By Naomi Kuromiya
KINGSTON, R.I. — Over the past few weeks, the elements and details of the commemorative exhibition, “The Armenian Genocide — 95 Years Later, in Remembrance,” have been confirmed and finalized. This historically and artistically important exhibition will mark the 95th anniversary of the atrocities of the Armenian Genocide and is being curated by Gallery Z director Bérge Ara Zobian, an Armenian of Providence. Zobian is producing the show in collaboration with The Urban Arts and Culture Program of the University of Rhode Island. The exhibit will be on display from April 1 through 30 at the URI Feinstein Providence Campus Gallery, a prominent location expected to draw thousands of visitors.
The show boasts 47 professional artists and over 100 works of school-age children ages 6-16 years old. Embracing young artists is a crucial aspect of the show that will help give it a voice for the future. There will be a number of schools participating, including St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School of Watertown, Mass., Moorad Armenian School of Providence and the Arts Education Program, the Armenian school and Sunday school of Sts. Sahag and Mesrob Armenian Church of Providence. The displayed artwork will be from a number of different mediums but each piece will answer the question: “what does being an Armenian mean to you?”
In addition to enthusiastic artistic participation, a number of organizations will be working in conjunction with the show: the Armenian Genocide Museum and Institute located in Yerevan, Armenia, and ALMA (Armenian Library Museum of America) located in Watertown, Mass. They will provide artifacts and materials from their Traveling Genocide Exhibit. The Naregatsi Art Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving Armenian culture through the arts, will be providing enlightening posters, artwork and films. Finally, the Armenian Historical Association of Rhode Island will lend financial support as well as heirlooms and historical references.
There will be two official events celebrating the exhibition: a gallery night opening on Thursday, April 15 from 5-9 p.m., and the main event on Saturday, April 17 from 3-5 p.m. The program for this main event has now firmly taken shape and will feature, in addition to a presentation of the Rhode Island State Department of Education “Genocide Educator of the Year Award,” a number of talented musical and dramatic performances. The emcee for event will be actor and historical consultant for the 2002 film Ararat Greg Chopoorian, who will provide an introduction and brief overview of the program.
Performer and singer Arpie Dadoyan will perform a couple of songs from her album, “Sandplay,” and musician David Ayiryan will play the kamancha, an Armenian instrument. Finally, established Rhode Island actor Armen Garo will perform a play, “Hishadag’s Return: A Contemplation of the Jewish Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide,” written by Dorothy Abram, a playwright and professor at Johnson & Wales University. Following the play, Abram and Chopoorian will host a question and answer session geared towards educators.
Notably, the media and publicity for this show has culminated in the launching of the official exhibition website, which is now accessible at www.armeniangenocide95years.com. The site will include a page with information on related Genocide awareness events in Rhode Island in the upcoming weeks. The show also has a Facebook page, “Armeniangenocide Ninetyfiveyears,” that provides basic information and serves as an easy tool to connect with the staff and other supporters of the show. To contact the staff of the show directly with any comments or questions, shoot a message to the exhibition’s official email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
While the historical artifacts and materials of this exhibition will explore the past and affirm the atrocities of the Armenian Genocide, much of the artwork will also emphasize the present surviving Armenian culture and even look towards the future. As the dates of the show approach, it is exciting to see the wide scope of participation and support come together to form a great celebration of Armenian history and culture.