The Diasporan Portraits series is a project that examines the effects of the Armenian genocide on contemporary descendents of genocide survivors.   These pieces relate to other work I’ve done related to the Armenian genocide of 1915-1922.  My grandmother was a survivor and the stories and history were silenced in our family.  Much later I began to do artwork based on the genocide.  The people depicted are descendants of a genocide survivor, except for spouses/partners.  Spouses are not directly descended but they share in the legacy. Shadowing on the figures represents the effects of an inherited trauma.  Even when people are not particularly knowledgeable about their history, it still affects them. The transparency of the images also relates to what has become a nearly hidden genocide, in that it occurred in plain sight but has almost disappeared.
 
In my family one remnant of the genocide was an inability to deal with the sick or speak of those who had died.  We accepted it as a quirk, not understanding any connection to trauma.  We had no idea that over seventy members of my grandmother’s family had died.  We’d never known that they ever existed. 
 
The Armenian genocide remains unresolved in every way.  The shadows might also represent the way this genocide has become a shadow history, denied and mostly forgotten. The shadows in the images also reference the tattoos given to Armenian women who were enslaved, generally women who were taken from a Death March.
 
Diasporan Portrait 1: Sofia. 2005. 
27" x 32". Photographic Transfer on Acrylic.    
 
  
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