Jackie Kazarian paints the Guernica of the Armenian Genocide

Jackie Kazarian. Remember that name. If Creative Mesos was the Justice League, Jackie would be Wonder Woman. Using her distinct childhood memories, Jackie keeps the testimony of her Armenian heritage alive through her paintings. However, being a Creative Mesopotamian isn’t about clinging to what you have, it’s about maintaining a balance of cultures, while staying true to one’s identity. The purpose of her mural on the centennial memorial of the 1915 Genocide (more famously known as the Armenian Genocide) was influenced by Spanish painter, Pablo Picaso’s piece in response to the first bombing of a civilian village during the Spanish Civil war.

“…people know about Guernica and remember it and know about the events because of that painting. So I think somewhere in my mind I was thinking, people don’t know about the Armenian Genocide and if I made a painting like the scale of Guernica, people would know about it.

Pablo Picaso, Guernica

Pablo Picaso, Guernica

“First it’s got to be a great painting and then, because it’s a great painting, people know what it’s about.”

Jackie Kazarian painting segment

“I was getting these beautiful memories of her kitchen, her hands in the dough making baklava, kneading the dough in the water and I would be in a trance in the wallpaper on the wall. And the wallpaper had these little vignettes of people toiling, carrying buckets of water over a bridge and — you know tilling the fields, and there was big white spaces from one to the next. I really attribute much of my visual, kind of, agility in working when I started painting with these early experiences of imagining these people jumping across white spaces as if the white space was this great abyss.“

“So I started the process, in earnest, by going to Boston in March of this year [2015]. (I) went to ALMA (The Armenian Library and Museum of America) in Watertown and spent two days in the library there just reading, looking for material and images and reading history, you know just immersing myself. I came back and started to do paintings and for the first two months I just imagined myself as being one of the painters of the illuminated manuscript.”

To learn more about Jackie, visit her site at jackiekazarian.com
Documentry by Avo John Kambourian

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