Evelina Galli - Armenian Reporter

reporter.am

Evelina Galli - Armenian Reporter

the armenian

culture&

arts

culture &

November 8, 2008

November 8, 2008

arts the armenian

reporter reporter

Evelina Galli

Designer to “glamorous and chic women”

Brush strokes

frozen in time

Page C9

The thrill of

flying high

Page C5

Studio visit:

Zadik Zadikian

Page C7


Good things can come in small poems

by Lory

Bedikian

The first poem by Aram Saroyan that I

was introduced to appeared in The Discovery

of Poetry, the text we used in one of

the first poetry courses I took in college.

Our instructor asked us to read various

chapters and then to create a reading

response to poems we came across

during our studies. In a chapter entitled

“Traditional and Open Forms” I discovered

this poem by Saroyan:

eyeye

Yes, that is correct. This was the poem

and is the poem. Since this was my first

poetry class and considering we had read

so many different poems from Blake to

Dickinson or from Shakespeare to Whitman,

it was surprising to suddenly come

across this small poem. The publishers

had it printed in a large, dark typeface

so that the reader obviously would not

miss the poem or think it was some sort

of typographical error in the middle of

the page. The poem was included as an

example of “concrete poetry” or poetry

that takes some sort of shape. Saroyan’s

poem can be said to be in the shape of

two eyes close together. Other poets

have formed poems in the shapes of

birds, houses, hourglasses, etc., where

the words on the page actually appear in

the shape that the poem is about.

I remember thinking that writing this

and signing one’s name to it was a courageous

act of individuality. I had never

heard of the poetry of Aram Saroyan

and what I thought was most intriguing

was that the poem that brought about

the most animated discussions from

our class was written by an Armenian-

American. The question that was brought

up during our lively class discussion was

“well, is it a poem or not?”

As with any classroom setting, the

students had all sorts of answers, arguments,

and debates. I’d like to take

the stance of my then-instructor and instead

of defending whether or not it is

or isn’t a poem, to instead discuss or appreciate

what the poet is doing through

these types of creations. In the case

of “eyeye” my most minimal response

would be that the poet is challenging

our conventional and traditional views

or definitions of poetry and poems.

Lory Bedikian received her MFA in poetry from the

University of Oregon. Her collection of poetry has

twice been selected as a finalist in the Crab Orchard

Series in Poetry Open Competition and twice in

the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award

Competition.

Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture

Copyright © 2008 by Armenian Reporter llc

All Rights Reserved

Contact arts@reporter.am with announcements

To advertise, write business@reporter.am or call 1-201-226-1995

Aram Saroyan.

Concrete poetry is actually not a modern

invention and has been something

documented since the time of the ancient

Greeks.

“Eyeye” appears in Saroyan’s collection

Complete Minimal Poems, a book in

which the poet presents us with poems

as small as words, sometimes smaller,

the size of a letter itself and at other

moments as large as a sentence – although

not necessarily a complete one.

Saroyan’s poems are playful, witty, almost

seem to nudge you as a reader to

see how you will react. I almost feel that

it’s a test for some readers’ patience

and acceptance and perhaps this can be

viewed as a good thing. One thing remains

true – as was the case in my own

college class – that the poems encourage

responses, whatever they may be, and

if that was part of the poem’s purpose

(not the poet’s necessarily) then it has

done its job.

I tend to enjoy the poems that remind

me of the more imagistic poems

of William Carlos Williams such as “The

Red Wheelbarrow” or “This is Just to

Say,” that many of us studied in English

courses. Imagistic poetry tends to focus

on a single image or few images written

with much precision and focus, and with

a frugality of language.

We can see this economical use of

words in Saroyan’s following poem:

Sunday

as the

grass’s

cut

and its smell

rises

twice

The poem relies on the sense of smell,

on our remembrance of such an experience.

Some can ask “and what about

it?” Perhaps our response to such a

poem should not be a reaction, but an

embrace. If we imagine what this small

note is conjuring up in image, we can

take the experience and go beyond the

poem to create our own meaning to the

image. In other words, I can enjoy this

moment that the poet has reminded

me of and appreciate what thoughts

may arise from it, from my own vaults

of memory.

Saroyan also takes the imagistic technique

and uses it in unison with creating

a simile such as in this poem:

On page C1: Evelina Galli makes clothes for “glamorous and chic women

who are not afraid to stand out in the crowd and feel comfortable being

like that.” See story on page C8.

somebody as

suddenly as a radio comes on

in the street

speaks

These poems seem to be – not rejecting

necessarily – but moving away from

what we traditionally know as poems

which present an image, analyze it, perhaps

compare it to other images, move

beyond it, bring some philosophical illumination

and the list could go on for

quite a bit. Instead these poems seem

to be small still life portraits that ask us

to see something, smell or hear something.

I can’t claim to know exactly what a

poem is or should be. If I did I would

either have to follow my own definition

flawlessly or if I did make a claim (which

was accepted) on what poets, writers, intellectuals,

and academics have debated

about for centuries I would probably

be in a different place and of a different

stature than I am today. But I’m fine

where I am, and I am still intrigued by

what’s out there in the land of poetry,

from the great old oaks to the smallest

of acorns rolling by our feet. f

The poems that appear in this column

are from Complete Minimal Poems, Ugly

Duckling Presse, 2007. Reprinted with

permission.

connect:

www.aramsaroyan.com

www.uglyducklingpresse.org

Your news goes right here

See an “ian” on the credits? Watch a

Hye on your local news? Write the

Reporter, and we’ll get crackin’ to profile

the son or daughter of Hayk in

an upcoming issue. No other weekly

delivers 12 pages of art and culture

news, so while you enjoy the content,

send a shout-out, say ‘hey,’ and give

us a heads-up about interesting Armenians

doing interesting things.

This is your community newspaper,

so do a little news directing.

Point and click an ‘e’ to arts@reporter.

am (dot am on the ‘net is for all things

Armenian!).

connect:

arts@reporter.am

C2 Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture November 8, 2008


Gritty and raw: New York author Arthur Nersesian

His Armenian heritage is

making its way into his

stories

by Kay

Mouradian

Arthur Nersesian read a chapter from his

latest novel, The Sacrificial Circumcision

of the Bronx, at Vroman’s bookstore in

Pasadena a few weeks ago. Trying to interview

him became a challenge. I was in

an environment far too chaotic for an indepth

conversation with this New York

author. An author who preceded Nersesian’s

reading that evening brought with

him a noisy fan base drinking wine and

milling around both authors while Nersesian

was busy trying to sign books. Waiting

for a moment when I could talk to

this Armenian author, I decided to chat

with two of the twenty-something girls

in the audience, Gilda Davidian and

Lisa Narinian of Highland Park. Both

had read several of Nersesian’s novels.

Gilda described Nersesian’s work as gritty

and raw. Since the title of Nersesian’s

first novel is The Fuck Up, I knew exactly

what Gilda meant. Two of Nersesian’s

books, The Dog Run and The Chinese Takeout,

were favorites of Lisa Narinian’s. The

communal feeling portrayed in The Dog

Run triggered a desire to go to New York

and The Chinese Takeout helped Lisa see

New York through the eyes of the characters

in the story . . . a testament to how

Nersesian’s writing can affect a reader.

Nersesian has been a fixture in the writing

scene for many years. He was an editor

for The Portable Lower East Side, which

was an important magazine during the

1980s and early 90s and for 10 years was

an English instructor at a community college

in the Bronx. He writes briskly and

acutely, with a good sense of detail. He is

also a poet and playwright and three of

his works have been optioned for film.

His most recent book, The Sacrificial

Circumcision of the Bronx, is the second

of five novels that features an Armenian

protagonist throughout the series. Uli

Sarkisian is a former FBI agent suffering

from amnesia trying to discover his

own past. His name alludes to Ulysses.

But I became fascinated with another

character, Paul Moses, who has a strong

secondary focus in Sacrificial Circumcision.

Paul was the estranged elder brother

of the wealthy and famed New York

architect, Robert Moses. Robert was

considered the “master builder” of mid-

20th century New York City, Long Island,

and Westchester County and was a

polarizing figure in the history of urban

planning as he changed shorelines and

transformed neighborhoods forever.

Nersesian’s own neighborhood in 1968

became a casualty of Robert’s urbanization

as his family was forced to move

from their Midtown apartment – the

result of an eviction to make way for an

office tower. It had a traumatic effect on

the 10-year-old Nersesian, and the following

year his parents divorced. Evictions

then became a part of Nersesian’s

life . . . in Brooklyn Heights with his

family, then Times Square, Chelsea, and

the Upper West Side until 1982, when he

found stability in a one-bedroom apartment

in the East Village, where he has

lived ever since.

Nersesian’s previous novels were about

marginal characters living in New York

who became victims of forces – personal,

political and social – they could not

comprehend. This new series is more in

the genre of science fiction fantasy and I

think it is prudent for readers to read the

first book in the series, The Swing Vote of

Staten Island; otherwise the story continuum

could become confusing. I asked

the author for a brief description of his

vision of the five stories: “Although the

story opens in America of 1980, Uli goes

through aspects of Ulysses’ journey in

both The Odyssey and The Iliad. In book

one, in this fictional place set up by the

federal government, Rescue City, we see

his fighting against the cyclops and the

sirens and so on. In book two, after he escapes

Rescue City, he finds himself stuck

in an abandoned subterranean shelter,

attempting to escape. Throughout book

two there are allusions to Hades.”

I went to Turkey in 1994.

I wanted a first-hand

experience and I found it

weird, a strange mix, and I

was getting ill.

Nersesian explains that while the series

can be considered a thriller, it is

also an alternate history of the United

States. “It opens with a fictitious ‘dirty

bomb attack’ on New York City in 1970.

Nixon is in power, the Vietnam War is

on, the Weather Underground and other

domestic terrorist organizations are

working. A major aspect of the work is

the government’s response to events.

When the lower classes of New Yorkers

are unable to find alternate living

conditions, the Feds step in, offering

temporary asylum to those who apply

– like New Orleans. This group consists

of fringe aspects of New York culture

as well as the American counterculture

at the time. But instead of a matter of

months, these people wait as years pass,”

he says.

As book one opens, it is 1980 and Uli

finds himself in the middle of this geographically

isolated city in the Nevada

desert, not knowing how he or anyone

else got there or who he is. Slowly he

comes to understand that the army

which initially governed the place has

pulled out. Rescue City is now divided

by two warring gangs that are much like

our political parties. Their slang names

are the Piggers (reminiscent of the Republicans)

and the Crappers (alluding to

the Democrats). Eventually he sees his

job there as trying to bring order and

restore freedom.

Arthur Nersesian is unique, and I’m not

sure where that places him in the gallery

Arthur Nersesian. Cover of Nersesian’s latest book.

of writers in my mind. Looking at his

picture you may think he is a replica of

one of the marginal characters he writes

about, but there is an interesting story

behind the wild hair and the less-thangroomed

beard. Arthur is one of three

sons born to an Armenian father and

an Irish mother. Since he was frequently

mistaken for Patrick, his identical twin,

Patrick asked Arthur to grow a beard so

that Patrick, the groom, would be easily

distinguishable at his wedding. I’m assuming

that by fulfilling his brother’s request,

Arthur either has a great sense of

humor or thoroughly enjoyed the new

identity, and I suspect it was probably

a bit of both. The Arthur I saw at the

Pasadena reading was clean shaven and

with his wavy gray hair looked more like

a 1960s English professor. And he was as

helpful as any teacher guiding a student

as he interrupted our brief interview to

spend time with a young Asian writer

who had mailed him a chapter from his

novel. Arthur is responsive to his fans

and his willingness can reap interesting

results such as this fascinating tale he

told me during our interview:

Arthur Nersesian: I got an email

from a fan who told me that my book

The Fuck Up was translated into Turkish.

I said ‘No.’ It was translated into several

languages but never Turkish. He suggested

I go on the Internet and type in

The Fuck Up in Turkish and tell me what

you see and I see this strange language

and did not recognize it, so I contacted

my publisher suggesting that my book

had been pirated or stolen, and they informed

me that they had sold the rights.

‘To Turkey?’ I asked. ‘Yes,’ they said. But

whenever they sold the rights they always

sent me a copy of the contract, but

in this instance they did not. ‘How could

you do this without even telling me,’ I

asked. I’m Armenian and I don’t know

how I would have reacted if I had known.

They did it behind my back with no indication

that they had done this.

Kay Mouradian: Did they pay you for

the translation?

AN: Yes, they lumped it into my royalty

check without telling me. There

was absolutely no indication that they

had done this. Soon afterward some

Armenian friends said this isn’t a bad

thing. There is a humanist and liberalist

movement in Turkey and seeing that

we Armenians are human beings and

we are writers is important and is good

for our cause. From now on people who

are reading my work are going to know

I’m Armenian. Chinese Take Out was the

only story where I mentioned I was Armenian

and from now on there will be

some kind of Armenian insignia in my

stories because I don’t want people to

think I’m not aware. What my publisher

did really pissed me off. If they had contacted

me I would have thought about

it and I don’t know if I would have accepted

the offer.

KM: Have you been to Turkey?

AN: My father’s father is from Harput

and his mother was from Constantinople.

I remember my father would

say he’d come home from school in the

1920s and his parents and their friends

would be somber or crying about their

lost ones and there was a heavy humidity

in the air. I think it had a really traumatic

effect on him. I went to Turkey

in 1994 because I wanted to see these

people. I wanted a first-hand experience

and I found it weird, a strange mix, and I

was getting ill. I wanted to see the place

where my grandmother was from. I still

think of it as Constantinople. On a tour,

Turkey still presents itself as a victim as

they said we were invaded by five armies,

the English army, the French army, the

Russian army and the Armenian army.

They actually said that. Wow, the Armenian

army really did a job on you guys!

After about a week when I was leaving,

a Turkish official took a look at my passport

and pulled me out of the line, let

everyone go and then with a smirk he

handed me my passport. I’m glad that

happened because any notion of reconciliation...

those people there don’t have

any perception of what really happened.

Jennifer Belle, author of High Maintenance,

describes Nersesian as this generation’s

Mark Twain and the East River

as his Mississippi. My own intuition predicts

that we will be hearing a great deal

more about this Armenian author. He

has a great talent. f

connect:

www.arthurnersesian.com

Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture November 8, 2008 C3


At National Veterans Creative Arts Festival

Karnig Thomasian wins first prize

by Lola

Koundakjian

Air Force veteran Karnig Thomasian, of

New Jersey, won first prize in this year’s

National Veterans Creative Arts Festival.

Thomasian had also won second prize

(in the monochromatic category) at the

same festival in 2007. There are 130 categories

offered in the competition.

Thomasian and his spouse, Diana,

were in California October 20–27 to

attend the event and accept the prize.

“Every VA hospital, in each of the states,

holds a competition,” Karnig Thomasian

said. “The winner then gets to go to the

national competition, all expenses paid.”

This year’s event was held in Riverside,

California, hosted by the VA Loma Linda

Healthcare System.

In his autobiography, Then There

Were Six: The True Story of the 1944

Rangoon Disaster (reviewed by William

A. Rooney for the Armenian Reporter

– February 2005), Thomasian

wrote about his experiences training

to be a gunner and flying around the

world in B-29s. At the time, the B-29

was the largest and most complicated

aircraft ever built – the Enola Gray,

which dropped bombs on Hiroshima

and Nagasaki, was a B-29.

Thomasian quit high school to volunteer

for the Air Force during World War

II. He trained as a riveter, then a special

B-29 gunner. After numerous training

stops and forming a team, Thomasian

served in Asia, where he survived the

Rangoon disaster and was captured by

the Japanese when he was 21 years old.

Upon his return to New York City as

a former POW, he continued his studies

under the G.I. Bill. Having been brought

up by a pianist mother and in a household

full of visiting artists, Thomasian

attended the Arts Students League (ASL)

for four years. Those were the golden

years of the institution, where the ghost

of Arshile Gorky held court – the artist

used to visit Stuart Davis there

prior to the war. Another war veteran

studying at ASL was Manuel Tolegian,

who became a close friend of Jackson

Pollock’s.

After graduating from ASL, Thomasian

married and continued his studies in

layout and typography, which gave him

opportunities to work in agencies all

over New York City. A successful career

ensued. He retired in 1996.

All was not easy for Thomasian who

grew up in a loving three-generation

household in Kew Gardens, N.Y. The

family moved to Washington Heights,

an Armenian enclave in northern Manhattan,

after his father lost his business

during the Crash of 1929.

Both of Thomasian’s parents hailed

from Istanbul. His mother moved to

Venice and then Paris, where she graduated

from the Conservatoire de Paris.

When Thomasian was growing up, his

parents held musical soirées on a regular

basis. They would invite musicians

Above: Karnig

Thomasian during

an exhibit of his

work. Photo: Diana

Thomasian.Left:

Karnig Thomasian

during the Reporter

interview, October

2008. Photo: Lola

Koundakjian. Below:

Portrait of Alfred

Goldstein – charcoal

drawing by Karnig

Thomasian. Right:

Portrait of a police

officer who perished

on 9/11. Pencil

drawing by Karnig

Thomasian. Below left:

The charcoal drawing

that won the first prize

of the 2008 National

Veterans Creative Arts

Festival.

such as Maro and Anahid Ajemian,

the co-founders of the Friends of Armenian

Music Committee in the 1940s.

The Ajemian sisters were closely linked

with the avant-garde composers of the

time and invited them along. Thoma-

sian’s memories from his teenage years

include watching composer John Cage

prepare a piano for one of his famous

pieces, which is played by altering the

sounds via various objects placed in the

strings of the instrument. Composer

Alan Hovhaness, another Ajemian

protégé, was also a frequent visitor to

the recitals.

As a former POW, Thomasian eventually

acknowledged suffering from posttraumatic

stress disorder. He joined

the American Ex-Prisoners of War

Organization and received treatment

from VA therapists. With the support

of his immediate family and other veterans,

he made it through it all. Today

Thomasian is a lecturer and an accredited

National Service Officer for the

American Ex-Prisoners’ Garden State

(NJ) chapter. Throughout the years,

he has helped over 50 combat veterans

with their needs, including getting

their disability compensations. In addition

to helping former soldiers and

POWs, Thomasian regularly lectures

in schools and teaches drawing classes

in an art school in New Jersey. f

connect:

portraitsbykarnig.com

1.va.gov/vetevent/caf/2008/Default.cfm

axpow.org/

C4 Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture November 8, 2008


The thrill of flying high

Hrair Hawk’s aerial

photographs of Armenia

by Betty

Panossian-Ter

Sarkissian

YEREVAN – The result of Hrair Hawk

Khatcherian’s flight over Armenia is a

dynamic new collection of photographs

which were on display in October, at the

Children’s Gallery in Yerevan.

“Heaven on Earth”

Heaven on Earth: Armenia Hawk’s Eye View

will be the title of Hawk’s album, a compilation

of aerial photographs of Armenia

and Nagorno-Karabakh.

The album will be the seventh by Hawk.

It will include a magnificent photo of

Lake Sevan, where the blue of the water

and the sky mingle with the beige

hues of the terrain. It will most probably

grace the cover of the album.

Lake Sevan “is a beautiful symbol of

Armenia. At the same time, this particular

photo will surprise the viewer. I want

my audience to see the pictures and say

‘This couldn’t be Armenia,” Hawk says.

The element of surprise is what makes

this collection even more interesting.

Unusual locations, hidden views of high

mountains and colorful visuals of terrain

punctuate the photos of churches

from new angles and aerial photos of

historical monuments. In a marvelous

picture, gray dots encircled with the

white of the snow are joined with canals

Great Aghi and Small Aghi Lakes.

of water shaping an out-of-the-ordinary

pattern. The photo was taken from the

skies above Karvajar, in Karabakh. “The

melted snow has no place to go and it

forms small ponds and canals, which

dry as soon as the weather gets warmer.

It looks like an abstract painting,” explains

Hawk. From Karvajar comes another

beauty, the photos of Great Aghi

and Small Aghi Lakes.

Flying over the Armenian sky, Hrair

Hawk is once again drawn to churches

and has photographed them from angles

never before seen in pictures. “One

needs to fly to get Garni in a photograph

from this angle,” says Hawk pointing to

a photo. He has also captured a rare picture

of Khor Virab, the result of his daring

flight as near to the Turkish border

as possible.

There is a shot of the ancient church

of Noravank pictured from the same

altitude as the mountains surrounding

the monastery, which has more than a

single message. “When one approaches

the monastery from the ground, it overwhelms

the visitor with its grandeur,

while from this height it looks as if it

is gulped by the mountain. It is simply

a small particle to the magnificence of

nature,” explains Hawk.

For this project, Hawk has partnered

with the Armenia Tree Project (ATP).

Many of the photos on exhibit, including

the one of Noravank, show swaths

of land that have become green zones

thanks to the ATP. Another such photo

is that of the dome of St. Gevorg Monastery

of Moughni, nestled among lush

trees also planted by ATP. The same photo

embraces the city of Ashtarak with

Mount Ararat in the background.

Land observed from the sky has no

border lines. “With this exhibition I

Temple of Garni.

want to make a point that in the sky we

really are liberated. There are no boundaries,”

states the artist.

Hawk is also interested in showing

the life that bursts from these lands

he has flown over. There is a photograph

showing a modest and comfortable

farm house amid green fields and

orchards which could be anywhere in

the world, except that it is in Armenia.

Another one draws a contrast between

life and death; in the foreground are

khachkars (stone crosses) of Noratuz,

those masterfully carved headstones of

the long-forgotten deceased, separated

by a green line of agricultural life in

the background.

Hawk first started to take aerial pictures

back in 1982, when he was a pilot

in the United States. His first opportunity

to take a helicopter flight over

Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh was in

1995, when “I noticed that Armenia indeed

has a very interesting topography,”

says Hawk. The result of that first aerial

journey was the album Flying Hye published

in 2006. This new aerial compilation

will complete the circle of Hawk’s

flight over the Armenian landscape.

“For my journeys over Armenia, I have

to thank the Ministry of Defense of Armenia,

which provided me with a helicopter,

and the members of the crew,

who we eager to assist me in my journey,”

he tells the Armenian Reporter.

Hawk plans to fly over the Armenian

skies sometime this fall, to capture the

autumn beauty of the Armenian landscape.

“I will concentrate on the region

of Lory, where thick forests will surely

display beautiful shades of red and gold,”

he says with a glint in his eye.

“Words cannot describe the thrill of my

flight. I can only attempt to express them

through my photographs,” says Hawk. f

Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture November 8, 2008 C5


Mapping Armenian literature of the diaspora

Questions of

language, hyphenated

identities, and politics

representation in

Armenian-North

American literature

by Talar

Chahinian

This is the third of a four-part exploration

by Talar Chahinian of issues in modern Armenian

literature. The previous parts appeared

in the September 20 and October 11

editions.

As we cross the Atlantic in our project

to map Armenian literature of the diaspora,

we find ourselves unable to continue

tracing literary production through

the notion of urban centers that serve

as the nucleus for an entire region or for

a distinct cultural narrative. Particularly

in North America, the history of Armenian

literature not only evades geographic

fixations, but urges us to extend our

cartographic project to both linguistic

and thematic realms. As such, in tracing

Armenian literature of North America

produced in the Armenian and English

languages, and by focusing on the latter’s

emphasis on the theme of genocide, we

will be confronted with the question of

what constitutes Armenian literature in

the diaspora. Within this larger inquiry,

a subsequent, and a more specific, question

befits the scope of the article more

appropriately: When does literature as

a mode of representation or resistance

cease from being art?

A large number of Armenians came to

the Americas from the Ottoman Empire

in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The pattern of immigration and settlement

consisted of two main waves: first,

following the Hamidian massacres of the

mid-1890s, and, second, following the

1915 massacres and mass deportations.

Aside from these two major influxes, in

the in-between years, the immigration

movement continued to grow annually,

as Armenians left Turkey due to continuing

political persecutions. According

to historian Robert Mirak, 67,000

Armenians had migrated to the United

States and Canada by the outbreak of

World War I, with another 23,000 arriving

by 1924’s U.S. Immigration Act,

which imposed a quota system. Most of

the Armenian immigrants in the United

States settled in northeastern states like

New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island,

Connecticut, and New Jersey, with another

significant portion settling on the

farmlands of the West Coast, in Fresno

County, California.

In many of these states, an active

immigrant press emerged to aid in the

process of community-building, alongside

religious and political institutions.

Michael Arlen born Dikran Kuyumjian on the

cover of TIME magazine.

Peter Balakian.

Among the various periodicals of the

time were Hayrenik, the political and literary

journal that began publication in

Boston in 1922, and the literary journal

Nor Kir, which began publication in New

York, in 1936. Both of these monthlies

gathered around their respective publications

groups of prominent writers

from both the surviving and orphaned

generations. Although many writers

from the Middle East or Europe contributed

writings to the journals, Hayrenik

and Nor Kir showcased also new voices

emerging in North America. This first

generation of Armenians in America,

which included Hamasdegh, Penyamin

Nourigian, Aram Haigaz, and Vahe Haig,

wrote their prose in the Armenian language,

often recounting stories of childhood

memories, of pastoral life set in

their native Armenian villages.

In time, there emerged a new generation

of writers for whom English had

become the language of choice for literary

expression. Although they wrote

and published in English due to their

limited access to training in the Armenian

language, they often drew from

their families’ immigrant experience for

the content of their prose and poetry.

Consequently, they developed a claim

to a hyphenated identity, the duality

of which lent itself nicely to the growing

discourse of an ethnically pluralistic

American society. The prototypical example

of this generation is the Pulitzer

Cover of Peter Sourian’s At the French Embassy in

Sofia.

Prize-winning William Saroyan, who is

soon followed by the likes of Peter Sourian,

Richard Hagopian, Agop Hacikyan,

and Peter Najarian.

It is not uncommon to find a translated

work of Saroyan, whose works are

incorporated into the American literary

canon and taught in high schools across

the nation, as well as featured in Armenian

literature textbooks and taught in

language and literature classes in private

Armenian middle and high schools

of the diaspora. Then, one might ask,

to which literary tradition does Saroyan

belong? To frame the question as such

will undoubtedly produce a futile and

reductionistic answer. In fact, the crosscultural

quality of his work increases

its significance and readability. Nevertheless,

within the Armenian diasporic

context, the issue of language-choice

vs. content, inherent in the question of

belonging, becomes detrimental to conceiving

any notion of literary history.

Lorne Shirinian, a poet and a scholar

of Armenian-North American literature,

disagrees with French-Armenian writer

and critic Krikor Beledian on this issue.

Whereas Beledian believes that the

Armenian language is the only site of

Armenian presence in the world, Shirinian

is reluctant to discount content and

a writer’s ethnic identity as markers of

an Armenian dimension in a work. He

argues on behalf of Armenian writers

who cannot speak the language but see

themselves as Armenian.

As valid and accepted as this latter

viewpoint is, especially within the discourse

of ethnic-American studies, it

can be dangerous to Armenian diasporic

culture, if either privileged as the preferred

mode of self-expression or seen

as the future Armenian literature of the

diaspora. The Western form of the Armenian

language, of course, will be particularly

at stake.

The increasingly preferential status

given to English-language works written

by Armenian authors derives in part

from the question of audience. In the

last few decades, second- or third-generation

Armenian-Americans have contributed

to the burgeoning publication

trend of memoirs by writing autobiographical

narratives on the theme of the

Armenian Genocide. Under the shadow

of Turkey’s denial and the United States’

William Saroyan.

refusal to officially recognize the events

of 1915 as “genocide,” English-language

works written on this theme are welcomed

by Armenians for serving a pedagogical

function and thus aiding the

cause for recognition.

A new generation of writers

for whom English had

become the language of

choice developed a claim

to a hyphenated identity,

the duality of which lent

itself nicely to the growing

discourse of an ethnically

pluralistic American society.

Two of the more widely read works in

this memoir genre are Michael Arlen’s

Passage to Ararat, published in 1975,

and Peter Balakian’s Black Dog of Fate,

published in 1997. Written in English,

these works attempt to approach the

theme of genocide through a two-level

narrative that presents the crisis of

hyphenated identity of its Armenian-

American authors, who, after undergoing

a process of self-discovery, arrive

at the moment of the 1915 Catastrophe

and feel compelled to narrate the story

of “the forgotten genocide.” The combination

of the personal narrative with

the historical one produces a hybrid

text that seeks to reconstruct the missing

archive of the Catastrophe, though,

I would argue, at the cost of representation.

The works become locked in the

impulse of providing proof and thus

writing from the perspective of the

executioner and his agenda of annihilation.

Both narratives begin by revisiting

the childhood and young-adulthood

years of the respective authors

and presenting their lack of awareness

about their Armenian heritage. Arlen

writes, “I became conscious of being accompanied

by a kind of a shadow of ‘being

Armenian.’” Armenia lingers in the

background of their everyday lives as a

mystical realm, which for the most part

Continued on page C11 m

C6 Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture November 8, 2008


Studio visit: Zadik Zadikian

by Christopher Atamian

Humanism by an(y) other

name

The female form never looked better than

this past week at Tom Otterness’ Brooklyn

studio, where Zadik Zadikian exhibited

his 2008 “Erotic Gold Sculptures.” These

ten exquisite works – made of fiberglass

with gesso and French clay and gilt in 24carat

double gold leaf – were laid out in

rows at waist height. They appeared to

leap out at visitors, so taut were their contours

and so vivid their energy. Measuring

about one foot in each direction, they

are built on a perfectly human scale, bold

but never intimidating. For Zadikian, who

spent much of his youth at the forefront

of the downtown New York art scene, the

show was a homecoming of sorts.

One shouldn’t make the mistake,

however, of thinking that these sculptures

are mere eye candy. Quite the contrary.

Aztec Queen sits on her haunches,

legs splayed, her bullet-shaped breasts

powerfully thrusting outward. Straight

Flush, on all fours, arches her muscular

posterior into the air, waiting to be

mounted. And the elegant yet terrifying

Sex Machine recalls Fritz Lang’s robots

in Metropolis. The sculptures fuse classicism

with a Brancusi-like respect for the

geometry of the curve. Hot (and cold to

the touch simultaneously), sensual yet

removed in their perfection, classic yet

kitsch, streamlined yet intimate, they

are Zadikian’s answer to both the machine

age and to the postmodern crisis

in representation.

Independent curator Neery Melkonian

suggests as much when she comments:

“Zadikian never abandoned modernism’s

love for the sensuous qualities of an art

object.” Zadikian is first and foremost a

humanist, someone deeply in love with

the human form, a worldview that puts

him squarely at odds with certain contemporary

art-world trends: “Zadikian’s

new sculptures,” Melkonian continues,

“simultaneously dematerialize and

rematerialize both form and content.

They are painstakingly and purposefully

crafted […] to bring us back in touch

with our humanity.” Zadikian also cleverly

subverts our basic associations with

both gold and the female body as objects

of sin and desire (for wealth, the flesh,

pleasure, etc). In doing so, he creates

objects that exist on their own aesthetic

and semiotic planes.

Zadikian has perfected his technique

over many decades of trial and error. To

make his erotic gold sculptures, he first

casts his clay molds in fiberglass. He

makes a gesso undercoat, sands layers of

red clay, and then brushes on the gold

leaf with a water-based mixture of gelatin

and alcohol. The entire process is both

time- and labor-intensive.

Escape from Armenia: calling

007

A bit of biographical backtracking helps

to shed light on Zadikian’s particular life

choices, his brash confidence as well as

his single-minded artistic vision. His life

story reads like a cross between a James

Bond movie and a John Le Carré spy novel:

the fact that he has emerged seemingly

unscathed from his past stands as a testament

to his inner fortitude.

Zadikian was born in Yerevan in 1946,

where he received his early training at

one of the many “youth palaces” established

by the Soviets. This was followed

by intense classical study at the Panos

Terlemezian Art Academy, Armenia’s

equivalent of RISD or the Beaux Arts.

It’s here that Zadikian first developed

a love for Western art and here as well

that he first had thoughts of escaping to

the West: “All the training we received

idolized the West. The Greeks, the Egyptians,

the Renaissance… Of course, they

tried to downplay what was happening

in Europe by telling us that Cubism, for

example, was trash. But we knew better.

We could sense the excitement of a

Picasso or a Miró.”

Soviet Armenia was no place for a

young, rebellious mind, particularly in

the early 1960s: “Yes, it’s in the Soviet

Union that Armenians rebuilt their culture

after the horrors of the Armenian

Genocide,” Zadikian explains, ”but

you have to remember that I grew

up at the height of Brezhnevian

Communism. It was the most conformist

time. Even someone like

[Martiros] Sarian, who had a brilliant

fauvist period, was forced

to paint along naturalist lines

eventually.” Zadikian concludes

simply: “Every young person

had a romance with the outside

world.”

So one night in the winter of

1965, as if writing their own Hollywood

adventure script, Zadikian

and four friends – Remi, Garo,

Razmik, and Pavlik – jumped into the

Aras River and swam towards freedom.

This was no easy task. They misjudged

the strength and temperature of the

river and almost froze to death. Razmik

and Pavlik were shot dead by Armenian

border guards, while Zadikian’s childhood

friend Garo was captured, imprisoned,

and tortured for the better part

of a decade. Emerging stark naked from

the Aras, Zadikian and Remi Manoukian

crawled through the mud, dodging bullet

fire from some one hundred Armenian

guards. Half dead, they jumped over a

second, smaller fork of the Aras onto

Turkish territory, where they eventually

found asylum. While being detained in a

refugee camp in Istanbul, Zadikian made

money selling clay pots that he fashioned

during his free time. He used these savings

to bribe a Turkish guard and obtain

papers that eventually brought him to

Beirut, San Francisco, and, finally, New

York. There, through a set of fortuitous

circumstances, he ended up working side

by side with Richard Serra, first as an assistant

and eventually creating work with

the now-famous artist.

The Midas touch

Gold has been on Zadikian’s mind

for a long time. Given his youthful

idealism and his Near Eastern

background, this fascination

makes perfect sense.

While gold is fraught with

all sorts of representational

and metaphorical symbols

and trap(ping)s (money,

greed, idolatry, success),

Zadikian associates it in

almost pagan terms with

the Sun and uses the

color and leafing in

large part for its

aesthetic qualities:

“To me

it’s a

positive,

M e d i -

terra-

nean force,” he says.

Once in New York, Zadikian quickly

caused a stir in the art world. At the

112 Greene Gallery show in 1973, he

spray-painted the whole gallery gold.

Gold dust fell to the floor, covering

it in a magical gilt carpet. He then

painted a 60-foot gold billboard at

the entrance of the Holland Tunnel,

lighting up this gray, predominantly

industrial neighborhood like a beacon

in the night sky.

The next step was to paint his studio

and living space gold: “When I painted

my interior space gold, I was creating a

positive energy field,” Zadikian explains.

In 1977, he gilded the entire entrance

to PS 1 in Long Island City, reaching

an apogée of sorts that coincided with

Straight Flush,

18 ½" x 21 ½" x 13,

burnished gold on

fiberglass, 2007,

pictured from three

different angles.

Aztec Queen,

18 ½" x 14 ½" x 8 ¾",

burnished gold on fiberglass,

2007.

his showing at the Tony

Shafrazi Gallery in the

closing years of the 70s.

In 1978, he exhibited

with Shafrazi’s Teheran

gallery. The title

of the show, “1000

Gold Gilt Bricks,”

speaks for itself. In

1980, it was the turn

of Tigran the Great, as

Zadikian exhibited gilt

coins of the Armenian

emperor at Shafrazi Gallery

in New York. A welldocumented

rift with the

controversial dealer and

the desire to start a family

eventually brought

Zadikian to Los Angeles,

where he now resides.

New York,

2008

Back in

his old

stomping

g r o u n d s ,

Z a d i k i -

an’s work

s e e m s

m o r e

r e f i n e d

t h a n

ever. His

Erotic Gold

S c u l p t u r e s

exude a timeless

sexual energy,

something

remarkably aesthetic

that manages to avoid

being vulgar. The great King Midas,

legend has it, turned everything he

touched to gold. His gift, of course,

turned out to be as much a blessing

as a curse, as even his loved ones were

doomed to be encased in gold for eternity.

King Midas was left alone to

grieve. In Zadikian’s case, time will

tell what his long-standing love affair

with all things gilt will bring him.

Recognition of both his ongoing talent

and the unique role that he has played

on the contemporary art scene are

the least that Zadikian deserves. f

The exhibit at the Tom Otterness Studio, 96 Fourth

Street, Brooklyn, New York, closed October 29.

Go to zadikzadikian.com to see more of Zadikian’s

work.

Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture November 8, 2008 C7


Evelina Galli: fabulous designer

for glamorous women

Her journey from Yerevan

to the runways of Los

Angeles

by Shahane Martirosyan

Glamorous is the word, Yerevan is the

birthplace, Evelina Galli is the name.

And you best not forget the name because

she is the woman who makes clothes

for “glamorous and chic women who are

not afraid to stand out in the crowd and

feel comfortable being like that.”

I met Evelina Galli at one of her trunk

shows in Glendale late last month. She

was displaying her Evelina Galli Collection

at her friend’s backyard. As I arrived early,

I had the opportunity to interview the designer

before guests began to arrive.

Evelina Galli redefined the meaning of

couture” during the Mercedes-Benz Show

Los Angeles Spring 2004, according to

fashionwindow.com. She presented only

12 designs there and was among a small

number of designers to bring haute couture

back to Los Angeles. Many fashion

critics were left in awe as they witnessed

her clothes on the runway.

Evelina’s unique journey to the runway

began at a very young age. Born

and raised in Yerevan, she always knew

what she wanted to be. “I didn’t have any

other choice” but to become a fashion

designer, she said. “I grew up in a family

of artists.” Her parents made printed

clothes and

created decorative

art

pieces. At 11,

she began

taking design

courses

after school.

She then

d e c i d e d

Evelina Galli adjusting one of her designs.

that she was ready to take her craft

more seriously.

As a young artist, at age 14, Evelina

began attending the best fashion design

school in Armenia, the prestigious Atex

Fashion Academy in Yerevan. Atex soon

turned into Evelina’s playground for

style experimentations.

“[Atex] was very strict, very professional.

I think that’s what really got me

started,” she said.

Within a year of entering Atex, Evelina

had her first collection ready to be showcased.

Her diploma collection, titled Flirting

in Springtime in Paris, was completed

in 1997. For this particular showcase,

Evelina began experimenting with higher-quality

materials such as silk. She used

pink and blue silk to create styles that

were reminiscent of 20s flapper girls.

“In Armenia, I didn’t have that many

resources, [and this] was to my advantage,”

Evelina said. “That pushes one to

be more creative.”

After graduating from Atex, Evelina

moved to New York City, where her

father was already residing.

“The plan was to go to the center

of fashion: Paris or New York,” she

said. “[But once I was there], I

thought, Los Angeles is so much

better, more fun, especially for

me to pursue my career.”

In Los Angeles, Evelina

continued her studies

at Otis College of Art

and Design. While there,

she won several fashion competitions

including the Rudy Genrick Award, the

Samsung Gold Medal (Seoul, Korea), and

the Onward Koshiyama Award (Tokyo,

Japan). To expand her resume, Evelina

also worked for major companies

such as Abercrombie & Fitch

and BCBG, to name a couple.

In 2002, Evelina launched

Absolutely Fabulous, Inc.,

which has two main

lines: Absolutely Fabulous

and Evelina Galli,

based in Los Angeles.

A year later, the

Evelina Galli line

was premiered at the

Mercedes-Benz Los

Angeles Fashion Week.

While most of the top

designers presented

laid-back lines including

T-shirts

and jeans, Evelina,

along with a couple

of other designers,

offered a smaller and

far more glamorous

collection. Overnight,

she became

a haute-couture

sensation.

Her designs are

one of a kind. She

primarily uses

silk to make her

shirts and dress-

es. In addition, all the silk clothes feature

delicately hand-painted prints. Evelina’s

mother, an artist in her own right, paints

on her daughter’s silk canvases, turning

each piece of clothing into a work of art.

At Evelina’s trunk show, I had the

pleasure of experiencing her designs

first-hand. Her line has vibrant colors,

and the prints are magical as they contrast

the silk beautifully.

Evelina’s recent line also includes dresses

and shirts knitted by Evelina’s mother

and grandmother. The collection displayed

at the trunk show included exuberantly

painted scarves – each, again, one of

a kind piece. Also, the collection has handmade

pillows that look too beautiful to be

classified as anything but works of art.

Evelina’s clothes are usually displayed at

trunk shows, as she prefers having full control

over the process of making and selling

each piece of article, created for “fabulous

people who go to fabulous parties.” f

connect:

evelinagalli.com

C8 Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture November 8, 2008


Brush strokes frozen in time

The art of Mary Zakarian

by Armina

Lamanna

During my interview with Mary Zakarian,

I was reminded of Francis Bacon’s words:

“I paint for myself. I don’t know how to do

anything else.”

A prolific painter of profound sensitivity

as well as an accomplished teacher, Zakarian

has depicted a wide array of subject

matter, with creations ranging from

complex emotional studies to reimaginings

of ancient Armenian architecture.

Zakarian’s family and its histories have

had a formative influence on the development

of her art. “My father [Movses

Zakarian] was a musician,” she reminisced.

“He played the zurna, the duduk,

and, later, the clarinet – when he came to

the States. He was excellent. We still have

recordings of him playing. Some of them

are at the Zoryan Institute.”

When asked if her mother, Areknaz,

was also an artist, Zakarian said, “Well,

we really don’t know. She was a witness

to a brutal massacre. Sometimes she

would pick up a pencil and do a little

drawing, but it never went anywhere.”

The massacre she referred to was the

murder of her mother’s first husband

and the horrific beheading of their two

children by the Turks during the Genocide.

Zakarian’s father, too, lost family

members – his first wife and four sons

– to the carnage. Movses and Areknaz

married a couple of years later.

“What inspires me to paint is my mother’s

sorrow,” Zakarian said. “She never

hugged or kissed us, because she witnessed

the murder of her [first] children. And I

didn’t know how to get close to my mother.

So I must’ve absorbed that pain and then

wanted to paint it. I painted heads all the

time. And I used my brush to caress her,

since I couldn’t do so in real life.”

Zakarian explained that she and her

three siblings eventually understood

why their mother refused to touch them.

“My father would play some music and

I would be painting in the next room,

then I’d hear my mom say that I didn’t

know what sorrow and tears were,” she

said, noting that those sorts of comments

added an element of morbidity to

her paintings. “The most precious painting

I have is that of my mother: the five

heads,” she said. “In the original painting

I had put myself in the middle, encased in

my mother’s sorrow. But later I removed

my head, because I thought that the five

heads told the story on their own.”

I had a difficult time getting Zakarian

to talk about her art in more detail. Susan

Jolley, her niece, who was with us during

the interview, provided this explanation:

“Mary’s art has always been a more eloquent

expression than her words – even

though now she is working on a book

about her life. My grandmother’s [Arek’s]

trauma became the driving narrative of

Woman with Candle.

The Clown.

Zakarian’s father.

the Zakarian family, even though it was

essentially an unspoken narrative. My

grandmother never spoke of the horrific

experiences she endured. We got bits and

pieces about her from other survivors. I

think that’s a really important point and

might explain the tormented expression

of my grandmother coming out again

and again in all of Mary’s portraits.”

Jolley added that Zakarian’s siblings

didn’t remember (or chose not to) their

mother’s emotional intensity. “They

would take exception to Mary’s depiction

of their mother – actually they

objected when Mary used to give lectures

on her art and the Genocide – but

Mary’s reality was very different from

theirs,” Jolley said. “She had a more

Zakarian’s mother.

Moghni.

conscious involvement in her mother’s

story. I think she probably has what one

might term the proverbial artistic temperament,

or at least a sensitivity to and

awareness of things most people learn

to ignore or filter out. That’s why I think

her art, at least her portraits, so closely

reflect the emotions of the massacre.”

In 1971, the artist opened the Zakarian

School of Art in Philadelphia. She taught

and inspired hundreds of students, many

of whom went on to study at prestigious

art colleges around the country. “You can’t

learn talent,” Zakarian said, referring to

her students. “Talent is God-given.” Three

years later, she visited Soviet Armenia and

painted it “top to bottom.” She returned

with 69 paintings, 47 of which she sold at a

single exhibition. In 1986, on the occasion

of the 100th Anniversary of the Statue

of Liberty, Zakarian was commissioned,

along with six other artists, to paint a representation

of the immigrant experience.

The painting she submitted, titled The

Face of Freedom, is featured on her website

(maryzakarian.com).

Today Zakarian is as ever prolific. “I

can’t stop painting,” she said. “I can put all

my joy and sorrow into my art. The brush

does everything for me.” And she added,

by way of offering a basic advice to aspiring

and practicing artists alike: “Give to

the world what God gave you to give!” f

connect:

maryzakarian.com

Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture November 8, 2008 C9


eST PST

22:00 1:00

22:30 1:30

23:00 2:00

23:30 2:30

0:30 3:30

1:30 4:30

2:30 5:30

3:30 6:30

4:00 7:00

4:30 7:30

5:00 8:00

6:00 9:00

7:00 10:00

8:00 11:00

8:30 11:30

9:00 12:00

9:30 12:30

10:00 13:00

11:00 14:00

12:00 15:00

12:30 15:30

13:30 16:30

14:00 17:00

15:00 18:00

16:00 19:00

16:30 19:30

17:00 20:00

18:00 21:00

18:30 21:30

19:15 22:15

19:40 22:40

20:30 23:30

21:30 24:30

Program Grid

10 – 16 November

10 November 11 November 12 November 13 November 14 November 15 November

Monday TueSday WedneSday ThurSday Friday SaTurday

Bumerang

Armenian Wedding

Blitz

CLONE

Snakes & Lizards

Armenian

Movie

PS CLUB

Cool Program

Tele Kitchen

Bari Luys

Like A Wave

Snakes & Lizards

PS CLUB

Cool Program

Armenian Wedding

Weekend News

CLONE

Unlucky Happiness

Tele Kitchen

Like A Wave

YO YO

Snakes & Lizards

CLONE

Unlucky Happiness

Harevaner

News

Gyanki Keene

Cool Program

Bernard Show

Bari Luys

News

Bumerang

Armenian Wedding

Blitz

CLONE

Snakes & Lizards

Unlucky Happiness

Harevaner

Gyanki Keene

Cool Program

Tele Kitchen

Bari Luys

Like A Wave

Snakes & Lizards

Gyanki Keene

Cool Program

Armenian Wedding

News

CLONE

Unlucky Happiness

Tele Kitchen

Like A Wave

YO YO

Snakes & Lizards

CLONE

Unlucky Happiness

Harevaner

News

Gyanki Keene

Cool Program

Bernard Show

Bari Luys

News

Drop Of Honey

Armenian Wedding

Blitz

CLONE

Snakes & Lizards

Unlucky Happiness

Harevaner

Gyanki Keene

Cool Program

Tele Kitchen

Bari Luys

Like A Wave

Snakes & Lizards

Gyanki Keene

Cool Program

Armenian Wedding

News

CLONE

Unlucky Happiness

Tele Kitchen

Like A Wave

YO YO

Snakes & Lizards

CLONE

Unlucky Happiness

Harevaner

News

Gyanki Keene

Cool Program

Bernard Show

Bari Luys

News

Drop Of Honey

PS Club

Blitz

CLONE

Snakes & Lizards

Unlucky Happiness

Harevaner

Gyanki Keene

Cool Program

Tele Kitchen

Bari Luys

Like A Wave

Snakes & Lizards

Gyanki Keene

Cool Program

Boomerang

News

CLONE

Unlucky Happiness

Tele Kitchen

Like A Wave

YO YO

Snakes & Lizards

CLONE

Unlucky Happiness

Harevaner

News

Jagadakri kerinere

Cool Program

Bernard Show

Bari Luys

News

Discovery

Cool Program

Blitz

CLONE

Snakes & Lizards

Unlucky Happiness

Harevaner

Jagadakri kerinere

Cool Program

Tele Kitchen

Bari Luys

Like A Wave

Snakes & Lizards

Jagadakri kerinere

Cool Program

Boomerang

News

CLONE

Unlucky Happiness

Tele Kitchen

Like A Wave

YO YO

Snakes & Lizards

CLONE

Unlucky Happiness

Harevaner

News

Jagadakri kerinere

Cool Program

Bernard Show

Bari Luys

News

Noraduz medieval cemetery

A khatchkar haven and

a place of ancient lore

by Nyree

Abrahamian

Noraduz is a medieval cemetery

with a huge collection of early

khatchkars (Armenian cross

stone carvings). Following the recent

destruction of khatchkars in

Julfa, Nakhichevan, by the Azerbaijani

government, Noraduz has

the largest surviving collection of

khatchkars both within the present-day

Republic of Armenia and

throughout historic Armenia. The

cemetery is located in the village of

Noraduz, in Gegharkunik province

near Lake Sevan.

Noraduz cemetery is spread

over a 17-acre field containing almost

1000 khatchkars, each with

unique ornamentation. The oldest

khatchkars in the cemetery

date back to the 10th century.

Many are from the 16th and 17th

centuries, when there was a revival

of the khatchkar tradition

under the Persian Safavid Empire,

with oriental influences seeping

into Armenian art. Each khatchkar

tombstone has a story. Several

of them are decorated with

intricately carved scenes depicting

weddings, farming, and life’s

happy occasions.

Today, the ancient khatchkars

of Nordauz are covered with moss

and lichen. A modern cemetery has

Noraduz Cemetery.

been built adjacent to the medieval

one, separated by a long fence. The

new tombstones have realistic portraits

of the deceased sandblasted

into the stone, but somehow, they

lack the spiritual aura surrounding

the mossy khatchkars from the

Middle Ages.

Cemetery turned

Battlefield?

There is a great deal of folklore surrounding

Noraduz Cemetery. According

to one popular tale, when

the army of Tamerlane invaded, the

villagers placed helmets on top of

the khatchkars and leaned swords

against them. From a distance, the

tombstones looked like strong,

sturdy armed soldiers, intimidating

Tamerlane and his army enough to

prompt their retreat.

Buried alive…

Another popular story is about the

19th century monk, Ter Karapet

Hovhanesi-Hovakimyan, who conducted

burial services at Noraduz.

When he was 90 years old, he asked

his fellow monks to bury him alive.

His last words were: “I do not fear

death… Never fear anything, but

Discovery

Cool Program

Blitz

CLONE

Snakes & Lizards

Unlucky Happiness

Harevaner

Jagadakri kerinere

Cool Program

Express

The Armenian

Like A Wave

Snakes & Lizards

Jagadakri kerinere

Cool Program

A Drop of Honey

News

CLONE

Fathers & Sons

Express

Like A Wave

Bumerang

Snakes & Lizards

CLONE

Armenian

Movie

News

Jagadakri kerinere

Cool Program

Bernard Show

The Armenian

News

16 November

Sunday

Dar

Cool Program

Blitz

CLONE

Snakes & Lizards

Armenian

Movie

Jagadakri kerinere

Cool Program

Express

The Armenian

Like A Wave

Snakes & Lizards

Jagadakri kerinere

Cool Program

A Drop of Honey

Weekend News

CLONE

Fathers & Sons

Express

Like A Wave

Bumerang

Snakes & Lizards

CLONE

Dar

Discovery

A Drop Of Honey

Weekend News

PS Club

Armenian

Wedding

The Armenian

Weekend News

God alone. Let anyone who has fear

come to my burial stone and pour

water on it. Drink the water, and

wash your face, chest, arms and

legs. Then break the vessel that contained

the water. Fear will abandon

you.” To this day, people come to

Ter Karapet’s grave to perform this

ritual. f

C10 Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture November 8, 2008


Watch Armenia TV on Dish Network. To get a dish and subscribe, call 1-888-284-7116 toll free.

Satellite Broadcast Program Grid

10 – 16 November

10 November 11 November 12 November

Monday TueSday WedneSday

eST PST

4:30 7:30 News in

Armenian

5:00 8:00 Good

Morning,Armenians

6:00 9:00 Bumerang

6:20 9:20 When the stars

dance-Concert

7:30 10:30 Jo-Jo

7:55 10:55 Blef

8:20 11:20 Bernard Show

9:00 12:00 News in

Armenian

9:25 12:25 Bernard Show

10:00 13:00 A Drop of

Honey

10:25 13:25 Yere1(ye:re:

van)

10:50 13:50 Telekitchen

11:15 14:15 Armenian

Diaspora

11:40 14:40 Cool Program

12:00 15:00 News in

Armenian

12:30 15:30 Fathers and

Sons

13:30 16:30 Blitz

13:50 16:50 When the stars

dance

14:15 17:15 The Pages of

Life-New Serial

15:00 18:00 News in

Armenian

15:30 18:30 Neighbours-

Serial

16:10 19:10 Point of view

16:15 19:15 Seven Sins-

Serial

16:55 19:55 Unhappy

Happiness - Serial

17:35 20:35 My Big, Fat

Armenian Wedding

18:00 21:00 News in

Armenian

18:30 21:30 Cost of life-

Serial

19:05 22:05 Escape-Serial

19:40 22:40 11-Serial

20:05 23:05 Bernard Show

21:00 0:00 News in

Armenian

21:30 0:30 The Armenian

Film

23:30 2:30 Telekitchen

0:00 3:00 Yere1(ye:re:

van)

0:25 3:25 Yo-Yo

0:50 3:50 VOA(The Voice

of America)

1:15 4:15 Blitz

1:35 4:35 Armenian

Diaspora

1:50 4:50 Point of view

1:55 4:55 When the stars

dance

2:20 5:20 Bumerang

3:00 6:00 The Pages of

Life-New Serial

3:45 6:45 Seven Sins-

Serial

eST PST

4:30 7:30 News in

Armenian

5:00 8:00 Good

Morning,Armenians

6:00 9:00 Bumerang

7:05 10:05 My Big, Fat

Armenian Wedding

7:30 10:30 A Drop of

Honey

8:20 11:20 Bernard Show

9:00 12:00 News in

Armenian

9:25 12:25 Bernard Show

9:40 12:40 Neighbours-

Serial

10:20 13:20 Unhappy

Happiness - Serial

11:00 14:00 Telekitchen

11:25 14:25 Cost of life-

Serial

12:00 15:00 News in

Armenian

12:30 15:30 Escape-Serial

13:05 16:05 11-Serial

13:30 16:30 Blitz

13:50 16:50 When the stars

dance

14:15 17:15 The Pages of

Life-New Serial

15:00 18:00 News in

Armenian

15:30 18:30 Neighbours-

Serial

16:10 19:10 Point of view

16:15 19:15 Seven Sins-

Serial

16:55 19:55 Unhappy

Happiness - Serial

17:35 20:35 My Big, Fat

Armenian Wedding

18:00 21:00 News in

Armenian

18:30 21:30 Cost of life-

Serial

19:05 22:05 Escape-Serial

19:40 22:40 11-Serial

20:05 23:05 Bernard Show

21:00 0:00 News in

Armenian

21:25 0:25 Bumerang

23:00 2:00 A Drop of

Honey

23:30 2:30 Telekitchen

0:00 3:00 Health

Program

0:35 3:35 In fact

0:50 3:50 Yerevan Time

1:15 4:15 Blitz

1:35 4:35 Cool sketches

1:50 4:50 Point of view

1:55 4:55 When the stars

dance

2:20 5:20 Blef

3:00 6:00 The Pages of

Life-New Serial

3:45 6:45 Seven Sins-

Serial

eST PST

4:30 7:30 News in

Armenian

5:00 8:00 Good

Morning,Armenians

6:00 9:00 Morning

Program

7:30 10:30 My Big, Fat

Armenian Wedding

7:55 10:55 Yere1(ye:re:

van)

8:20 11:20 Bernard Show

9:00 12:00 News in

Armenian

9:25 12:25 Bernard Show

9:40 12:40 Neighbours-

Serial

10:20 13:20 Unhappy

Happiness - Serial

11:00 14:00 Telekitchen

11:25 14:25 Cost of life-

Serial

12:00 15:00 News in

Armenian

12:30 15:30 Escape-Serial

13:05 16:05 11-Serial

13:30 16:30 Love Eli

13:50 16:50 When the stars

dance

14:15 17:15 The Pages of

Life-New Serial

15:00 18:00 News in

Armenian

15:30 18:30 Neighbours-

Serial

16:10 19:10 Point of view

16:15 19:15 Seven Sins-

Serial

16:55 19:55 Unhappy

Happiness - Serial

17:35 20:35 My Big, Fat

Armenian Wedding

18:00 21:00 News in

Armenian

18:30 21:30 Cost of life-

Serial

19:05 22:05 Escape-Serial

19:40 22:40 11-Serial

20:05 23:05 Bernard Show

21:00 0:00 News in

Armenian

21:25 0:25 The Armenian

Film

22:40 1:40 Cool Program

23:05 2:05 A Drop of

Honey

23:30 2:30 Telekitchen

0:00 3:00 Fathers and

Sons

0:55 3:55 VOA(The Voice

of America)

1:15 4:15 Blitz

1:35 4:35 Love Eli

1:55 4:55 When the stars

dance

2:20 5:20 Bumerang

3:00 6:00 The Pages of

Life-New Serial

3:45 6:45 Seven Sins-

Serial

13 November 14 November 15 November 16 November

ThurSday Friday SaTurday Sunday

eST PST

4:30 7:30 News in

Armenian

5:00 8:00 Good

Morning,Armenians

6:00 9:00 Morning

Program

7:05 10:05 My Big, Fat

Armenian Wedding

7:35 10:35 Health

Program

8:25 11:25 Yerevan Time

8:35 11:35 When the stars

dance

9:00 12:00 News in

Armenian

9:25 12:25 Point of view

9:40 12:40 Neighbours-

Serial

10:20 13:20 Unhappy

Happiness - Serial

11:00 14:00 Telekitchen

11:25 14:25 Cost of life-

Serial

12:00 15:00 News in

Armenian

12:30 15:30 Escape-Serial

13:05 16:05 11-Serial

13:30 16:30 Love Eli

13:50 16:50 A Drop of

Honey

14:15 17:15 The Pages of

Life-New Serial

15:00 18:00 News in

Armenian

15:30 18:30 Neighbours-

Serial

16:15 19:15 Seven Sins-

Serial

16:55 19:55 Unhappy

Happiness - Serial

17:35 20:35 Blef

18:00 21:00 News in

Armenian

18:30 21:30 Destiny

Captives-Serial

19:05 22:05 Escape-Serial

19:45 22:45 Tonight show

with Hovo

20:25 23:25 Point of view

20:30 23:30 Yere1(ye:re:

van)

21:00 0:00 News in

Armenian

21:25 0:25 Bumerang

22:00 1:00 Bernard Show

23:05 2:05 Yo-Yo

23:30 2:30 Telekitchen

0:05 3:05 When the stars

dance-Concert

1:15 4:15 Blitz

1:35 4:35 Love Eli

2:00 5:00 Tonight show

with Hovo

2:45 5:45 Health

Program

3:00 6:00 The Pages of

Life-New Serial

3:45 6:45 Seven Sins-

Serial

PST PST Friday 14.11.08

4:30 7:30 News in

Armenian

5:00 8:00 Good

Morning,Armenians

6:00 9:00 Morning

Program

7:05 10:05 Cool Program

7:30 10:30 A Drop of

Honey

8:10 11:10 Armenian

Diaspora

8:35 11:35 When the stars

dance

9:00 12:00 News in

Armenian

9:25 12:25 Point of view

9:40 12:40 Neighbours-

Serial

10:20 13:20 Unhappy

Happiness - Serial

11:00 14:00 Telekitchen

11:25 14:25 Destiny

Captives-Serial

12:00 15:00 News in

Armenian

12:30 15:30 Escape-Serial

13:05 16:05 In fact

13:20 16:20 Love Eli

13:45 16:45 Blef

14:15 17:15 The Pages of

Life-New Serial

15:00 18:00 News in

Armenian

15:30 18:30 Neighbours-

Serial

16:15 19:15 Seven Sins-

Serial

16:55 19:55 Unhappy

Happiness - Serial

17:35 20:35 Yere1(ye:re:

van)

18:00 21:00 News in

Armenian

18:30 21:30 Destiny

Captives-Serial

19:05 22:05 Escape-Serial

19:45 22:45 Tonight show

with Hovo

20:25 23:25 Point of view

20:30 23:30 Cool Program

21:00 0:00 News in

Armenian

21:25 0:25 A Drop of

Honey

22:00 1:00 Bernard Show

23:30 2:30 Telekitchen

0:00 3:00 Fathers and

Sons

1:15 4:15 Health

Program

1:35 4:35 Love Eli

2:00 5:00 Tonight show

with Hovo

2:40 5:40 Point of view

2:45 5:45 In fact

3:00 6:00 The Pages of

Life-New Serial

3:45 6:45 Seven Sins-

Serial

PST PST

4:30 7:30 News in

Armenian

5:00 8:00 Bumerang

6:00 9:00 Morning

Program

7:00 10:00 Yere1(ye:re:

van)

7:25 10:25 Fathers and

Sons

8:35 11:35 When the stars

dance

9:00 12:00 News in

Armenian

9:25 12:25 Point of view

9:45 12:45 Health

Program

10:20 13:20 Unhappy

Happiness - Serial

11:00 14:00 Yerevan Time

11:25 14:25 Destiny

Captives-Serial

12:00 15:00 VOA(The Voice

of America)

12:20 15:20 Escape-Serial

12:55 15:55 In fact

13:05 16:05 Neighbours-

Serial

16:15 19:15 Seven Sins-

Serial

17:00 20:00 A Drop of

Honey

17:25 20:25 Armenian

Diaspora

17:40 20:40 Cool Program

18:00 21:00 News in

Armenian

18:25 21:25 Destiny

Captives-Serial

19:00 22:00 When the stars

dance-Concert

20:00 23:00 Tonight show

with Hovo

20:40 23:40 Point of view

20:45 23:45 11-Serial

22:00 1:00 Bernard Show

23:30 2:30 Telekitchen

0:00 3:00 VOA(The Voice

of America)

0:20 3:20 A Drop of

Honey

0:45 3:45 Armenian

Diaspora

1:10 4:10 Yerevan time

1:35 4:35 Love Eli

2:00 5:00 Tonight show

with Hovo

2:40 5:40 Point of view

2:45 5:45 In fact

3:00 6:00 Fathers and

Sons

3:45 6:45 Seven Sins-

Serial

Mapping Armenian literature of the diaspora

n Continued from page C6

produces a sense of unease by disrupting

the authors’ hegemonic American

identity. In time, it becomes impossible

not to confront the “shadow” of being

Armenian, which ultimately ends up

being a confrontation with the Catastrophe.

For Michael Arlen, this turning

point arrives as a result of the death of

his father, who had survived 1915 but

hid his Armenianness for most of his

life. Random encounters with Armenians

in his community allow Arlen the

opportunity to obtain Armenian history

books and journey into the ancient

past. Arlen walks his readers through

his readings of these books, citing

them, summarizing them, and quoting

from them. Amidst the reading process,

he adopts feelings of nationalism, begins

to refer to Armenians in the collective

pronoun “we,” develops his curiosity,

and eventually takes a trip to

Armenia, the story of which makes up

the second half of the book. The sight

of the Armenian national symbol, Mt.

Ararat, which can be seen from the Armenian

capital of Yerevan but is found

on Turkish territory, prompts Arlen to

encounter Armenia’s more recent past,

hence the Catastrophe and its denial.

While in Armenia, Arlen begins to

read once again, this time picking up

books that deal with the Armenian

Question. In the latter part of his

book, Arlen recounts Ottoman history,

provides a character sketch of Sultan

Abdul-Hamid, who was responsible for

the massacres of 1895, and introduces

the regime of the Young Turks, citing

and quoting various sources very

much in the style of a research paper.

He presents himself as a sort of detective,

seeking to solve the “mystery” of

the past, the solution of which, according

to him, lies in the construction of a

coherent narrative of the murder of a

people. Upon arriving at the moment

of the Catastrophe, Arlen presents a

new set of sources that contributes

to the process of historicizing 1915.

Here, we read excerpts from German

eyewitness testimonies and first-hand

survivor accounts that allow Arlen to

understand the idea of being “hated

unto death” and thus enable him to

salvage the memory of his father, who

was marked by this hatred as a survivor

of the Catastrophe.

The turn toward discovery for Peter

Balakian is marked by the passing

of his grandmother, a survivor of

1915. Upon witnessing her traumatic

flashbacks and hallucinations on her

deathbed, Balakian claims it is his responsibility

to uncover the story of the

Catastrophe, which she had suppressed

throughout her life. He writes, “I realized

that she was my beloved witness,

and I the receiver of her story.” With

this, his search begins. First, Balakian

reproduces passages from the memoir

of Henry Morgenthau, who was the

American ambassador to the Ottoman

Empire and present during the siege of

Van in 1915. He then finds and reproduces,

photographically, a legal document

filed by his grandmother against

the Turkish government. Then he recounts

the survival story of her aunt

that explicitly narrates the victim’s experience

of the Catastrophe. And, finally,

he reproduces a petition that he

drafted, titled “Taking a Stand Against

the Turkish Government’s Denial of the

Armenian Genocide and Scholarly Cor-

PST PST

4:30 7:30 The Armenian

Film

6:00 9:00 VOA(The Voice

of America)

6:20 9:20 Morning

Program

7:25 10:25 A Drop of

Honey

7:50 10:50 Cool Program

8:10 11:10 Bernard Show

9:00 12:00 Blef

9:25 12:25 Yere1(ye:re:

van)

9:50 12:50 When the stars

dance-Concert

11:00 14:00 Destiny

Captives-Serial

11:35 14:35 Unhappy

Happiness - Serial

14:25 17:25 Yo-Yo

14:50 17:50 My Big, Fat

Armenian Wedding

15:50 18:50 Cost of life-

Serial

17:00 20:00 A Drop of

Honey

17:25 20:25 Destiny

Captives-Serial

19:00 22:00 Escape-Serial

21:00 0:00 News in

Armenian

21:30 0:30 The Armenian

Film

22:50 1:50 Cool Program

23:10 2:10 Bernard Show

0:00 3:00 VOA(The Voice

of America)

0:20 3:20 Health

Program

0:50 3:50 Yo-Yo

1:15 4:15 Yere1(ye:re:

van)

1:40 4:40 Blitz

2:00 5:00 A Drop of

Honey

2:30 5:30 Fathers and

Sons

3:30 6:30 Bumerang

ruption in the Academy” and signed by

a number of distinguished writers and

scholars such as Susan Sontag and Arthur

Miller.

Toward the end of his memoir, Balakian

poses the question, “How is an Armenian

to live with the predicament of

Turkish denial? And how is one to heal?”

He offers “commemoration” as the answer

to these questions, for he claims

that it “publicly legitimizes the victim

culture’s grief.” Thus we can perhaps read

his memoir as a commemorative piece

that seeks to legitimize the victim’s grief

by informing an English-reading public

about the forgotten genocide.

By explicitly writing against denial,

Arlen’s and Balakian’s memoirs reinforce

the position of the Armenian as a

voiceless victim. I would like to propose

that literature, as an artistic medium,

can be seen as a site of mourning only

if it seeks to represent an experience of

catastrophe by demonstrating the paradox

intrinsic to the definition of catastrophe:

that of the need to represent

and mourn, coupled with the impossibility

to represent and the interdiction

of mourning. f

Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture November 8, 2008 C11


w w w. h a y a s a . u s

10x15.indd 1 9/22/08 3:48:09 PM

C12 Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture November 8, 2008

HP-AD08-12E

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines