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  • Writer's pictureInternational Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies

Awareness Through Art: Marking Genocide Awareness Month

Art, Human Rights, and Genocide studies.

April 1, 2021: The month of April is dedicated to genocide awareness, and as the Zoryan Institute adapts to the changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s always striving to find new ways to increase such awareness, and acknowledge the importance of genocide education.

Last April, the Zoryan Institute shared the Clips from the Collection Series, which allowed for observance and commemoration of the Armenian Genocide from the safety of our homes. This year, the Zoryan Institute is pleased to provide another unique and visual way to mark Genocide Awareness Month, the Forces & Factors Art Book and Virtual Gallery.

The Zoryan Institute believes that art can transcend the barriers of language, provoke thought, and promote and inspire social change. The Forces and Factors art book presents both the academic work of the Zoryan Institute and artistic representations of the forces and factors that shape our lives relating to the topics of genocide, human rights, diaspora, and homeland relations, while the virtual gallery showcases a sample of the multi-media found in the book with pieces from a diverse group of local and international artists.

This Genocide Awareness Month, the Zoryan Institute encourages you to take part in the conversation by exploring awareness through art and sharing with your networks.

The Forces & Factors Virtual Gallery

In 2019, the Zoryan Institute successfully used art to showcase its work in human rights, genocide studies, and diaspora-homeland relations through the publication, Forces and Factors(find it here!).

To make this initiative more accessible and interactive, the Zoryan Institute designed and curated the Forces & Factors Virtual Gallery. The art featured in the gallery, contributed by an array of talented local and international artists, has the ability to transcend nationality, background and beliefs. While a specific piece may be personal to the artist, all of the pieces in the gallery are capable of resonating with a wide range of diverse experiences.

Launching The Gallery & Connecting with the Artists

On February 25, 2021, the Institute held a virtual grand opening event to launch this unique initiative. So many of you joined us for a first look, and to hear from some of the artists themselves, gallery and Art Book contributors, Jackie Kazarian, Nima Arabi, Carolina Uscategui, and Talin Megherian.

Each artist was able to talk through their piece, the inspirations and passion behind their work, and how human rights and art converge in the art they produce.

Read what the artists had to say about the intersection between art, culture, identity, and conflict below. The full panel discussion can be watched here.

"I can't get away from speaking to the genocide because that is part of working out the other question of your identity and your history and where you come from. In my art it's not only about that, culturally there are so many rich things that are also part of my art." - Talin Megherian

"When you ask what has influenced me the most, there are so many other things within Armenian culture besides the visual elements that I immediately think of. I think of the food and the making of food. For instance, I've done several painting wallpapers and those pieces were inspired by the memories I had of the wallpaper in my Grandmother's I would have to help her making paklava" - Jackie Kazarian
"Homeland [the piece] is the third part of a series, and all are somehow, different than my drawing practice. Through all of these installations, I'm trying to understand my identity, my culture, and my personal history." - Nima Arabi
"I think as a process of the photographs [of mine] we've seen is me coming to a closure with a life that is now lost, that was through the eyes of a six-year-old when she was in Columbia. Through my work, I have also realized that the riches I have gained from Canada, and even Canada's own riches through its social, economic and political policies, are all gained at some point through the dismissal of Colombia. That tug and pull, that tension, it really puts in perspective, who I am between these two worlds." -Carolina Uscategui

How To Explore the Gallery

The Forces & Factors Virtual Gallery is found online via ArtSteps software. By clicking the image of the gallery below you can enter into the gallery, walk around, and explore the many pieces for yourself!

Using the < and > arrows on your keyboard navigate around the gallery.

To learn more about a piece, click once on the image and a short caption will appear.

Use the map in the bottom left-hand corner to jump between spots in the gallery.

Want a hands-free tour? Press play and sit back as we take you through the story of Zoryan Institute’s work through artistic representations.

Finally, click here to listen to a specially curated playlist while you explore the gallery!

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