This spring, the Armenian Museum of America (ALMA) has hosted a number of free events and exhibition openings through partnerships with a number of artists and organizations in order to further educate the surrounding community about Armenian culture, genocide, and prominent Armenian figures.
On Sun., April 10, ALMA, along with Facing History and Ourselves, presented a commemoration of all women, across history and around the world, who have been affected by the horror and destruction of genocide. Speakers Edina Skaljic, a Bosnian genocide survivor, and Chantal Kayitesi, a survivor of the Rwandan genocide outlined their personal experiences with genocide for an audience left in awe of their stories.
Anna Aleksanyan, of Clark University’s Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, also gave a haunting presentation on how women were targeted, both physically and non-physically, during the Armenian Genocide.
The program also included first-rate musical performances by violinist Armen Ghazaryan and pianist Levon Hovsepian, as well as a special blended music piece with poetry written and performed by Frank Cunningham. These performances perfectly matched the tone of the speakers, and were able to convey the emotions associated with genocide through art.
Guests were also treated to a number of guest exhibitions created and inspired by and for women who have experienced or been affected by genocide: “Kindling” by Sandy Smith-Garces, who was inspired by the plight of Darfuri women in Eastern Chad; “Pax Rwanda: Embroideries of the Women of Savane Rutongo-Kabuye,” curated by Juliana Meehan, who supports the Savane Rutongo-Kabuye embroidery workshop created by a group of Rwandan women from both sides of the Rwandan Genocide conflict; and “Every Stitch a Memory,” by Holocaust survivor and Ann Frank classmate Netty Vanderpol. The Museum’s own “Stitching to Survive” exhibit, curated by textile curator Susan Lind-Sinanian, was also available for viewing.
No one from the audience was left unaffected by this emotionally wrought presentation.
On April 17, a special exhibition, “Objects That Transcend,” opened at the Armenian Museum. Curated by Museum of Fine Arts Senior Graphic Exhibition Director, Jennifer Munson, this exhibition brings the personal collection of Berdj Garabedian to life. Garabedian collected 18th and 19th century coins and metalware over the course of his life and understood that preserving Armenian Culture is the sacred and ultimate duty of every Armenian.
After acquiring the collection from Garabedian’s three daughters, the Armenian Museum is pleased to show selections from the collection in an excellently executed exhibition. A light reception accompanied the opening, along with a short gallery talk from Curator Jennifer Munson, who explained how she brought the objects to life using photographs collected by the Project SAVE Armenian Photograph Archives.
Finally, on Tues., April 26, ALMA hosted a special book event in the Adele & Haig Der Manuelian Galleries to commemorate the lives of John Garo and Yousuf Karsh, both Armenian photographers.
The focus of the evening was the newly-released book, The Search for a Master’s Legacy, which focuses on Garo’s lost legacy and Karsh’s journey later in his career to recover Garo’s lost work. The featured speakers were Mehmed Ali, the author of the book, and Jerry Fieldler, the curator and director of the estate of Yousuf Karsh.
The Museum was also honored to have in attendance Karsh’s widow, Estrellita, who offered deeply personal reflections on his life and commitment, not only to photography, but also to guiding the next generation of photographers and artist.
For more information about these and other upcoming free events at the Armenian Museum, visit www.armenianmuseum.org or www.facebook.com/ArmenianMuseumofAmerica.
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