Commemorating Women Affected by Genocide

I am honored to participate in an April 10 commemoration for women affected by genocide to be held at the Armenian Museum of America and is co-sponsored by Facing History and Ourselves. The event will feature a lecture by Anna Aleksanyan of Clark University, as well as survivor testimonies from Bosnian Genocide survivor Edina Skaljic and Rwandan Genocide survivor Chantal Kayitesi.

The program will also feature musical performances by violinist Armen Ghazaryan and pianist Levon Hovsepian, as well as a special blended poetic musical piece with poetry written and performed by Frank Cunningham.

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“By this accident of birth, my children thrive while others go hungry. How can this be? It’s not right.” Sonia

To coincide with the program, there will also be a number of guest exhibitions created and inspired by women who have experienced genocide; including selections from my series “Kindling“, “Pax Rwanda: Embroideries of the Women of Savane Rutongo-Kabuye,” curated by Juliana Meehan and Rutongo Embroideries, and “Every Stitch a Memory” by Netty Vanderpol.

All of these guest exhibitions, along with the museum’s “Stitching to Survive” and Traveling Genocide exhibits, will be available for viewing on the 3rd floor of the museum, in the Adele & Haig Der Manuelian and Terjenian-Thomas Galleries, 65 Main St., in Watertown.

The exhibitions will run for a few weeks after the event. For those that cannot make it in person, I’ve embedded a video I make for the Kindling series.

 

 

 

Images of Grief and Healing: Maud Morgan Arts

I am honored to be included in a powerful show, Images of Grief and Healing in the Chandler Gallery at Maud Morgan Arts in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The exhibition is curated by Deborah Putnoi, a distinguished artist and long time educator, and Emily Newmann, an experienced therapist and artist and runs through September 11, 2015. The piece I am exhibiting is called “Inside Out” from the series My Bones Laid Bare.

I hope you have a chance to visit in person. If not, I’ve included a link to many of the images above.

Inside Out, 22" x 30", Graphite and white charcoal on toned paper, 2013

Inside Out, 22″ x 30″, Graphite and white charcoal on toned paper, 2013

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Stoning in Syria

PerfectStonefigFive72Possibly lost in the tragic news of the summer was story of two women stoned to death in two days by ISIS in Syria. Working on my series, The Perfect Stone, a few years ago I was struck not only by the horror of the penalty—what does it mean that in the 21st century there are still women being stoned to death—but by the question of what would be necessary to cary out the sentence: a pit would need to be dug, many volunteers would be needed to throw stones, and the right size stones would need to be decided on. This last item,  though chilling, made me think—what is the perfect stone for killing a woman?

I hope the video below, and the visual essay, can serve as a proper memorial to women targeted for honor killings in the 21st century.

 

Confronting Evil in Individuals and Societies.

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I am honored to have had the video from my series The Perfect Stone selected to open Facing History and Ourselves Day of Learning Confronting Evil in Individuals and Socities at Harvard University yesterday. The conference was stunning with presentations by a wide range of scholars from across the disciplines including Anthony Appiah, Elaine Pagels, and former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Luis Moreno Ocampo as well as Jill Medvedow, the Director of the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. While I don’t have a photo of the film at the conference, here is a picture of the video on Facing History’s twitter feed.

Each presentation added to a layered picture of Evil as well as the challenges and opportunities we face if we hope to prevent mass violence and cultivate the next generation of thoughtful, engaged citizens. A particular focus was the translation of the work of scholars into resources and practices for schools
. Hopefully the video can be useful in the classroom. If any of you are educators, I would love to hear what you think.

In the meantime, I will share videos from the conference as they become available.

A few thoughts on a cold day

From the series Kindling:

Traditionally home is the center of the family, the hearth is the heart of the home, a place where families come together for comfort and warmth. The kindling in these drawings echo this ancient ideal of comfort and security, just as the fragile and unsteady piles of wood echo the vulnerable position of women struggling to sustain their families in the most severe conditions imaginable.

“By this accident of birth, my children  thrive while others go hungry.  How can this be? It's not right.”  Sonia

“By this accident of birth, my children thrive while others go hungry. How can this be? It’s not right.” Sonia