always with a social and political undertow. Often he employs translucent material and vivid colors using vinyl as a surface: stretched, painted and extended as a sculptural form into space. Guedel’s work tends to be abstract which allows him to explore boundaries of all types: physical ones between materials like painting and sculpture or spiritual ones between ideas of being and becoming. Kaloust’s journey began in Cyprus and continues now in Los Angeles. His installation for Threshold will reflect on his multi-continent passage and exploration of borders.
One would be hard-pressed to classify Gegam Kacherian’s work. Hallucinogenic? Psychedelic? Dreamlike? His paintings are dynamic compositions that defy fixation. All is in flux and moving—what seems like a fixed element, like a person, a building or animal, will often morph into splotches of color or clouds or get lost into a vortex of paint-space-time. There is a certain liminal presence in Kacherian’s work, a here and not-here, elements in his paintings seem to cross hidden thresholds and either get lost completely or reappear elsewhere. This kind of in-betweeness is part of his journey as an artist and an Armenian. At the core of the work that Kacherian is producing for Threshold: a massive 3-canvas piece, nearly 12 feet in length.
ERASURE: Native American Genocide: A Legacy
- February 15, 2019 - April 14, 2019
- Opening Reception: Friday, February 15, 7:00 p.m.
- This exhibit presented work by indigenous artists aiming to reclaim and redefine Indian history using their own narratives, bringing erasure to light through brazen political imagery, subtle constructions, and work that upends ubiquitous Indian stereotypes.
Tuesday, March 19, 7:00 p.m. - Expressions of Modern Indigenous Lives
- Guest curator Pamela J. Peters, along with artist River Garza, explored themes of identity and image around the Indian experience in modern society.
Tuesday, March 26, 7:00 p.m. - Moving Forward: Ideas, Images & Policies
- This panel featured Native artists, writers and teachers exploring ways that they have worked to encourage new voices and new perceptions in order to open paths for future generations of Indians. Entertainment and light refreshments provided. Panelists included:
- Dina Gilio-Whitaker, (Colville Confederated Tribes) is a lecturer of American Indian Studies at California State University San Marcos, and a consultant and educator in environmental justice policy planning.
- Pamela J. Peters, guest curator of ERASURE. She is an indigenous multimedia filmmaker and photographer.
- Joely Proudfit, PhD, is chair and professor of American Indian Studies and director of the California Indian Culture and Sovereignty Center at California State University San Marcos
- Mishuana Goeman, Associate Professor, Gender Studies; Chair, American Indian Studies Interdepartmental Program and Associate Director, American Indian Studies Research Center
- Kyle Mays, author of Hip Hop Beats, Indigenous Rhymes: Modernity and Hip Hop in Indigenous North America [SUNY Press, 2018]
- Special music and dance performance by Tso Yanez
The legacy of the genocide of native populations by the U.S. government and early settlers “remains hidden in plain sight” according to UCLA Professor and Author Benjamin Madley. Madley is the first historian to uncover the full extent of the involvement of state and federal officials, and the taxpayer dollars that supported the indigenous genocide.
Erasure—Native American Genocide: A Legacy at ReflectSpace Gallery brings some of that history into focus. Through the work of Native artists, the exhibit presents work sourced from personal histories and internal/external explorations of Native American identity. The artists aim to bring erasure to light through brazen political imagery, subtle constructions and work that upends ubiquitous Indian stereotypes. They take diverse and bold approaches to reclaiming and redefining their history using their own narratives.
About the Artists
ReflectSpace artists in Erasure: Gerald Clarke, Mercedes Dorame, River Garza, Pamela J. Peters, and William Wilson.
Gerald Clarke is a member of the Cahuilla Band of Indians. He lives on the Cahuilla Indian reservation and his artwork reflects a deep connection to his community and land. In his work one can see an incessant and unsettled search for meaning: employing every and all media, including found objects and so-called “trash” Clarke forces the viewer to re-consider preconceived notions about American Indians.
Mercedes Dorame is likewise deeply connected to her native roots. She uses photography as a way to explore, re-imagine, and connect to her Gabrielino-Tongva tribal culture and bring visibility to contemporary indigenous experience. Much like the fluid and instinctual practices of her indigenous ancestors, Dorame merges and melds multiple artistic media and native materials to create unique installations.
River Garza is a self-taught mixed media artist telling a contemporary narrative of Native people. Raised in Gardena, his work is deeply affected by Los Angeles as an urban space and his tribal Tongva/Gabrielino community. These influences pull Garza’s work in opposite directions but also turn inward and enable him to strike a delicate balance: between dirt and concrete, past and future, peace and violence.
Pamela Peters is an L.A.-based Navajo multi-media photographer and filmmaker who upends well-worn Indian stereotypes. In her series titled “Real Ndnz Retake Hollywood,” Native people pose as actors and actresses evocative of the glamorous 1940s era Hollywood. Her work also addresses the “exile” of a whole generation of Indians from the reservation: an insidious and hidden history which is a real and continuing legacy of genocide of her Navajo nation.
William Wilson is a Navajo artist based in Santa Fe who confronts the way American culture is enamored with Native representations from 1907 to 1930 by photographer Edward S. Curtis. His work supplants Curtis’ “Settler” gaze with a contemporary vision of Native North America. Using a large format (8×10) wet plate collodion studio photography process, Wilson employs Curtis’ methodology but subverts the gaze to create unique and contemporary portraits of Native Americans.
PassageWay artists are Votan Henriquez, Randy Kemp, Douglas Miles, Felicia Montes, Kimberly Robertson, Marianne Sadowski. The PassageWay gallery will display a number of serigraphs on loan from our institutional partner, Self Help Graphics and Art in Los Angeles. These works enhance and expand the scope and depth of Erasure.
December 14, 2018 - February 10, 2019 -- Incarceration Nation
- Opening Reception: Friday, December 14, 7:00 p.m.
The U.S. has the largest prison population in the world and highest per-capita incarceration rate. Artists explore the economics and racism of the prison industrial complex.
- The Squires of San Quentin -- Film Screening & Panel Discussion led by the documentary's original camera operator, filmmaker John MacDonald: Thursday, January 17, 7:00 p.m.
S.Q.U.I.R.E.S. (San Quentin’s Utilization of Inmate Resources Experiences and Studies) is a youth mentoring program comprised of incarcerated men from diverse backgrounds who are enthusiastically engaged in developing meaningful change in the lives of youth. This Youth Diversion Program is uniquely designed for At-Risk Youth and has been in operation since 1964. The program is designed to establish communication, insight, awareness in at risk youths, and comprehension into the consequences of their poor choices. It is our hope that your agency will benefit from the S.Q.U.I.R.E.S. experience.
The statistics of the US prison system are staggering. While the US has 4.4% of the world’s population, we house 22% of the world’s prisoners. It is by far the highest of any industrialized nation in the world—5 times higher than Canada and Europe and 4 times higher than Mexico. On any given day almost 2.3 million people are held in over 6000 incarceration facilities across the US. That is 1 in every 100 adults. There are 6 million people on probation or parole and 70 million with criminal records.
For people of color, it is even worse. The rate of imprisonment for African Americans is 5 times higher than for whites1. It is predicted that 1 in 3 black male babies born in the US is will go to prison or jail.2
The cost of all this to taxpayers: nearly $80 billion per year. 3
Incarceration Nation: the US Prison Industrial Complex at ReflectSpace brings together works by contemporary artists, collaborations, archives and prisoner-made art to speak to these statistics in unexpected ways. Touching on issues as diverse as prison geography and prisoner-made portraits, letters and images from inside, art by the formerly incarcerated, resistance-art and virtual reality (VR) installation, the exhibit subverts normative behind-the-prison-bars imagery to bring a more nuanced and collaborative consideration of the cost of our massive and brutal Prison Industrial Complex.
Artists in Incarceration Nation: Josh Begley, Alyse Emdur, Ara Oshagan, Sheila Pinkel, Mark Strandquist, Jack Morris and David Williams. Also on display will be a virtual reality experience of incarceration produced in collaboration with teens in juvenile hall.
Incarceration Nation at ReflectSpace runs from December 14, 2018 to February 10, 2019. The opening reception will be from 7-9 pm on December 14, 2018. The exhibit is co-curated by Ara and Anahid Oshagan.
- A view into the geography of incarceration via satellite imagery, Josh Begley’s “Prison Map” is not a map. Begley’s work is a collection of satellite imagery of every incarceration facility in the United States, nearly 6000 of them (excluding just a handful of states). “Prison Map” is a bird’s eye-view into the sprawl and immensity of the prison system.
- Taking a much more intimate approach, Alyse Emdur collects photographs of prison inmates representing themselves in front visit room backdrops. Such backdrops, often painted by talented inmates, are used within the prisons as portrait studios. Emdur also photographs these backdrops.The work “explores this little known and largely physically inaccessible genre of painting and portraiture seen only by inmates, visitors, and prison employees,” says Emdur.
- Ara Oshagan, working with filmmaker Leslie Neale, presents collaborative portraits of incarcerated youth in the California prison system. Combining his photographs with the youth’s emotional and insightful thoughts in their own handwriting, the work stands between the inside and out and underscores the youth’s authentic voices.
- Artist Sheila Pinkel’s massive work presents the products of prison labor—a typically overlooked aspect of the prison system where prisoners are firefighters, make license plates as well as build various kinds of furniture for the government agencies.
- The works of formerly incarcerated artist Scott Morris and currently incarcerated artist David Williams, present a lucid and poignant voice of resistance from the inside: their work reaches back to Mayan and African artforms for inspiration and material. It is their identity, inherent in their work that resists a system of jumpsuits, gray walls, and numbers that dehumanize inmates at every juncture.
- Artist Mark Strandquist’s work stands at the intersection of art and social justice. He presents two projects in “Incarceration Nation.” Shot and produced by teens in juvenile hall, “Step Into My Cell” is a virtual reality experience that tells the story of youth incarceration in an immersive environment. Also, on display will be “People’s Reentry Think Tank”, a project developed by Stranquist and Courtney Bowles, that turn criminal records into pieces of art. Over 100 of these original artworks will be on display.
Incarceration Nation is indebted to the work of Pete Brook and his exhibit “Prison Obscura.”
Exhibition: October 5 - November 21, 2018
Opening Reception: Friday, October 12, 7:00 p.m., ReflectSpace - Downtown Central Library, 222 East Harvard Street, Glendale 91205
Wednesday, October 24, 7:00 p.m.- LGBTQI+ Panel – moderated by Joey Hernández, LA-LGBT Center
Thursday, November 8, 8:00 p.m. - Documenting the Queer "I" - Professor Broderick Fox, Occidental College – Film & Discussion. Dr. Fox will discuss the trajectory of feminist and queer performance & autobiography in American documentaries — from the Portapak video of the 1960’s to our present digital moment. Featuring clips from a range of practitioners who have used their own bodies and experiences to make the personal political in the advancement of queer identities. RSVP to Documenting the Queer "I" at Eventbrite.com.
Sunday, November 18, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. - Queer Pop-Up Café: BRIDGING CROSS-CULTURAL LGBTQ VOICES - Co-sponsored by GALAS Los Angeles. Moderated by Erik Adamian & Charlie Ruiz Vazquez. This moderated roundtable will bring together diverse queer groups and others to share stories, ideas and thoughts — with the goal to create a safe space to unveil the personal queer experience and to uncover common ground among the challenges faced by our respective communities. RSVP to Queer Pop-Up Cafe on Eventbrite. For more information email ReflectSpace.
- Download the event flyer for Body Politics.
In alignment with National Coming Out Day and Transgender Awareness Month, Glendale’s Library, Arts and Culture Department will present Body Politics, a groundbreaking exhibition in its ReflectSpace Gallery and the PassageWay. The cutting-edge exhibit will feature contemporary visual art and archival selections that trace how the body, in its individual and collective forms, serves as a catalyst, canvas and symbol for political action and expression in LGBTQI+ communities. Body Politics is curated by Anahid Yahjian and Ara & Anahid Oshagan.
"Body Politics foregrounds the power and humanity of queer bodies in Glendale,” said guest curator Anahid Yahjian, “at a time when marginalized voices around the world are finally being heard in the mainstream."
The exhibition runs from October 5 to November 21, 2018, with the opening reception slated for Friday, October 12 at 7:00 p.m., to honor National Coming Out Day.
About the Exhibition
The exhibition is framed by the painstakingly documented—and still ongoing—history of LGBTQI+ civil rights struggles and contemporary visual art by sixteen American and international artists of diverse backgrounds: Enrique Castrejon, Grey James, Nicole Kelly and Phoebe Unter (Bitchface), Devon Shimoyama, Annie Tritt and James Wentzy are the eight artists showing in the ReflectSpace Gallery. Also included is an artist who works with the queer community in Armenia but wishes to be anonymous to protect him/herself and family.
The PassageWay will showcase the history of LGBTQI+ civil rights activism compiled by the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at the USC Libraries, as well as limited edition contemporary serigraphs by queer Los Angeles artists contributed by Self Help Graphics. These artists are: Ruben Esparza, Antonio Ibanez y Carlos Bueno, Rigo Maldonado, Miguel Angel Reyes, Gabriel Garcia Roman, Shizu Saldamando, and Hector Silva.
The selected works span painting, collage, multimedia, photography, serigraph and documentary film. According to ReflectSpace co-curator Ara Oshagan, “The exhibit constructs a narrative about the role queer bodies play in shaping personal and political attitudes and LGBTQI+ identity.”
- Supporting programs include a presentation by Professor Broderick Fox from Occidental College, who will offer a lecture, with clips, on queer and feminist performativity and autobiography in documentary, from 1968-present. This will be held in the Library Auditorium on November 8, beginning at 8:00 p.m. Learn More about Professor Fox.
- An LGBTQI+ panel presentation will be held on Wednesday, Oct 24, at 7:00 p.m., and will be moderated by Joey Hernández of the Los Angeles LGBT Center.
- In addition, a Queer Pop- Up Café will be hosted inside the ReflectSpace Gallery. This intimate round-table will offer an opportunity for queer community members to share their stories privately in a community setting. The event will be moderated and is invitation-only. * Please email Ara Oshagan for additional information.
#BodyPolitics #ReflectSpace #LGBTQ #resistanceart #art #LGBTQI+ #artists #work
#MyGlendaleLAC ⦁ @myglendaleLAC ⦁ #ReflectSpace
September 15 - 30, 2018
Elevate: Homenetmen Centennial Exhibition
Opening Reception: Sunday, September 16, 2:00 p.m.
Celebrating the Homenetmen Centennial of community building through scouts and athletics and its role in the revival of a nation.
Homenetmen Western U.S.A. in partnership with Glendale Library, Arts & Culture will host an exhibit celebrating its centennial at the Downtown Central Library’s ReflectSpace and PassageWay galleries, entitled Elevate: Homenetmen Centennial Exhibition. The multi‐disciplinary exhibition, co‐sponsored by the City of Glendale Arts & Culture, will run from September 16 through September 30, 2018. It will feature contemporary art, as well as an array of photographs and unique artifacts from the last 100 years that showcase the riveting past and present contributions of the organization to the community, and in particular the youth, through athletics, scouting, and leadership training. The “Elevate” exhibition committee is comprised of Ara and Anahid Oshagan, Mher Tavidian, Vahagn Thomasian, and Harry Vorperian.
Homenetmen is a pan‐Armenian diaspora organization devoted to leadership, sports and scouting, with the motto "Elevate Yourself and Elevate Others with You.”
“Over the years, Homenetmen Western Region has invested so much in our youth and our overall community members across the world, instilling in them qualities of leadership, sportsmanship, respect, and a willingness to help others. We have ingrained in them the principle that it is important to elevate others, along with one’s own self, and the importance of valuing and preserving their Armenian heritage,” said Manuel Marselian, Chair of Homenetmen Western USA. “We would like to thank Glendale Library, Arts & Culture for providing us with the space to celebrate our youth, our accomplishments, and our continued service,” he added.
About the Exhibition
Based on a theme of elevating the community, the committee has commissioned several local artists to create work exclusively for Homenetmen’s centennial anniversary. Created by Thomasian, one of the featured items includes a high‐tech, holographic projection of Homenetmen’s global presence. Photographer Levon Parian will provide a new portrait series of Homenetmen members, while Vorperian and Thomasian collaborated on a sculpture.
“Its message incorporates the idea of ‘elevate’ in multiple ways: emotional, physical and psychological, and not just for the individual, but also the nation as a whole,” Vorperian said. “My work is part art and part gratitude for this amazing organization.”
Thomasian said he is excited to share the organization’s work over the past century through the beautiful art at the exhibition. “It is critical for us to demonstrate what dedication and service to our youth can accomplish,” he said.
Complementing the art in ReflectSpace, a number of historical artifacts will be on display throughout the library, including a rare, complete Homenetmen scouting uniform from 1929, loaned by Serop Beylerian.
In the PassageWay, historical posters developed by Hayk Demoyan, chair of the Armenian Genocide Museum‐Institute, will highlight Homenetmen’s origins and its critical role in reviving both the Armenian nation and identity after the Genocide.
Do The Right Thing: Comfort Women Resist
- July 28 - September 11, 2018
- Opening Reception: Saturday, July 28, 5:00 p.m.
- Contemporary artists explore narratives of survival of WWII Asian sex slaves and resistance to the denial of their histories.
The City of Glendale and the Library, Arts & Culture Department, in collaboration with Glendale Sister Cities - Boeun-gun, Goeseong, Gimpo, South Korea –presents Do the Right Thing: Comfort Women Resist, an exhibition presenting the work of nine international artists and documentarians focusing on the narratives around World War II Comfort Women, reflecting on the past and current political and social context of those women sexually enslaved by the Japanese.
The exhibition takes place in the ReflectSpace and PassageWay galleries at Downtown Central Library and runs from July 28 to September 11, 2018 with the opening reception on Saturday, July 28, at 5 pm.
About Comfort Women
Prior to and during World War II, more than 200,000 women from Korea, Taiwan, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and East Timor were coerced or forcibly transported to various sites – euphemistically termed “comfort stations” -- across Japanese occupied territories and repeatedly raped, tortured and brutalized. Most women were under the age of 20, some as young as 12. Many young women were murdered or committed suicide during their enslavement.
“Comfort women” is a Japanese euphemism coined by the military to soften the scope and viciousness of their system of slavery. The Comfort Women Resist exhibit resists the inherent neutrality of this term and Japan’s continued denial of their role in this atrocity. The art on display challenges and subverts accepted historical narratives and draws attention to current-day efforts of reflection and resistance.
About the Exhibition
Co-curated by Ara & Anahid Oshagan and Monica Hye Yeon Jun, the 2018 exhibition highlights the work of nine artists from different cultures acquiring stories directly from still-living comfort women and displaying artworks that shows their artistic interpretation through their individual lens.
Armenian-American artist Ara Oshagan, who has worked with generational trauma following the Armenian Genocide and other historical events, is planning to exhibit the installation artwork, “Reconstruct(ed): Comfort Station,” which displays emotional faces of comfort women alongside resistance activists, all within a large-scale conceptual comfort station model. “My goal is to craft an immersive experience for visitors,” Oshagan said. He recently visited South Korea to document the women and related activism.
Artists Lee + Park draw data about comfort women from the worldwide web to create an ever changing large-scale digital and global portrait; Kwon traces the journey of comfort women and artist Kang with an interactive map; Jan Banning’s intense portraits of Indonesian comfort women casts a light on the wider Asian context; and Bontaro, a Japanese documentarian, connects to the issue through shared stories.
July 11 - 22, 2018
Opening Reception & Artist Talk: Friday, July 13, 7:00 p.m.
The City of Glendale and the Library, Arts & Culture Department, in collaboration with the Yerevan Municipality Tourism Department, will host a special 10-day exhibition at Downtown Central Library’s ReflectSpace and PassageWay galleries. YEREVAN2800, a celebration of the 2800th anniversary of Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, will run from July 11 - 22, 2018, with an opening reception on Friday, July 13, from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. Entrance to the reception is from Louise Street only.
Dating back to the 8th century BC, Yerevan is one of the world’s oldest and continuously inhabited cities. YEREVAN2800 will showcase the city’s undeniable mark on history and its dynamic vitality with contemporary art, film and photography as well as historic images illustrating its place in the world as a thriving and vibrant city of the 21st century.
Photographs by notable photographers such as Vruyr, J. Dadyants, and H. Tarverdyants depict Yerevan from the 19th century to the present day. The historic and Soviet-era photographs are preserved in the collection of the Yerevan History Museum and reprinted for this special exhibition. Photographs highlighting Armenia’s recent historic Velvet Revolution taken in the streets of Yerevan will also be on view. Artists in YEREVAN2800 include Sev Black, Sophia Gasparian, Narine Isajanyan, Edmond Keshishyan, Ashot Khudaverdyan, Karen Mirzoyan and Anahid Yahjian/Emily Mkrtichian. #visitYerevan #yerevan2800
ACCUSED OF NO CRIME: Japanese Incarceration In America
May 29 - July 8, 2018 - Download the events flyer
Opening Reception, Friday, June 1, 6:30 p.m.
Go For Broke Spirit, Sunday, June 3, 2:00 p.m.
Documentary films: Citizen Tanouye & Unknown Warriors of WWII, Saturday, June 23, 2:00 p.m.
Closing Reception, Sunday July 8, 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. - Film Screenings w/ Panel Discussion
"We Were Americans" is a short documentary about the Glendale-based Yamada family who were imprisoned at the Colorado River Relocation Center in Poston Arizona, during WWII simply for being Japanese. Glenn Yamada was born in Poston and the film traces his family story before, during and after incarceration, focusing specifically on the disruption of the imprisonment on later generations. Commissioned by ReflectSpace Gallery, directed, produced and edited by filmmaker Avo Kambourian. Filmed on location at the ruins of the Poston incarceration center in Arizona and the Los Angeles area.
My Shadow Is A Word Writing Itself Across Time -- video art by Gazelle Samizay. Using poetry and sweeping landscape imagery, Gazelle Samizay draws connections between her experience as a Muslim-American and wrongfully imprisoned Japanese-Americans during WW II.
ReflectSpace Gallery at Downtown Central exhibit Accused of No Crime: Japanese Incarceration in America examines a massive civil rights violation committed in our own backyard by our own government: the “crimeless” imprisonment by the US government of 120,000 men, women, and children of Japanese ancestry during WWII. The artists in Accused of No Crime reflect on the historical context of the incarceration and consider its impact today. The exhibit weaves a deeply personal narrative of this dark history through art, archive, installation, and documentary film to highlight the stories of interned families and showcase artists who are descendants.
Artists in exhibition include Masumi Hayashi, Mona Higuchi, Paul Kitagaki, Kevin Miyazaki. The exhibit also includes archival images by Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange and Clem Albers in addition to a ReflectSpace-commissioned documentary by filmmaker Avo Kambourian about the Glendale-based Yamada family who were incarcerated at Poston, Arizona.
Accused of No Crime: Japanese Incarceration in America in ReflectSpace Gallery and the PassageWay opens on May 29 and runs until July 8, 2018. The opening reception is on Friday June 1, from 6:30 – 8:30 pm. Accused of No Crime is co-curated by Ara and Anahid Oshagan. Accused of No Crime is made possible by a grant from the California State Library’s Civil Liberties Public Education Program.
Go For Broke Spirit
Sunday, June 3, 2:00 p.m., Downtown Central Library Auditorium
Photographer Shane Sato and coauthor Robert Horsting discuss their book highlighting 81 Japanese American World War II veterans. <Read More>
Documentary films: Citizen Tanouye & Unknown Warriors of WWII, Saturday, June 23, 2:00 p.m.
Citizen Tanouye uniquely brings history to life for eight ethnically diverse Torrance, CA high school students through their research of THS alumnus Tech Sgt. Ted T. Tanouye, and the impact the war had on their city, while drawing attention to the civil rights abuses of WWII era America. While serving as a member of the renowned 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Tanouye's family was incarcerated in “Relocation Camps” at Jerome and later Rohwer AR. Ted's action in battle would eventually earn him the Medal of Honor.
During their investigation of school yearbooks, newspapers, internet sites and insightful conversations with WWII veterans, the relevance of history is brought into focus as the students express their personal observations, draw parallels to their own lives and realize the affect that this experience will have on their future.
See Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_uO1Ai_RFM
Also to be screened will be: Unknown Warriors of WWII.
How do you tell a story that is beyond description? One that begins with mankind at its very worst, and unfolds to reveal a select few who rose up and showed mankind at its very best? That was the challenge presented to Emmy Award-winning Los Angeles news anchor David Ono, cameraman/editor Jeff MacIntyre and co-producer Robert Horsting. The answer was to profile the remarkable courage and kindness of the infantrymen who served in the all-Japanese American 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the Military Intelligence Service during WWII, through the stories of the grateful people they liberated or rescued. This visual “Thank you” card is sure to touch your heart.
These films will be followed by a Q&A with Mitchel T. Maki, Ph.D, CEO and President of the Go For Broke National Education Center, Oral Historian and filmmaker Robert Horsting (a producer of both films, who will be joined by some of the WWII veterans who lived this history.
"Unknown Warriors of World War II" is available for purchase on GFBNEC's website at http://www.goforbroke.org/support/store/products/unknown_warriors_dvd.php.
NONLINEAR HISTORIES -- Transgenerational Memory of Trauma
March 17 – May 6, 2018
TELLING OUR STORIES: A Traditional Armenian Kinetson Book Celebration with author Laura Michael for her new book, Under The Light Of The Moon.
Sunday, May 6, 12:00 - 2:00 p.m.
Enjoy a chapter reading and book signing by author Laura Michael, plus a Kinetson "book blessing" celebration for her new book, Under The Light Of The Moon. This is the closing event for the ReflectSpace exhibition, Nonlinear Histories: Transgenerational Memory of Trauma.
About Under The Light Of The Moon: After the Armenian Genocide has ended, ten year old Lucine, finds herself in an orphanage in Athens, Greece. There are thousands of other children like her, wondering when and if they’ll ever see their families again. Meanwhile in America, child actor Jackie Coogan is determined to help these children.
Based on the real experiences of the orphans of the Armenian Genocide, including the author’s great grandparents, and the heroic work of Near East Relief, Under the Light of the Moon is a story of hope and survival during a dark time in world history. The true events of young Jackie’s volunteer work remind us that anyone—no matter how young or old—can make a difference in the world.
Sponsored by the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region and the Library, Arts & Culture Department.
The Texture of Memory Workshop
Community tapestry and story-telling project by artist Silvina Der Meguerditchian
March 13, 14, & 15, 2:00 - 6:00 p.m.
@ MakerSpace at Downtown Central Library
The workshop is free but pre-registration is required. Pre-registration time slots: 2 pm and 4 pm, everyday. Register as many times as you like for either time slot. Workshop will take place at the MakerSpace at Downtown Central Library. First come, first served. Space is limited.
Register for any of the 2-hour time slots at a time at Eventbrite.com (or search Eventbrite.com for Texture Memory Glendale).
Join us for a 3 day art-making, crocheting and story-telling workshop led by Berlin-based artist Silvina Der Meguerditchian. Participants will weave a collective tapestry composed of their family photographs, objects and memories. The resulting carpet of this community project will be featured in the upcoming exhibition “Nonlinear Histories: Transgenerational Memory of trauma” set to open on Saturday March 17.
Participants are asked to bring old family photographs, memoirs, religious objects, household items of all kinds (everything from dowry items to cooking utensils), and other material inherited from your ancestors. All photographs and objects will be digitized (photographed or scanned), printed and then laminated. Participants then will work together to weave a collective carpet with these images and wool while sharing their family memories and histories. By sharing your family archives and family micro-histories, you are helping to reconstruct the life of all our ancestors.
All items will be returned immediately after digitization.
NONLINEAR HISTORIES -- Transgenerational Memory of Trauma
March 17 – May 6, 2018
- Contemporary Artists: Jean Marie Casbarian, Eileen Claveloux, Didem Erk, Hrayr Eulmessekian, Silvina Der Meguerditchian, Hrair Sarkissian and Harry Vorperian
- Archival Collection: Armen Marsoobian
- Co-curated by Ara & Anahid Oshagan and Isin Onol
- Opening: Saturday March 17, 2018
Reception from 5:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Lecture by Dr. Marianne Hirsch at 7:00 p.m.
ReflectSpace Gallery at Downtown Central Library in Glendale presents “Nonlinear Histories: Transgenerational Memory of Trauma," an exhibition that explores the impossible yet inevitable challenges of addressing the politics of memory of the Armenian Genocide by succeeding second, third and fourth generations. Revolving around the idea of postmemory, a concept developed by renowned literary and cultural critic Marianne Hirsch, Nonlinear Histories probes memories and narratives transmitted in the wake of trauma: the process of the individual and collective ownership of trauma, and the collision of personal, national and cultural memories.
Dr. Marianne Hirsch will present a lecture at the exhibition opening entitled “Forty Days and More: Connective Histories.” Marianne Hirsch is a William Peterfield Trent Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and Professor in the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality. Her critically acclaimed work combines feminist theory with memory studies, particularly the transmission of memories of violence across generations.
Simultaneously with the Nonlinear Histories, the PassageWay at Downtown Central is hosting an archival exhibition of family memoirs and historic photographs: Prosperity, Loss, and Survival: A Photographic Journey from the Dildilian Family Archive.
The exhibitions will be preceded by a week-long workshop, Texture of Memory, at the library by Berlin-based artist Silvina Der Meguerditchian in which Glendale community members will weave a collective tapestry composed of their family photographs and memories. The result of this workshop will be included in Nonlinear Histories.
Nonlinear Histories in ReflectSpace Gallery and Prosperity, Loss, and Survival in the PassageWay open on March 17 and run until May 6, 2018. The opening reception is on Saturday March 17 from 5 – 8 pm with a lecture by Dr. Marianne Hirsch in the library auditorium at 7 pm. Artists in exhibition include Jean Marie Casbarian, Eileen Claveloux, Didem Erk, Hrayr Eulmessekian, Silvina Der Meguerditchian, Hrair Sarkissian and Harry Vorperian. Nonlinear Histories is co-curated by Ara and Anahid Oshagan and Isin Onol. Prosperity, Loss, and Survival is co-curated by Armen Marsoobian and Isin Onol.
Establishing a tenuous but indelible link with an inherited past, Silvina Der Meguerditchian uses hybrid archival material and personal intervention to recall the Armenian Genocide as mediated through her grandmother. For Motivated Memories, Silvina re-configures and re-imagines her installation, “Treasures”, that was displayed as part of “Armenity” exhibition in the Armenian pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2015 that won the “Golden Lion” prize.
Photographer and artist Hrair Sarkissian, now in London, displays images from his series “Unexposed” which were also part of “Armenity” at the Venice Biennale. The series deals with descendants of Armenians who converted to Islam to escape the Genocide. Today, having rediscovered their roots, and reconverted to Christianity, they are forced to conceal their newfound Armenian identity. Not accepted by Turkish society and not fully part of the Armenian community, they remain invisible.
New York based artist Jean Marie Casbarian sources the sparse archive of her grandmother, Margaret Jurigian, in an attempt to “re-member” and imagine a life that was never fully realized. Working with little more than a few photographs and sketchy anecdotes passed down from generations, Casbarian, writing under the guise of Margaret, narrates Margaret’s life through real and fictitious journal entries, images, texts and public archives. The resulting juxtaposed text and image cross the boundaries of truth and daydream.
Sourcing the needlework of his grandmother Lily, Los Angeles artist, Harry Vorperian brings “Lily’s Garden” to multiple spaces in the Downtown Library. Composed of concrete and steel oversized flowers, the public art installation evokes ancient forms from the Armenian region of Marash in a contemporary context. Lily Vorperian is an NEA Lifetime Achievement Honoree.
Hrayr Eulmessekian, Los Angeles-based conceptual artist, will present work from his series on “Deep Background” which are explorations into the concept of background where time recedes in space, film exists on the edge of movement, relocating the viewer from recollecting to witnessing.
Istanbul-based artist Didem Erk addresses her relationship to trauma, memory and archive as a process that can never come to completion. She presents her works as archeological objects under glass that cannot be accessed: official and oral history are intertwined and inseparable.
Eileen Claveloux’s “The Naming” is a personal film reflecting on her family and the direct and indirect impact of the trauma of the Armenian Genocide on her generation.
Prosperity, Loss, and Survival: A Photographic Journey from the Dildilian Family Archive, in the PassageWay, is an exhibition that employs family memoirs and historic photographs from the Dildilians, a family of renowned Armenian photographers. This unique photographic collection was gathered by the Dildilian family in Ottoman Turkey over a 34 year period and miraculously made the passage through the Genocide intact: there are well over 1000 photographs and glass negatives in the collection that testify to the cultural, educational and commercial achievements of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.
One week later, on March 24, at 6:00 p.m., the extensive archival exhibition of the Dildilian Family, Continuity and Rupture - An Armenian Family Odyssey, will open to the public at the Brand Library and Art Center. Continuity and Rupture is co-curated by Armen Marsoobian and by Isin Onol. <Read More>
On Thursday, April 12, 7:30 p.m., Armen Marsoobian will discuss his book, The Presence of an Absence: The Role of Photography in the Lives of Ottoman Armenians at the Downtown Central Library. <Read More>
in | visible -- Negotiating the US-Mexico Border
ReflectSpace Gallery -- January 27 – March 14, 2018
ReflectSpace at Downtown Central Library in Glendale presents “in|visible: Negotiating the US-Mexico Border,” an exhibition of visual, technological and performative narratives that reflect on the permanence and permeability of the US-Mexico border. Separating the gallery in half by a site-specific border wall and through the work of artists, public art and virtual reality, “in|visible” aims to bring attention to the border as not only a physical, familial and cultural impediment but also as the fault line of interdependence of two countries. Artists Dulce Pinzón, Claudia Cano, Teresita de la Torre, Tom Kiefer and Joan Zierhut address the visible and invisible impact of the border on lives of those on either side.
In | visible
Exhibition: January 27 until March 14, 2018.
- Opening reception is on Sunday, January 28, from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. with a talk by artist Teresita de la Torre at 5:00 p.m. “in|visible” is co-curated by Ara and Anahid Oshagan.
- Author talk, Thursday, February 8, 7:00 p.m., Downtown Central Library Auditorium
LAUREN MARKHAM - The Far Away Brothers: Two Young Migrants and the Making of An American Life <Read More>
- Author talk, Wednesday, February 21, 7:00 p.m., Downtown Central Library Auditorium
T.C. BOYLE - The Tortilla Curtain, the 2018 One Book / One Glendale Reading Event <Read More>
- Author Talk, Wednesday, February 28, 7:00 p.m., Downtown Central Library Auditorium
TIM DEROCHE & DANIEL GONZALEZ - The Ballad of Huck & Miguel <Read More>
- Closing reception, Tuesday, March 13, 7:30 p.m., ReflectSpace
Meet artist TOM KIEFER <Read More>
Dulce Pinzón’s photographs from her series, “The Real Story of the Superheroes," is an homage to invisible immigrant Mexican workers. To make them visible, Pinzón ask immigrant laborers to dress as superheroes and photographs them in their work environment: empowering the least visible to temporarily become the most prominent and visible. The series also highlights the mutual dependence of the US and Mexican economies. All of Pinzon’s subjects send money earned in the US to their families in Mexico supporting that economy. While, conversely, the US economy depends on their labor to function.
Claudia Cano’s performance underscores and complements Pinzon’s invisible immigrant worker series. Cano’s alter ego, Spanish speaking Rosa Hernandez (La Chacha), performs as a cleaning woman in traditional pink and white uniform. Photographs of Rosa from previous performances are part of the exhibition in ReflectSpace. The work emphasizes the invisibility of the immigrant laborer and the parallel process of making art that is invisible.
In Tom Kiefer’s work, the undocumented immigrant is physically absent: only remnants of a journey across the border exist. Kiefer’s project, “El Sueño Americano - The American Dream,” consists of photographs of thousands of non-essential, potentially lethal objects confiscated by US Customs from undocumented immigrants attempting to cross the US-Mexico border. Kiefer, a fine art photographer, worked at a US Customs and Border Patrol processing facility in Southwest Arizona from July 2003 to August 2014 and collected these objects: soaps, combs, spoons, wallets, shoes, gloves, toothpaste, shoelaces, and even condoms. Kiefer’s work gathers the remnants of dreams and speaks to a certain permeability of border walls: while thousands of these objects were confiscated, even more made it across. Kiefer’s work is on display in ReflectSpace as well as the PassageWay gallery.
Teresita de la Torre and her work embody the undocumented immigrant crossing a silent threshold. While working along the border to assist immigrants, Torre came across a discarded shirt. Her project, “365 days in an immigrant’s shirt,” collects photographs, writings and sketches that document and contemplate her own journey of wearing this shirt every day for a full year. Torre’s site-specific installation in ReflectSpace includes drawing on walls and objects from the border.
Addressing the visibility and invisibility of the border wall directly is an imposing site-specific installation of an adaptation of the San Diego–Tijuana border wall that will split the ReflectSpace gallery in half. The installation acts as a massive impediment but it is also see-through. The transparency of the wall subverts its role as obstruction and enables the audience to see the artwork beyond it.
ReflectSpace’s border wall installation forces the audience to negotiate a singular crossing point to traverse the gallery. At this crossing, the actual US-Mexico border is made visible via 3D interactive virtual reality glasses. Drawing from the USA Today special on-line report called “The Wall,” which features virtual reality, videos, stories and images of the US-Mexico border, “in|visible” enables the audience to experience the border firsthand with the latest immersive technology.
“in|visible” further examines the border through public art. Through a collaborative project between Joan Zierhut Studios and Glendale Unified School District students, the exhibit spills out of ReflectSpace Gallery and into other parts of the library. Highlighting the infamous Caltrans “Caution” sign that featured the silhouettes of a running immigrant family, the project creates multiple “tape art sculptures” of this iconic sign placed in strategic spots throughout the library. The sculptures highlight the humanization and de-humanization of this sign that has entered the popular imagination.
i am: Narratives of the Holocaust
December 8, 2017 - January 17, 2018
ReflectSpace at Downtown Central Library in Glendale and the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust (LAMOTH) present “i am: Narratives of the Holocaust” an exhibition that brings together contemporary photography and rare artifacts/archives to examine various narratives of survival and identity created during the Holocaust and later. “i am” explores the core genocidal process of de-humanization and presents works from an inclusive and deeply personal perspective that affirm as well as disrupt traditional narratives of inheritance of historical violence.
“i am: Narratives of the Holocaust” runs from December 8, 2017 to January 17, 2018.
ReflectSpace - Saturday, December 9, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Artist Talk by Jeffrey Wolin at 7:00 p.m.
Forget Us Not
Downtown Central Auditorium, Wednesday, January 10, 7:00 p.m.
Heather E. Connell’s documentary film (2013; 71 min) looks at the persecution and subsequent death of the 5 million non Jewish victims of the World War II Holocaust and the lives of those who survived. Discussion with Ms. Connell follows the screening. Read More>
Hitler In Los Angeles: How Jews Foiled Nazi Plots Against Hollywood and America
Downtown Central Library, Wednesday, January 17
- Author Reception in ReflectSpace, 6 pm
- Lecture in the Auditorium, 7 pm
Dr. Steven J. Ross discusses the chilling, little-known story of a Jewish spy ring in Los Angeles that operated from August 1933 to the end of World War II, fighting the rise of Nazism in the United States. Hitler in Los Angeles is currently # 5 on the Los Angeles Times Bestseller List! Sponsored by the Friends of the Glendale Public Library. Read More>
Downtown Central Auditorium - Sunday, January 21, 3:00 p.m.
Break bread with Armenian and Jewish breads! Evoking the Hebrew phrase "L'Dor V'Dor," or "from generation to generation, "L'Dough V'Dough" invites participants to braid and bake challah. While kneading the dough, participants share, remember and bond--one generation to the next--in an environment conducive to asking questions and encouraging dialogue.
L’Dough V’Dough is the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust's unique and meaningful program that connects students, young adults, and families with Holocaust Survivors for intergenerational dialogue, exploration of personal narratives, and learning about Jewish life before, during and after the Holocaust. Learn more about the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust's L'Dough V'Dough program.
“i am” is co-curated by Ara and Anahid Oshagan of ReflectSpace and Eric Hall of LAMOTH.
“i am” explores notions of identity and identification—person, place, time—and de-humanization during the Holocaust through a rare collection of artifacts from the LAMOTH. Identification armbands, numbers and symbols worn by prisoners of concentration camps and identity cards (often stamped with a letter for further classification) from a multitude of European countries are on display. Their owners range from a broad cross-section of groups persecuted by the Nazis: Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Romani gypsies, political prisoners, habitual offenders, and members of the LGBTQ community.
An extraordinary instance of identification—through portraiture—was made by 21-year old artist Dina Babbitt. In 1944, while imprisoned at Auschwitz, she was recruited by the infamous Nazi doctor Josef Mengele to draw portraits of Romani inmates subject to horrific medical experimentations. “i am” presents four of her Romani watercolors that are simultaneously portraitures of identification and an intervention to enable her own survival. The Auschwitz museum retains her original work, we present the only available reproductions donated to the LAMOTH by the artist. The subdued color and unsettling beauty of these portraits run counter to all intuitions of that dark time.
Similarly against-the-grain and disruptive of the traditional narratives of sites of trauma are contemporary artist James Friedman’s vivid color photographs of Holocaust sites from his series “12 Nazi Concentration Camps.” Friedman rejects the tendency to picture these sites of depravity, torture and murder in “timeless” and somber black and white; instead his work explodes with color and documents the often surprising juxtapositions of the mundane activities at these sites in the 1980s with the historical memory of the horrors that occurred there. Including himself in many of his images, Friedman’s work places the second and third generation witness at the very center of the spaces occupied by the Holocaust and forces viewers to reconsider their perceptions of these sites of unimaginable violence.
Photographic artist Jeffrey Wolin is also a post-Holocaust witness. Sourced from a deeply personal space, his series “Written in Memory” merges photography with testimony and creates a different kind of identity of the survivor. He makes portraits of Holocaust survivors and writes their testimony directly onto the photographs. Here the visual and textual narratives are intractably intertwined and present a world of witnessing where the present-day context is wiped out and the narrative/testimony takes its place. The work alludes to the core identity of survivors: their inability to imagine themselves outside their survival.
The last part of the “i am” is an impossible remnant and narrative from the Holocaust. Selma and Chaim met at Sobibor camp. They did not speak each other’s language but fell in love. During the Sobibor camp uprising, they somehow found each other and escaped. They went into hiding for two years and during that time, they wrote a diary. Of the 160,000 prisoners at Sobibor, only a few hundred survived and none but Selma and Chaim kept a diary. Their diary, every single page, in its actual size and in totality, is reproduced and presented in “i am” as an installation: a statement of “presence” and a narrative of survival. Selma and Chaim’s diary digital scans are courtesy of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Expanding on the themes of “i am”, reproductions of Erich Lichtblau-Lesky’s A Ghetto Pictorial Diary will be displayed in the PassageWay. Lichtbau-Lesky was deported to Theresiendstadt Ghetto where he made graphic pictorial narratives depicting ghetto life. He hid the diary’s sketches, watercolors and graphics in the floorboards in his barracks and was able to retrieve them after liberation. Later, he re-worked them into larger images. His ironic and deeply-felt pre and post pictorial narratives are displayed alongside each other in the PassageWay gallery. Also available will be Lichtblau-Lesky’s book, A Ghetto Pictorial Diary, published by LAMOTH.
Wake: The Afterlife of Slavery
September 15 - November 5, 2017
ReflectSpace at Downtown Central presents Wake, an exhibition tracing a jagged narrative of slavery in the US from the slave trade to the present. Revolving around the ideas of Black scholar and author Christina Sharpe, Wake engages various meanings of that word to address the aftermath and the evolution of the institution of slavery into its virulent forms today. The exhibition runs from September 15 to November 5, 2017. An Opening Reception was held on Friday, September 15 from 6 to 8 pm.
The notion of wake has myriad layers of meaning: it is the distortions in the aftermath of a ship’s passing and the ruptures that persist long after its passing; an attendance and a witnessing of the dead, a kind of final act of caring; the state of rising out of sleep to move and act--being present today and now. Wake cuts both ways: into death as well as life.
What is the “wake” of the estimated 350,000 slave ships that crossed the Atlantic? “I talk about ‘wake work’”, says Christina Sharpe. “The wake is keeping track of the ship, keeping watch for the dead. It was a way for me to think about the persistence of Black death and the persistence of Black life, the ways in which Black people nonetheless make spaces of joy. ‘Wake work’ is the work that we Black people do in the face of our ongoing death, and the ways we insist life into the present.”
Anchored by the works of Pulitzer-prize winning photographer Clarence Williams and photographer and installation artist Nicola Goode, Wake reflects on Sharpe’s ideas and traces a non-linear narrative of slavery from various points of view.
Williams was in New Orleans for a wedding when hurricane Katrina struck. Rescued from atop a house, Williams stayed to be a witness and document the destruction of Black communities there: a Black death due to long-term government neglect and horrific abandonment of Black citizenry in a time of dire need. Williams presents his work as large-scale, fiber-base photographic prints, made by master printer Andrew Hall.
Nicola Goode, employing archival images, documents and photographs, re-configures and presents her Black family history over three generations in the Los Angeles area while addressing issues of exclusion and marginalization. Goode’s work, which is part image, part installation, part ephemera, is about life which inspired the great migration West and how Blacks in the aftermath of slavery’s legacy have navigated and negotiated limits placed on their “freedom.” Her work touches upon what Sharpe calls “Black life”: an “insistence” of life into the present and recognizes that survival in the aftermath of slavery’s legacy depends on the preservation and celebration of life.
Alongside artwork, Wake presents digitally reproduced archival material as artifact: series of documents and images that stitch together a narrative of the “afterlife” of slavery in multiple contexts to complete and complement Williams’ and Goode’s works. Casting a wide net across space and time, Wake re-appropriates various actual and online archives to generate this narrative. It mines the archival collections at Glendale’s Downtown Central Library and the online collections of the Library of Congress, the National Archives and various universities. Included in the exhibit are reproductions of documents, photographs and audio material from “Born in Slavery” collection, runaway slave ads, slave ship manifests and newspaper clippings and other documents from Glendale’s past.
From A Place for all People: Introducing the National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection and courtesy of the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibitions Services program, the poster exhibit in Downtown Central’s Passageway enhances and complements Wake in ReflectSpace as it further explores the African American story characterized by pain and glory, power and civility, enslavement and freedom.
Wake is a jagged narrative of the “afterlife” of slavery, its continuing destruction of Black communities as well as the unstoppable force of life that inspires the same communities. Wake is at once a reflection, an act of mourning and a call to life. Wake is co-curated by Ara and Anahid Oshagan.
Do The Right Thing: (dis)comfort women
- Exhibition: July 20 - September 3, 2017, ReflectSpace
- Opening Reception: Friday, July 21, 6:00 - 9:00 p.m., ReflectSpace
- Commemoration of Comfort Woman Day: Friday, July 28, 6:00 - 9:00 p.m., Auditorium Read More>
- The Apology film screening: Friday, August 11, 7:00 - 10:00 p.m., Auditorium Read More>
- The Last Tear film screening: Thursday, August 24, 7:00 - 10:00 p.m., Auditorium Read More>
ReflectSpace at Downtown Central presents Do the Right Thing: (dis)comfort women, an exhibition reflecting on the silence and dialogue by and about the women who were forced to become sex slaves by the Japanese Imperial Army before and during World War II. The exhibition presents the work of twelve international documentarians and artists and runs from July 20 to September 3, 2017. Co-curated by Monica Hye Yeon Jun, Ara and Anahid Oshagan. An opening reception will be held on Friday July 21, from 6-9 pm, Downtown Central Library, 222 East Harvard Street, Glendale CA 91205.
The term “comfort women” is a Japanese euphemism coined by the military to soften the scope and viciousness of their system of slavery. The (dis)comfort women exhibit turns this term on its head and develops alternative narratives of the experience by survivors as well as artists. The exhibit includes drawings, watercolor, paintings, sculpture and audio-visual material drawn from a wide range of North American and international artists, professional as well as amateur. (dis)comfort women will show the work of Remedios Felias, a former sex slave who late in life drew a graphic picture diary of her harrowing experience, as well as giant public art banners by NY-based artist Chang-Jin Lee.
The artists’ work invites reflection and dialogue but also creates tension: between the inability to speak about personal trauma and the deep human urge to tell. Artists explore this silence and simultaneously break it. (dis)comfort women is held taut in this tension and is a vociferous presence urging the acknowledgment of the horrors, lifelong indignity and shame suffered by the comfort women.
Artists in (dis)comfort women: Steve Cavallo, Yoon Jung Choi, Shon Jeung Eun, Remedios Felias, Arian Kang, Chang-Jin Lee, Melly Lym, Hong Sun Myeong, Kim Siha, Gim Deok Yeoung, Shin Chang Yong and Seo Soo-Young.
Before and during World War II, over 200,000 women from South Korea, Taiwan, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and East Timor were coerced or forcibly transported to so-called “comfort stations” across Japanese occupied territories and repeatedly raped, tortured and brutalized for months and years. Most women were under the age of 20, some as young as 12. Many women were murdered or committed suicide during their enslavement.
And the horrors of their experience did not end with the end of the war. Many women were severely traumatized and never married or were unable to have children as a result of the torture they suffered. Many did not return home and those who did were branded as “Japanese leftovers” and were often derided and ostracized. Humiliated and ashamed, comfort women survivors remained silent for nearly six decades: in isolation, shame, mental and physical ill-health, and often in extreme poverty. Breaking the silence about their experiences was a courageous task. The first public pronouncement by a survivor came in 1991, nearly 50 years later.
ReflectSpace is a new exhibition space inside Downtown Central Library designed to explore and reflect on major human atrocities, genocides and civil rights violations. Immersive in conception, ReflectSpace is a hybrid space that is both experiential and informative, employing art, technology and interactive media to reflect on the past and present of Glendale’s communal fabric and interrogate current-day global human rights issues.
Landscape of Memory
May - June 2017
The inaugural exhibit, called Landscape of Memory: Witnesses and Remnants of Genocide, unfolds in two distinct but interconnected parts and reflects on the Armenian Genocide through the cross-disciplinary work of witnesses, survivors, and artists, across four generations.
In the newly constructed ReflectSpace, witness (in) humanity examines the relationship of official history to survivor testimony and its generational aftermath. Leslie A. Davis, the US Consul in the Ottoman Empire in 1915, risked his life in saving Armenians and taking photographs of the Genocide. Davis’ critical work as a photographer and documentarian are contextualized and presented as part of witness (in) humanity. He is connected to contemporary photographers’ portrait and oral history of Hayastan Maghakhian-Terzian, one of the young girls Consul Davis saved.
Coming nearly a century after Davis, New York-based artist Aram Jibilian’s “Gorky and the Glass House” explores Arshile Gorky, the renowned Armenian-American painter, as an artist-survivor through a series of conceptual photographs made at Gorky’s final residence. Jibilian channels the artist’s ghost to address the ambiguous space the survivor occupies: between life/death and past/present.
Just outside ReflectSpace, within a few yards of the library’s south entrance at Glendale Central Park, will be the second part of Landscape of Memory: Witnesses and Remnants of Genocide, the highly popular iwitness public art installation.
The iwitness installation is a large-scale artistic disruption of public space and consists of an interconnected network of towering asymmetrical photographic sculptures wrapped with massive portraits of eyewitness survivors of the Genocide. The sculptures have no right angles and their irregular angular shapes speak to an unbalanced world, continually at risk of war, ethnic cleansing and genocide. They range in height from eight to twelve feet.
Conceived and constructed by artists Ara Oshagan and Levon Parian and architect Vahagn Thomasian, iwitness will be the first ever large-scale public art installation in Glendale. Design concept is by Narineh Mirzaeian.
"This remarkable installation, coupled with the ReflectSpace exhibition, honors the 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide and tells the personal stories of survivors--first-hand eyewitnesses to one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century," said Cindy Cleary, Director of Glendale’s Arts and Culture Department.
“iwitness is a temporary monument to the men and women who rebuilt their disrupted lives and communities in the aftermath of genocide,” said artist Levon Parian. “The proximity and clustering of the sculptures alludes to, and reflects the new communities they created after being dispersed across the globe.”
Landscape of Memory: Witnesses and Remnants of Genocide is an immersion in an internal conversation taking shape at the very onset of the Genocide and stretching over four generations. The diplomat/documentarian, eyewitness survivors and contemporary artists are all intricately linked in a network of imagery, image-making and testimony. Landscape of Memory is curated by Ara and Anahid Oshagan.
- iwitness public art installation at Glendale Central Park will run from April 27 through June 14.
iwitness (in)humanity @ ReflectSpace | iwitness @ Central Park
Curated by Ara and Anahid Oshagan.