Creatively focused and noteworthyPhoto credit: Norayr Kasper, "I Will Talk to You About Time." Fotoistanbul 2015.
Rebirth Armenia: This is our 'vrezh' In remembering, learning about, and visiting our ancient homeland of Western Armenia, Armenians are often struck with grief and a desire for revenge. Two diasporans from the U.S. began the quest for this revenge with a project, raising awareness of pressing issues and areas under threat in Armenia. They soon found themselves joining forces in a strong non-violent resistance movement, and have been traveling the regions of Tavush and Artsakh for three years, telling stories of strength and determination.
Celebrating Armenian culture at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival 2018 has been the year to be Armenian. From a political revolution in April/May to a full Armenian village in the middle of the U.S. capital in June/July, to the upcoming Metropolitan Museum of Art’s (Met) exhibition on Armenian art in September, Armenianness has never been more in the spotlight. As the political discussion around immigrants grows increasingly hostile here, at home, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival’s decision to shine a light on Armenian heritage and culture this summer in our nation’s capital is a proud occasion for our community to showcase, as the President of Armenia calls it, “the cradle of civilization—after Africa.”
Got Armenia on your mind? Sign up for one of these events this summer! There has never been a better time to be young and Armenian. Armenia’s recent Velvet Revolution showed what the youth could accomplish when they work together to bridge the gaps, boundaries, and barriers that have prevented proactive change for far too long. Well, for those of us who live in the diaspora, there is another revolution unfolding, and we are calling on you, your friends and foes alike—our brothers and sisters across the world—to join the call in creating a newer, more inclusive and interactive vision for our diaspora going forward. If you’re wondering how we plan on going about this, you may want to check out ArtLinks, YouthLinks, and the Forum—all run by the Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society (“Hamazkayin” henceforth). Read on for a breakdown of these initiatives and how you can get involved in creating a New Armenia: Diaspora edition!
From Van to Sherman: Unearthing the unfinished legacy of Arshile Gorky Arshile Gorky’s pioneering art has made him the subject of several books, documentaries, and even a nonprofit foundation dedicated to understanding his work. Yet, his revolutionary legacy also lives on outside of the art world—in one of the most unexpected of places—his home. We ventured to find this artistic oasis and, in doing so, learned more about the man behind the painting. This year marks the 70th anniversary of Gorky’s passing and the unassuming farmhouse that once inspired one of the 20th century’s best painters continues to inspire new generations.
The magic of a boring sandwich: Reflections from an Armenian cemetery in Kharpert If you could have dinner with any person in the world—dead or alive—who would you choose? My answer, every time, is my great grandparents. Many of us have us wondered how we would feel if we ever ventured to the lands from which we have collectively been exiled for the last four generations. Upon returning from my trip to Western Armenia, I encountered the spirit of our ancestors and their will to build again, love again, and rejoice again, in the most unlikely of places: a sandwich.
100 years in 10 days: (Re)Discovering Sasun and the beauty of the Armenian Highlands One of the few constants in my life has been Sasun, a land on which no living relative has ever set foot. In the summer of 2017, I had the opportunity to discover the homeland of my ancestors, and along the way, encountered a lost branch of my family tree— of our collective Armenian family. Our survivor great-grandparents would describe those who were “left behind” during the genocide. These Armenians remained in what became the Republic of Turkey and were forced to hide or completely forgo their Armenian identities, living out the rest of their days as Kurds or Turks. We had the privilege to meet with some of these “Hidden Armenians,” who taught us that, just as 19th-century Sasun is impossible to imagine without Armenians, an Armenian resurgence in 21st-century Sasun can only happen with their inclusion.