LOS ANGELES (LA Times) — Split in half, chiseled on one side and smooth on the other, the black rock memorializes not just the Armenian genocide, but also survival.
Unveiled Saturday, September 17, as the sun set over Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles, the Armenian Genocide Monument is ringed by metal bars embedded in the ground and etched with the words of Armenian American writer William Saroyan: “In the time of your life, live — so that in that wondrous time you shall not add to the misery and sorrow of the world, but shall smile to the infinite delight and mystery of it.”
“We wanted something that was uplifting and also spoke to a much broader audience,” said photographer Levon Parian, one of a team who created the monument.
The five-ton piece was sculpted by Glendale architect Vahagn Thomasian from volcanic rock quarried from Armenia’s Ararat Valley.
The split in the monument represents the disruption of the 1915-18 genocide, which claimed the lives of about 1.2 million Armenians under the Ottoman Empire, which became the modern republic of Turkey. The Turkish government disputes that a genocide took place.
“The rough part resembles [the period] after the genocide when the Armenian people struggled and tried to survive,” Thomasian said. The smooth half “represents the present, future, new generations.”