Glendale Library Arts & Culture and ReflectSpace Gallery present Sites of Fracture: Diasporic Imaginings of Occupied Artsakh, a virtual exhibition that brings together diasporan Armenian artists—from the United States, Canada, and Germany—to build collective counter-narratives to the forces of occupation and cultural erasure in the Republic of Artsakh.
In September 2020, the autocratic state of Azerbaijan invaded the Republic of Artsakh and initiated an campaign of ethnic cleansing targeting its Indigenous Armenian population. With a vastly out-financed military and direct support from Turkey, Azerbaijan succeeded in occupying large swaths of Artsakh. In the process, thousands lost their lives and 100,000 Armenians were displaced from their ancestral homes.
The global Armenian diaspora was gripped by the collective trauma of watching a campaign of ethnic cleansing unfold via digital screens and televisual transmissions. As Indigenous Armenian heritage faced systematic destruction, a cadre of diasporan Armenian artists responded with projects that counter the attempted erasure of Armenian identities, histories, and cultural artifacts.
Artists and cultural workers in the exhibit include Kamee Abrahamian, Ali Cat/Entangled Roots Press, Silvina Der-Meguerditchian, Naré Mkrtchyan, Nelli Sargsyan, She Loves Collective, Scout Tufankjian, Anahid Yahjian and Yerazad Coalition.
Sites of Fracture also gestures towards the repatriation of ancestral lands. The virtual exhibition takes place in the photographically reconstructed fortress of the city of Shushi—Artsakh’s historical cultural capital, now occupied by Azerbaijan. In the process, Sites of Fracture imagines decolonized futures for Shushi, envisioning an independent Republic of Artsakh wherein Indigenous communities exercise the right to self-governance and cultural autonomy.
Sites of Fracture: Diasporic Imaginings of Occupied Artsakh is co-curated by Mashinka Firunts Hakopian, Ara Oshagan and Anahid Oshagan and is part of the Glendale Library Arts & Culture’s Armenian Genocide Remembrance Month.
Sites of Fracture is also part of the Glendale Library Arts & Culture’s (GLAC) “Be the Change” series focuses on: Inclusion – Diversity – Equity – Antiracism. “Be The Change” events will build collective understanding of systemic racism, elevate the voices and stories of BIPOC, and inspire our community to be the change. “Be The Change” is sponsored by the City of Glendale, California Arts and Culture Commission, with funding from the City of Glendale Urban Art Fund.
"To Intervene at a Distance”: an online discussion with selected artists from Sites of Fracture
Date and Time: April 29, at 5-6 pm PST
Moderated by: Co-Curators Anahid Oshagan, Ara Oshagan, and Mashinka Hakopian
Carene Rose Mekertichyan, Yerazad Coalition
Selected artists from Sites of Fracture will gather for a lightning round of five-minute presentations addressing the question: As diasporan cultural workers, how do we intervene in crises at a distance? Artists’ presentation will be followed by a Q&A moderated by the exhibition’s co-curators.