Centennial Armenian Genocide Exhibit Opens at Studio Z with Month-long Events

The Armenian Genocide, the first genocide of the 20th century, was started in the late 19th century by the Sultans, subsequent rulers, and Turkish Army commanders of the Ottoman Empire.

April 24, 1915, marked its beginning with the rounding-up, imprisonment and execution of hundreds of Armenian community leaders and intellectuals, mainly from the capital of the Ottoman Empire. This date is designated by Armenians worldwide to commemorate the victims of the Armenian Genocide.

During WWI, the government of the Young Turks, who had overthrown the Sultan in 1908, adopted an official policy in 1911 to “Turkify” the non-Turkish peoples within the vast but weakened Ottoman empire. The Armenians presented a particularly obstinate cultural obstacle; secret orders were issued for local authorities “to take prior necessary measures for exterminating the Armenians.” Ultimately, systematic massacres, expulsions, deportations, forced death marches into the Syrian deserts, mass starvation and forced conversions ensued. Out of the over two million Armenians inhabiting the Ottoman Empire at the onset of WWI, one and a half million were annihilated between 1915 and 1923. Another half a million were deported or became refugees abroad.

Studio Z Director Berge Zobian will commemorate the 100th anniversary by continuing a tradition at his gallery – curating an extensive multimedia exhibit, the Centennial Armenian Genocide Exhibit with a full program of activities and live performances.

Original and historic art work, archival material and propaganda affiches, posters, prints, books and heirlooms from or pertaining to the era of the Armenian genocide will be displayed. Historical materials will be supplied by The Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute in Yerevan, Armenia, AHARI (Armenian Historical Association of Rhode Island — the exhibit’s primary sponsor) and from private collections. All donations and 10% of art work sales will go to SOAR, (Society For Orphaned Armenian Relief), which is a nonprofit international organization (soar-us.org).

Historical materials include 30 turn-of-the-century enlargements of “Armenian Genocide: Front Page Coverage in the World Press,” provided by The Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute in Yerevan, Armenia; 50 years of political posters, affiches and propaganda art; and historical posters of the Near East Relief Fund (NERF) along with archival artifacts and heirlooms provided by AHARI. Also, the Genealogy Subgroup of Armenian Historical Association of Rhode Island (AHARI) will be present on Thursdays at Studio Z Gallery during its Centennial Armenian Genocide Exhibit.

Complementing the visual portion of the exhibit and activities at Studio Z, Steven Pennell, coordinator of the Urban Arts & Culture program at URI’s Feinstein-Providence Campus, will display 120 linear feet of posters and original art relating to the Armenian genocide in the URI Providence Library Window Gallery at 80 Washington Street throughout April.

Zobian invites visitors to all or any of the moving exhibits and activities commemorating the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide, to participate in the critical ongoing remembrance and acknowledgment of the first genocide of the 20th century.

The Armenian Genocide remains unacknowledged officially by the present-day Republic of Turkey. “Genocide kills twice, the second time by silence.” Elie Wiesel (writer and Holocaust survivor)

“Armenia is dying, but it will survive. The little blood that is left is precious blood that will give birth to a heroic generation. A nation that does not want to die, does not die.  Anatole France (French author, 1916; Nobel Prize in Literature, 1921)

Butcher Block Mill, 25 Eagle St, PVD. The month-long exhibit will run from April 2 – May 2, with an opening reception on Thurs, April 16, from 5 – 9pm.

Starting on April 9 and continuing each Thurs in April, multiple presentations will take place beginning around 7:30pm, including theatrical readings, poetry recitations, live music and theater, historical documentary film screenings, artist talks and lectures. Watch for music performed by Motif contributor Angelo Marinosci Jr. on the 23rd, accompanied by readings by renowned local Shakespearean Bob Colonna. Video footage on a continuous loop will be projected during the course of the entire exhibit. The activities will be updated on the exhibit’s dedicated website: armeniangenocide100years.com

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