An Armenian textile exhibit is now on display at the Lynn Museum. Museum’s Executive Director Drew Russo describes it as symbolic of an important story, one that perhaps is even more powerful given the current turbulent circumstances both nationwide and throughout the world, according to Wicked Local.
This April 24 marks the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, a horrific event in which more than a million Armenians were killed and thousands more forcibly removed from their homeland during the reign of the Ottoman Empire in early 20th century Eastern Europe.
“The magnificent aspect of this display is that it represents the preservation of Armenian culture and traditions and how they were kept alive even after the genocide,” said Russo.
“It demonstrates the heroic efforts of those who were able to escape – how they made sure their traditions were preserved even after being forced to vacate their home,” he said.
The exhibit, entitled “Heartstrings: Embracing Armenian Needlelace, Embroidery and Rugs,” opened in February and is running through June at the museum. The show displays items from the collection of Mary Mooradian, which includes the work of former Lynn resident Abraham Megerdichian, who made “wonderful, artistic creations” using leftover scrap material brought home from his job at General Electric, according to Russo.
Just as Armenians worldwide commemorate the anniversary of the genocide in order to honor those lost, the Lynn exhibit will be further enhanced by the one-day appearance of a seldom-viewed and rare collection of Armenian inscribed rugs from the personal collection of Raffi Manjikian.
The Manjikian collection will be on display, Saturday, April 22, from 10 a.m. until noon.
“[The rugs] are devotional and memorial pieces with iconography that marks that period in history. They show the dates and names of people,” Manjikian explained. “As a person of Armenian descent, whose grandparents lost loved ones in the genocide, I belief objects like this that come into our hands have important stories to tell. So much can get lost in times of turmoil. We need to preserve what we can.”
Manjikian said this is a part of his collection that has not previously been showcased publicly.
“These are pieces I usually share only with close friends but Mary asked if I’d be willing to display them at this exhibit,” he said. “I’m an enthusiastic collector and I’m fortunate to have these items in my collection. It’s part of an immigrant story, really, and it reinforces the importance of highlighting and showcasing works from people of all cultures.”
Russo said the exhibit is a way of keeping memories and history alive – a powerful reminder to never forget.
“I think the exhibit has an important story to share, a story we need to be reminded of, especially at a time like this in our history,” he said. “There’s so much richness and hope yet so much tragedy wrapped up in the work [on display]. We’ve been fortunate to be able to work with Mary and Raffi to help bring this story to life.”