Genocide Billboard Goes up near Gillette Stadium

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FOXBORO, Mass. — “Now is the time to turn hope into action” is the message on the 2011 Armenian Genocide commemorative billboards sponsored by Peace of Art, Inc. One 10’ x 30’ digital billboard is on display now in Foxboro, 1/4 mile south of the main entrance to Gillette Stadium and Patriot Place. It is highly visible and strategically located at an intersection of Route 1, between I-95 and I-495. The second and third billboards, 11’x 27’ each, are expected to go up on April 4, in Watertown, on Mount Auburn Street.

The message on the billboards reminds President Barack Obama of his campaign promise to recognize the Armenian Genocide. In the middle of the word “recognize” is a logo, which symbolizes action, designed specifically for this year’s billboards.

“This project is very close to my heart because my parents were survivors of the Armenian Genocide,” said Daniel Varoujan Hejinian, the founder and president of Peace of Art, Inc. “As a child, my parents’ history had great impact on me, and growing up I saw history through their eyes.”

Hejinian is the son of Armenian Genocide survivors who fled to Syria during the events that began in April 1915. At the age of 19, his artwork was exhibited at the National Museum in Aleppo, Syria. He left Aleppo in 1969 for Soviet Armenia to study art at the Fine Arts and Drama Institute in Yerevan. In 1979, he left Soviet Armenia for the United States.

He has painted many corporate murals in Boston and religious murals for seven Armenian churches in the United States. His artwork has been exhibited in many art galleries throughout the United States and is represented in private and corporate collections around the world.

Hejinian has dedicated his life to promoting peace through his artwork. In 2003, he founded Peace of Art, a non-profit educational organization, to raise awareness to the universal human condition. Through his works of art he showed the absence of peace and the importance of the recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

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In 1996, he began the annual Armenian Genocide commemoration and international recognition campaign by displaying large billboards on major intersections in Massachusetts to honor the memory of the victims, and calling for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. The objective was to bring the reality of the Armenian Genocide from the closed doors of the Armenian community to the outside, to the community-at-large. In the last seven years the billboards have been sponsored by Peace of Art, Inc.

In 2009, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded Obama the Nobel Peace Prize for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” The Committee further stated that he captured the world’s attention and gave its people hope for a better future. However, Obama stated that he viewed the decision less as a recognition of his own accomplishments and more as a “call for action.”

The 2011 Armenian Genocide commemorative billboards are a “call for action” to Obama as he fulfills his election campaign promise, turning hope into action by declaring his recognition of the Armenian Genocide and calling it by its real name.

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