9-11 is my largest and most important work. I Thought about painting 9-11, but never felt as strongly about it until visiting the memorial. I saw the remaining of the towers, the fire truck. I heard the audio of people who left messages to their loved ones for the last time… I knew I was ready to paint 9-11. I painted 2977 candles – 1 candle for each victim. There is the Fire truck which is in the museum. There is the famous wall street the day of the attack, and the ruins of the buildings. Firefighters helping each other, they are devastated but not broken, they raise the American Flag to show the world – you destroyed our towers but you can not destroy our soul. This painting is about the attack but also recovery, so we see airplanes crashed, then in the middle of the painting we see the aftermath, the devastation but also a hope for tomorrow… Left of the painting is the Memorial and the rebirth, remembrance and respect to the victims of 9-11 and the Great city of NY.
The Smoke Artist
Based on true story...
"I was only 5 when it all started. They took my father at night. I still remember that sad smile on his face and how he waived at us for the last time. we never saw him again.
Next morning my mom, my tween brother and I were told to leave our home. They were deporting us to Syria with other Armenians.
They were forcing us all to leave our homes with nothing, only taking what we were wearing at the time.
I didn't know how many days we were marching through the hot desert, it was an endless hell!
My brother and I were crying and asking our mom for water and food, when one of the Turkish officers came to us and offered to go to their shelter and get some food. my mom was too scared to follow him,
but the Turkish officer calmed her down and promised he wouldn't heart us adding: "we are not monsters, don't be afraid!
We didn't have much choice, so we followed him.
After we ate a little, my mom asked if we could leave, but as she saw the officer’s malicious smile on his face, she understood something horrifying was going to happen. My poor mom started crying and begging him to let us go...
My mom would prefer to be killed than to accept what he had said...my mom had to chose one of us and kill (choking) her other baby...
What could have poor woman done??? Did she have a choice?
It’s been more than 70 years, but I still remember my brother's eyes looking at me when my mom held him in her arms.
I realized our life would never be the same.
When we got to city Aleppo my mom lost her self, since she couldn’t take the pain, she took me to Orphanage and said she is going back for my brother. That was the last time I saw my mom...
Till this day I blame myself for death of my brother."
Heads of Armenian leaders Oil on canvas 2005 72''x 51''
Pain Oil on canvas 58"x 80" 2008
Life and death Oil on canvas 2004 72''x 24''
Heads of Armenian leaders Oil on canvas 2005 72''x 51''
The Armenian Genocide.
The term "genocide" was coined by Raphael Lemkin (1900–1959), a Polish-Jewish legal scholar, in 1943, firstly from the Latin "gens, gentis," meaning "tribe, clan, or race," or the Greek root génos (γένος) (family, tribe or race - gene); secondly from Latin -cide (occido—to massacre, kill).
...any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
When we hear of a genocide, we imagine something horrifying, imagine annihilation, pain, suffering...But think how much worse that pain becomes when the genocide is officially denied, unrecognized and forgotten.
At the turn of the 20th century when the world was engaged in World War I, the government of Young Turks in Turkey planned and realized the first genocide of the 20th century. In the period of 1915-1923 more than 1.5 million Armenians were massacred in Eastern Anatolia or what was the historical Western Armenia.
The Armenian Genocide was carefully organized and realized by the government. First, Armenian males were called to the army. They were then disarmed and sent to the labor camps where they were finally massacred in the most horrifying ways. Then in the spring of 1915 the Armenian population was ordered deported from their homes. Convoys consisting of tens of thousands of Armenian women, children and the elderly were driven hundreds of miles toward the Syrian desert of Der-Zor. The deportations were disguised as a resettlement program but their main objective was not to let a single Armenian alive. On their ways, Armenians had to deal with starvation, diseases, outraged army soldiers and even local population who were told by their religious leaders that it is ok to kill Armenians, it is the way to heaven. The convoys were frequently attacked by bands of criminals organized by the government for the purpose of slaughtering the Armenians. Those who survived the long “journey” to Der-Zor were killed in the desert when they reached it. All this demonstrates the genocidal intent of the “deportations”. Many of the survivors went insane seeing their families die in the most horrifying ways. A number of younger women and some orphaned children were also abducted and placed in Muslim harems which was even worse than death for the Christian Armenians.
“Through methodically organized deportation, systematic massacre, deliberate starvation and dehydration, and continuous brutalization, the Ottoman government reduced its Armenian population to a frightened mass of famished individuals whose families and communities had been destroyed in a single stroke.”
Despite the vast amount of evidence today the Turkish government consistently denies the fact that this was genocide. Many countries in the world still haven’t recognized the Armenian Genocide either. Though forty US states have officially recognized the Armenian Genocide, the United States doesn’t recognize the Armenian genocide because of its military and economic interests in Turkey. The Turkish government even threatens the countries that want to recognize the Armenian Genocide.
April 24th is the Day of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide.
Armenians want to show the world how cruel the genocide is, and FORGETTING PAST CRIMES WE RISK TO SEE THEM REPEATED IN THE FUTURE.