by She Loves Collective
December 3, 2022 - January 29, 2023
250 N. Orange St., Glendale, CA 91203
SHELTER is a temporary installation in remembrance of the 44-day Artsakh War of 2020.
As Armenian communities confront an ongoing existential threat, the question of collective survival is once more rendered uncertain. A small but storied nation that is land-locked between competing geopolitical agendas and maneuvered as pawns of a chess game. Genocide and seemingly perpetual warfare are a constant reminder of the fragility of survival. In 2020, as the world was in the throes of a global pandemic, Armenians were once again shaken by an attack that led to the loss of thousands of young soldiers and innocent civilians.
As grief echoes in the moments following the war, crisis lingers with every passing day as more and more young soldiers are killed protecting their native homelands due to ongoing military violence. Armenians across the globe rally for justice
and support knowing their survival lies in looking onward. In a time of desensitization and escapism, it is paramount that community members allow themselves to process their traumas in a constructive way.
In creating a safe space for shared experience, planting seeds with the intention that they expand within the community through healing.
This multimedia installation is sponsored by the Glendale Arts and Culture Commission through funding from the Urban Art Fund with support from Glendale Library, Arts & Culture.
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SHELTER represents the culmination of a methodical compositional process involving detailed craftsmanship, careful weaving techniques, precise measurements, and community-activating tasks. That process began with the collection and transcription of nearly 4000 names of the soldiers who died during the 44-day war. The installation displays these names on white ribbons, each meticulously measured, and hand stamped. The white ribbons are woven into a specific pattern, intertwined with camouflage-colored ribbons, and suspended from the ceiling in a chilling representation of the magnitude of loss incurred in the war. The outer shell of this ribboned module is intended to provide protection and support for each name: a shelter.
BUNKER is a multimedia immersive space that invokes the interior of a bunker in wartime. A video showcases drone footage of Armenian landscapes synchronized with spoken word and sound.
RITUAL is a regenerative space of healing that intends to evoke all six senses. It comprises fresh herbs such as thyme, mint, rosemary, and basil — each symbolic of growth, nature, and nutrition. This space is also decorated with roughly 50 pounds of salt and 200 pounds of wheat, substances believed to have ancient healing capabilities, which often appear in storytelling as soothing elements.
REVIVE consists of a single projection showcasing imagery of everyday life in Armenia. Though the current reality in Armenia is encompassed by war, this room focuses on life beyond tragedy. These images serve as a reminder that though hearts are heavy, the sun will once again return to the mountains and treetops.
Ani Nina Oganyan
Aleen Makarid Khachatourian
Glendale Library, Arts, and Culture
SCH & Associates