Providence gallery owner Berge Zobian is proud of his Armenian roots. This month Zobian is honoring his heritage in a somber way with Studio Z’s “Centennial Armenian Genocide” exhibit, the Providence Journal reports.
Providence gallery owner Berge Zobian is proud of his Armenian roots. When he moved the original Gallery Z to Federal Hill more than a decade ago, he proudly invited artists of Armenian descent to exhibit at the gallery. Since then, he’s created a website devoted to contemporary Armenian art while continuing to showcase the work of Armenian and Armenian-American painters, printmakers and photographers.
This month Zobian is honoring his heritage in a more somber way with Studio Z’s “Centennial Armenian Genocide” exhibit. Featuring a mix of fine art, archival material and a series of talks and performances, the exhibit commemorates one of the darkest chapters of the 20th century: the systematic expulsion and murder of more than 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turkish forces between 1915 and 1922.
“For Armenians everywhere, this is really a major part of our history and identity,” Zobian says. “What the Holocaust is for people of Jewish descent, the Armenian Genocide is for people of Armenian ancestry. “Unfortunately, for many years it was treated as a historical footnote — or even worse, as if it never happened. It’s really only in the last few decades that people have started speaking out about it.”
Zobian himself has been speaking out for some time.
Five years ago, he organized an exhibit commemorating the 95th anniversary of the American Genocide at the URI-Feinstein campus gallery in downtown Providence. Like the centennial exhibit, that show featured a combination of period photographs, vintage newspaper clippings and other archival materials, along with original artworks inspired by the tragedy.
This time around Zobian is following a similar format, mixing historical and artistic responses to the Armenian Genocide. At the same time, he’s added a series of Thursday night talks and presentations, as well as a secondary exhibit of “art windows” (facing Washington Street) at the URI-owned Shepard’s Building in downtown.