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Exhibition Series Explores Armenian Art and Culture

for Centennial Memorialization of Armenian Genocide
Teaching Gallery Coordinates Five-Part Exhibit in Two Venues:

Thompson Gallery (Weston, MA) Parts 1, 2 and 5
Armenian Museum of America (Watertown, MA) parts 3 and 4

Teaching Gallery Coordinates Five-Part Exhibit in Two Venues
WESTON, MA. - The Thompson Gallery at The Cambridge School of Weston (CSW) announces its 2014-15 gallery itinerary, Kiss the Ground, a five-part exhibition series that examines and celebrates contemporary Armenian art, organized to overlap the centennial memorialization of the 1915 Armenian Genocide. The five shows in the series explore Armenian culture from different vantages, yet intersect on themes of memory, loss and celebration.
The Thompson Gallery is proud to expand the exhibition to the Armenian Library and Museum (Watertown, MA), which shall include a reading of  “The Past Is Not Past,” a short play that was created based on discussions about genocide between playwright Elliot Baker and Baker’s friend John Avakian, an artist. CSW students will present the world premier reading of the play at the Thompson Gallery at CSW on Saturday, November 15, and again on Sunday, December 7 at the Armenian Library and Museum. All events are open to the public. The table reading has a running time of 30 minutes.
The first exhibition in the Kiss the Ground series (September 5 to November 15, 2014) showcases the art of Armenian born, Chicago-based Gagik Aroutiunian, whose art centers on issues of identity, memory and the displacement of family. Works on display include multimedia assemblage sculptures, paintings and video projections.
Gallery Director, curator of the series and CSW Visual Arts Teacher Todd Bartel said he assembled the series to “demonstrate the power of memory during this particular hundred-year marker.”  
“The title of the series comes from the etymological roots of an Armenian word for liturgy, ‘yergurbakootyoon.’ A word that translates literally to mean ‘kissing the ground,’ and implies the idea of ‘effort.’ Yergurbakootyoon also suggests reverence for land, for home, for country, for place, for people, and for a way of living,” added Bartel.
Sculptural processes and materials are manifestations of object matter,” Aroutiunian described. “Images, video and light, on the other hand, represent illusion. While the first is a primary means for me to represent identity and its displacement, the second is a way to represent memory and its transience.”
The second exhibition in the Kiss the Ground series (December 18, 2014 to March 13, 2015) spotlights the paintings of Talin Megherian (Watertown, MA) and her interest in the stories and traditions of the Armenian people, compromised by the atrocities of the 1915 Armenian Diaspora. Giving voice to the memories of her family and Armenian women in general, Megherian’s colorful abstractions are lavishly bejeweled by representational and symbolic images of Armenian artifacts, braids, textile designs and Khatchkars.
There are tragic stories from both sides of my family,” said Megherian. “I feel compelled to give them a voice—in part, for a people that have not healed, in part for myself, and in part for my family that still remembers.”
The final show in the series, Kiss the Ground—Contemporary Armenian Art (March 30 to June 13, 2015) is a group exhibition that brings together a collection of Armenian artists working in diverse media: John Avakian’s (social justice print-making), Gail Boyajian’s (allegorical painting), Adrienne Der Marderosian (works on paper), Jackie Kazarian (abstract painting), Aida Laleian (digital collage), Yefkin Megherian (bronze bas-reliefs), Marsha Odabashian (installation art), Kevork Mourad (gestural painting), and Apo Torosyan (film).
Kiss The Ground—A New Armenia part 1will run at the Armenian Library and Museum from December 6, 2014 - January 20, 2015. This series brings together the work of Gail Boyajian, Adrienne Der Marderosian, Aida Laleian, Talin Megherian,Yefkin Megherian, Kevork Mourad, Marsha Odabashian and Jessica Sperandio. For more information, visit www.armenianmuseum.org.
  • Gagik Aroutiunian—Kiss the Ground:
Gagik Aroutiunian
Traveler and His Road No. 4, 2004
welded/fabricated stainless steel, glass, paint, patinas, water, electric fan, wires, transferred photographic images
78 x 25.5 x 18.5 inches
  • Talin Megherian—Kiss the Ground:
Talin Megherian
Khatchkar No. 2, 2013
gouache, ink, tempera and gesso on tiled watercolor paper
18.625 x 15.75 inches
  • Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia:
Jessica Sperandio
Passage, 2014
laser cut leather, thread, wood, acrylic
32 x 50 x 1 inches
The Thompson Gallery is a teaching gallery at CSW dedicated to thematic inquiry, offering three differing vantages of the selected topic, throughout the school year. As social justice is integral to the values and mission of the school, CSW looks to provide imaginative ways to spark discussion through mediums including gallery exhibits coupled with a curriculum that boasts a variety of courses to reflect the diversity of society and the world. Named in honor of a school trustee John Thompson and family, the Gallery promotes opportunities to experience contemporary art by local, national and international artists and periodically showcases the art of faculty, staff and alumni. The Gallery is located within the Garthwaite Center for Science and Art, The Cambridge School of Weston, 45 Georgian Road Weston, MA 02493. Visit Thompsongallery.csw.org to view exhibit art.
The Cambridge School of Weston is a progressive, coeducational day and boarding school. Established in 1886, CSW is dedicated to fostering individual strengths and deep relationships through a wide range of challenging courses. www.csw.org

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.