PROVIDENCE, R.I.—Since May, the Armenian Historical Association of R.I. (AHARI) has featured an exhibit entitled “The 1915 Armenian Genocide: Orphans and the Near East Relief Fund. The World’s Response.” Gallery Z director Berge Zobian, who curated the multimedia exhibit, told the Weekly that the featured works focus on “the world‘s reaction to the atrocities via world press coverage during that era.”
Included in the exhibit are images from global coverage of the Armenian Genocide, posters from Near East Relief (NER, now Near East Foundation) and a video of restored parts of the film Ravished Armenia, a documentary memoir based on the life of Genocide survivor Aurora Mardiganian. Walking through the exhibit is a step back in time when there were widespread reports of the atrocities being committed and a coordinated effort to raise funds and offer humanitarian aid to the suffering Armenians.
Much of the exhibit focuses on the orphans and refugees of the Genocide and the actions NER took to assist them. NER was founded in 1915 as a non-governmental humanitarian organization. As such, during and after the Armenian Genocide, NER tangibly expressed the collective generosity of the American people with a movement that “literally saved the Armenian nation from total annihilation.” (anca.org) The AHARI exhibit pays tribute to NER and all those who selflessly gave of their time and resources to assist a nation decimated by genocide.
Perusing the reports and images, a visitor might be struck by the stark contrast between the media reports and humanitarian efforts of more than 100 years ago and the lack of the same as the Armenians of Artsakh continue to suffer an eight-month blockade at the hands of the government of Azerbaijan.
Also on display at the historical association is the continuously-running “Rhode Island Armenians: Discovering the Past and Looking to the Future.” Curated by Hayk Demoyan, Ph.D., of Yerevan, AHARI describes the exhibit as spanning “the history of RI Armenians from the earliest immigrations to the current community illustrating its migration, adaptation, survival and success through artistically created panels noting different aspects of the community, its history and legacy.”
For the first time, AHARI and both of its exhibits will be featured during this month’s Gallery Night Providence tour, which will be held on Thursday, August 17 from 4:30-8:30 p.m. A trolley guided tour will depart the Graduate Hotel in downtown Providence at 5:00 p.m. and will stop at AS220 Project Space, Bank RI Turks Head Gallery, Galerie le Domaine at Domain Properties and the Armenian Historical Association of R.I.
“We are thrilled that Gallery Night Providence is visiting our spaces for the very first time,” said AHARI chair Martha Jamgochian. “We invite everyone to come and learn more about the Armenian community of Rhode Island, both as descendants of the Genocide and vibrant and contributing residents of our state.”
AHARI is located at 245 Waterman St., Suite 204 in Providence and will be open for the entirety of the tour hours. Parking and admission are free, and the facility is fully accessible.