• A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Marsha Odabashian, Allegorical Landscape, 2009

      gesso, acrylic, wood 72 x 72 x 10.5 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Apo Torosyan, Bread No. 158, 1999

      bread, polymer, rope, polyurethane, nail 29 x 13 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Kevork Mourad, On the Backs of My Forefathers, 2014

      single channel video, iPad, looped DV 00.04.26 minutes

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      John Avakian, Public Display, 1998, 2001, 2003

      monoprint, multiple paper litho-transfers, on BFK 14.75 x 42 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      John Avakian, Trophies of Genocide 4, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003

      monoprint, multiple paper litho-transfers, on BFK 14.875 x 41.75 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      John Avakian, A Blanket of Silence, 1998, 1999, 2000

      monoprint, multiple paper litho-transfers, on BFK 14.75 x 41.75 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      John Avakian, The Long Walk, 1998, 1999

      monoprint, multiple paper litho-transfers, on BFK 14.75 x 39.5 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      John Avakian, Remnants of Hatred, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003

      monoprint, multiple paper litho-transfers, on BFK 14.75 x 41.75 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      John Avakian, Trophies of Genocide 3, 1999, 2000

      monoprint, multiple paper litho-transfers, on BFK 14 x 42 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Aida Laleian, Restrained by an Imposing Anchor, 2000

      silver emulsion on porcelain, hand colored with oil paints 8.5 x 6.25 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Aida Laleian, Affirm the Jade, 2000

      silver emulsion on porcelain, hand colored with oil paints 6.25 x 8 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Adrienne Der Marderosian, Tatoo Trails (installation view), 2010

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Adrienne Der Marderosian, Resurrection Shuffle, 2010

      xerographic print, charcoal, pastels, graphite, vellum tape, paper 8 x 5 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Adrienne Der Marderosian, Portrait of a Moment, No. 2, 2010

      xerographic print, map, graphite, ink, vellum tape, paper 5.25 x 3.4375 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Adrienne Der Marderosian, Portrait of a Moment, No. 1, 2010

      xerographic prints, map, ink, vellum tape, paper 6.8125 x 3.5 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Adrienne Der Marderosian, Ballad of Reason No.1, 2010

      xerographic print, graphite, vellum tape, paper 8 x 5 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Adrienne Der Marderosian, Ode to a Dream Deferred, 2010

      xerographic prints, map, vellum tape, paper 6.0625 x 2.875 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Adrienne Der Marderosian, Untitled, 2010

      xerographic print, graphite, vellum tape, paper 8 x 5 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Adrienne Der Marderosian, Ballad of Reason, No. 2, 2010

      xerographic print, graphite, vellum tape, paper 8 x 5 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Adrienne Der Marderosian, Traces of Memory, No. 1, 2010

      xerographic print, map, ink, acetate, vellum tape, paper 8 x 4.875 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Adrienne Der Marderosian, Passage, 2010

      facsimile of original (map, glassine, thread, graphite, vellum tape, paper) 6.9375 x 3.625 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Adrienne Der Marderosian, Introspection, 2010

      xerographic prints, text, image transfer, graphite, vellum tape, paper 6.3125 x 4.125 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Adrienne Der Marderosian, Exodus, 2010

      xerographic prints, graphite, vellum tape, paper 7 x 5 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Adrienne Der Marderosian, Ballad of Reason, No. 3, 2010

      xerographic prints, graphite, vellum tape, paper 7.375 x 5 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Adrienne Der Marderosian, Subterranean Blues, 2010

      xerographic prints, glassine, graphite, vellum tape, paper 6.375 x 4.375 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Adrienne Der Marderosian, Traces of Memory, No. 2, 2010

      xerographic prints, map, graphite, ink, vellum tape, paper 4.25 x 7.375 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Adrienne Der Marderosian, Tattoo Trails, No. 1, 2010

      xerographic print, maps, glassine, thread, graphite, vellum tape, paper 7.0625 x 4.125 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Adrienne Der Marderosian, Tattoo Trails, No. 2, 2010

      xerographic prints, maps, glassine, thread, graphite, vellum tape, paper 7 x 3.4375 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Adrienne Der Marderosian, Prodigal Son, 2010

      photograph, xerographic print, vellum tape, paper 6 5_16” x 4 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Yefkin Megherian, Magar Yegmalian 1856-1905, 2003

      bronze 4.875 x 4.875 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Yefkin Megherian, Aftermath—Earthquake Mother 1988, 1997

      bronze 4.5 x 3.625 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Yefkin Megherian, St. Hripsime and St. Gayane, 1995

      bronze 3.25 x 3.25 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Yefkin Megherian, Woman in Chadour, 2004

      bronze 4.25 x 3.75 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Yefkin Megherian, Vosdanik Manuk Adoian—Arshile Gorky 1904-1948

      2001, bronze 5.125 x 4.25 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Yefkin Megherian, Armenian Landscape with Moon and Mountains, [obverse], 2005

      bronze 4.125 x 4.125 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Yefkin Megherian, Lake Sevan with Sun and Boat, [reverse], 2005

      bronze 4.125 x 4.125 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Yefkin Megherian, St. Gregory of Narrek (951-1010), 1993

      bronze 7.875 x 6.75 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Yefkin Megherian, Der Bedros Darakjian (1833-1912) and Yeretzgin Hripsime (dates unknown), 1997

      bronze 4.375 x 6 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Yefkin Megherian, Der Vartan DerMinassian (1855-1916) and Yeretzgin Acabe (1860-1920), 1996

      bronze 4.25 x 5.875 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Gail Boyajian, Romantic Landscape (Triptych), 2012

      (left panel) oil on panel 5 x 76 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Gail Boyajian, Romantic Landscape (Triptych), 2012

      (middle panel) oil on panels 5 x 76 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Gail Boyajian, Romantic Landscape (Triptych), 2012

      (right panel) oil on panels 5 x 76 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Kevork Mourad, March 15, 2013

      single channel video, looped DVD 00.04.03 minutes

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Jessica Sperandio, Blue Smoke, 2014

      acrylic 84 x 78 x 14.5 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Aida Laleian, Change Your Pale Quarrel, 2003

      UV ink on silk fabric, fabricated into roller shades, mounted in gallery window 52 x 25.5 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Aida Laleian, Change Your Pale Quarrel, 2003

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Apo Torosyan, Voices, 2007

      video monitor, looped DVD 00.15.05 minutes

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Apo Torosyan, Voices, 2007

      [jacket art for Voices DVD]

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Jackie Kazarian, Forgiveness 2, 2014

      watercolor, gouache, paper 11.75 x 11.75 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Jackie Kazarian, Forgiveness 4, 2014

      watercolor, gouache, paper 11.75 x 11.75 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Jackie Kazarian, Armenia Map 2, 2014

      watercolor, paper 11.75 x 11.75 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Jackie Kazarian, Father 1915, 2014

      watercolor ink, gouache, paper 11.75 x 11.75 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Jackie Kazarian, Forgiveness 5, 2014

      watercolor, paper 11.75 x 11.75 inches

    • A New Armenia,Armenian Genocide,Kiss the Ground,Social Justice

      Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia (part 3)

      Jackie Kazarian, Forgiveness 6, 2014

      watercolor, paper 11.75 x 11.75 inches

Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia III/III

Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia III/III
Show 5

March 30 - June 13, 2015

Click this link to View the Exhibition Catalog PDF


Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia


Click the below link to view Apo Torosyan's Voices
Apo Torosyan, Voices



Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia


Go ahead, destroy Armenia. See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.[i]
William Saroyan
 
 
The role of art is to make a world which can be inherited.[ii]
William Saroyan
 
 
The difference between Diaspora Armenians and Armenians from this country [Armenia] is that the Diaspora have a thirst for the homeland. When you live in a house built near a spring, you may know what thirst means, but you will not really feel it.[iii]
Edward Balassanian
 
 
An Individual has not started living fully until they can rise above the narrow confines of individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of humanity. Every person must decide at some point, whether they will walk in light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness. This is the judgment: Life's most persistent and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?'[iv]
Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
 
 
 
Kiss the Ground takes its namesake from the etymology of one of the Armenian words for “worship.”[v] The word “yergurbakootyoon” translates literally to mean “kissing the ground,” but figuratively refers to total submission—voluntary or involuntary. A gesture of the body, such as laying face down on the ground, is an act of deep veneration. The Divine Liturgy of the Armenian Church points out, “words and thoughts alone cannot express all that we believe,” nor can they express all that the Armenian people have endured, and that is why the gesture requires great effort. Though it is used as a term of “worship” today, the word is largely disconnected from its initial roots and is not commonly used. The aftereffects of disconnection, and the need for cultural redefinition, are what prompted this exhibition series. As a verbal expression that describes a figurative activity, yergurbakootyoon in the context of this exhibition series signals a metaphorical reference for an expression of hallowed respect and connection. The particular action conjures many images, thoughts and associations that go beyond its original usage. Spoken in English on American soil, “kissing the ground” brings to mind reverence for land, for home, for country, for people, and for a way of living, particularly for the generations of Armenians living in exile. It is an act of great dedication to connect to a difficult past and build an uncertain future.[vi]
 
Before looking at the work on display in this last of three A New Armenia exhibitions, and the last Kiss the Ground exhibition, imagine yourself on a journey.
 
Imagine being on a journey that has thus far lasted a century, and yet there is no end in sight; you cannot rest and must keep moving. Along your way, keep in mind that to get to wherever you are within your journey, it took at least two generations before you to help you arrive at where you now stand. And never forget, wherever you go, that the generations that lived before your journey was made necessary died at the hands of another. To appreciate the depth of the context of your single journey, you must also keep in mind that your journey is but one of the stories of more than 1.5 million other individuals whose lives were lost and those families' stories are like your own. And lastly, you are reminded daily as you move through time and space that the existing government, that was once home to your ancestors, denies their story ever happened. To imagine this journey is to establish a frame of reference necessary for untangling the complex reality that informs the work of the artists here exhibited in Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia.
 
To borrow the words of Donald Bloxham, “The central historical event of this [exhibition series] is the destruction of some one million Armenian Christians under the auspices of the Ottoman government in 1915-16.”[vii] The Kiss the Ground exhibition series was organized to examine the art of a select group of local and national American-Armenian artists, whose work addresses issues of identity in light of their ancestral Armenian past, and for that examination to occur during the culturally recognized centennial marker of April 24, 1915.
 
In the first Kiss the Ground exhibition, the work of Gagik Aroutiunian, a second generation Genocide survivor, illuminated one of the realities of living under the dark cover of genocide: many if not most survivor’s families chose taciturn remembrance as a way to move forward. Accordingly, Aroutiunian’s work is filled with bits of fractured memories, familial melancholy and stoic iconography. In the second Kiss the Ground exhibition, the work of Talin Megherian, a third generation Genocide survivor, broke silence and disclosed her painful dark past, naming individuals, illuminating personal stories and other cultural remembrances in visibly iconic ways. Megherian’s work requires intimate knowledge or a key to decipher her iconography. In the respective cases of Megherian’s and Aroutiunian’s work, both artists approaches to content are pertinent to, and respective of, the generation to which each artist is connected. The differences between how and what Aroutiunian and Megherian have disclosed in their personal stories are quite possibly due to subtle shifts in attitude that accompany an increased separation from the date of incident; the closer you are in time to a past tragedy, the harder it is to talk about it. Both artists works are hushed in some way, though Megherian’s work is a shade closer to disclosure than Aroutiunian’s. And importantly, both artists' works speak the truth, respective to their experience.
 
One thing these two artists' truths have helped Thompson Gallery audiences appreciate, regarding what they must continuously navigate, is that neither artist has a better way than the other of exploring their past: all post-genocide attempts at defining self through art are valid, vital and illuminating. And, as author Lewis Hyde so powerfully demonstrates in his book, The Gift, “So long as the artist speaks the truth, [s]he will, whenever the government is lying or has betrayed the people, become a political force...”[viii] Indeed, truth survives, Hyde points out, “in the resistant imagination[ix] that was moved to create art about inhumane betrayal. Above all else, Kiss the Ground exhibitions have aimed to voice the collective memory of the Armenians.
 
We have arrived in our exhibition series at a place in which the content of the work on view has become progressively more overt. A New Armenia advances past the taciturn and the cryptic, and moves into graduated stages of explicitness. Viewers are asked to consider four basic artistic strategies regarding content disclosure: portrayal, poetic allusion, abject symbolism, and transformation. The differences among art that portrays a subject, that points through poetic allusion, that confronts an audience with abject symbolism, or that illuminates the potential of transformation are easily recognized through contemplating a particular work and imagining it as pertaining to a specific taxonomic category. Some works seem to belong in more than one designation, other works easily fit within a single category, and some works may be difficult to pin down. The required effort for establishing this ground work, however, yields a much deeper understanding of the artist’s respective journeys and your own.
 
These exhibitions were created as a way of keeping in motion Dr. Rev. King’s great imperative: What are you doing for others?[x] This exhibition series asks its viewers to carry forth the stories presented by Kiss the Ground artists.To carry their stories with you now, while on your own journey, is to play an important part in maintaining humanity. As William Saroyan once said, make a world which can be inherited.[xi] To understand that part of your charge is to appreciate why every time Armenians meet along their journeys, they are compelled to create a new Armenia.
 
 
Todd Bartel
Gallery Director, Curator
Thompson Gallery


[i] William Saroyan, Inhale & Exhale, Random House, New York, NY, 1936, p. 438
[ii] As quoted at a Broadway memorial tribute to Saroyan, reported in The New York Times (31 October 1983), http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/William_Saroyan, 4/24/15
[iii] Art Asia Pacific Magazine, Armenian Center for Contemporary Experimental Art, Issue 76, Nov/Dec 2011, http://artasiapacific.com/Magazine/76/ArmenianCenterForContemporaryExperimentalArt, 1/4/15
[iv] As quoted by Coretta Scott King in The Words of Martin Luther King, Jr., Newmarket Press, 1983, Ch. Community of man, p. 17
[v] Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan, Ed. The Divine Liturgy of the Armenian Church, St. Vartan Press, New York, 2011, ix
[vi] Note: the first paragraph is reprinted from A New Armenia (Parts 1  & 2) wall text and the accompanying catalog (p. 12), for the purposes of providing the Cambridge School of Weston’s audience with the background context.
[vii] Donald Bloxham, The Great Game of Genocide (Imperialism, Nationalism, and the Destruction of the Ottoman Armenians), Oxford University Press, New York, 2005, p. vii
[viii] Lewis Hyde, The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property, First Vintage Books Edition, Random House, New York, NY, 1979, p. 198
[ix] Ibid.
[x] Ibid.
[xi] Ibid.
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The Cambridge School of Weston is a progressive high school for day and boarding students in grades 9–12 and PG. CSW's mission is to provide a progressive education that emphasizes deep learning, meaningful relationships, and a dynamic program that inspires students to discover who they are and what their contribution is to their school, their community and the world.