Ara Oshagan, Levon Parian, and Vahagn Thomasian, “IWitness” public art installation, Glendale Central Park (photo by Nicole Dedic)

With an Armenian-American population estimated to be as great as 35%, Glendale, California is one of the most prominent cultural centers of the Armenian diaspora. It is rich with Armenian food, music, art, as well as the painful, collective memory of the Armenian Genocide, which resulted in the deaths and displacement of the majority of the two million Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire a century ago.

A major feature of the newly reopened and renovated Glendale Downtown Central Library is the ReflectSpace, an exhibition space dedicated to exploring major atrocities and human rights issues around the world. Their first show titled Landscape of Memory: Witnesses and Remnants of Genocide will focus on the Armenian Genocide, featuring personal narratives from survivors and artwork by their descendants. Upcoming shows will look at immigration, Japanese internment, the roots of US slavery, the Rwandan Genocide, and the Holocaust.

A related part of the exhibition will take place in Glendale Central Park, just outside the library’s entrance. “IWitness” is a large, public art installation created by artists Ara Oshagan and Levon Parian with architect Vahagn Thomasian. The work takes the form of a field of irregularly shaped monoliths through which visitors can walk, each one bearing the photographic portrait of a survivor as a testament to their humanity and resilience.

When: Opens Friday, May 19, 6–8pm
Where: Glendale Downtown Central Library (222 E. Harvard Street, Glendale, California)

More info here.

Matt Stromberg

Matt Stromberg is a freelance visual arts writer based in Los Angeles. In addition to Hyperallergic, he has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, CARLA, Apollo, ARTNews, and other publications.