Le Père Imaginé
Le Père Imaginé
Monoprint (one of a kind). 22”x30”.
Monotype , linoleum carving, etching, photocopy lithography and wood
“Le Père Imaginé” (The Imagined Father) addresses behaviors that I have seen repeatedly in the Armenian community with whom I grew up, including my father: they all had had the perfect father. A man who was solidly built, loving, educated, dedicated to all causes, hard working. A man who helped all Armenians who had been arrested. It took me many years to understand that in fact, those fathers had all died when their children had been very young and that for the rest of their lives, these orphans would live with a father spectrum that they could imbue with all the qualities they needed. They built a curtain of protection and safety around them in the only way they knew how.
“Standing Witness: Remembering Armenia” is a large series of monotypes that explore my relation to the Armenian Genocide, my upbringing and my identity. It combine a multitude of printmaking techniques to create rich and colorful layers, each one contributing a part of the story.
I started by creating pencil drawings using two sources: one from the few photos that had been taken of my dad, aunt, and the children at the orphanage both in Greece and in Switzerland and one where I worked with models to re-create the disappeared parents.
In addition to being a beautiful country of rich and ancient history, Armenia is also the country where my father was born the year of the Genocide by the Turks (1915). My grandfather died in 1920 and my grandmother, with a bible as sole luggage, escaped to Greece with her children. A week later, her entire village was massacred. My father and aunt, the only surviving children, were sent to an orphanage in Switzerland where they spent the rest of their lives. My family’s miraculous escape and life in exile as well as the many stories I was told as a child lead me to grow an unwavering awareness of the world’s condition and commitment to the plight of refugees.