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Collage. 

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Yum. 

2023

Collage of black and white paper 

36inch x 47inch 

Framed: $7,000

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Let me eat Cake! 

2023.

Collage of white and inked paper. 30inch x 35inch.

Framed: $6,000

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Caged.

2022.

33inch x 42inch.

Collage of black and white paper.

Framed: $7,000

Flying. 

2023.

Collage of white and black paper. 37inch x 37inch.

Framed: $6,000

Black Swan. 

2023.

Collage of back and white paper and ink.

33inch x 45inch.

Framed: $6,000

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Inside- Out. Art-y-Choke! 

2023

Collage of pen and ink on paper 

12inch x 15inch

Framed: $2,500

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RIP pillow 

2024

Collage of ink and wash on paper

21inch x 29inch 

$2,500

Diptych: And life in-between.

2022

Collage of black and white paper

Each: 16inch x 16inch 

Framed: together -$3,000

He welcomed me with a bouquet of closed flowers. He left when the flowers opened white. 

2023

Collage of black and white paper + wash.

18inch x 24inch

Framed: $2,500

Old City Collages. 

Spring, 2015:

In April 2015, my Armenian friends invited me to join a march commemorating the centenary of the Armenian massacre by Ottoman Muslim forces. The Armenian people, once divided between two vast Ottoman and Russian Empires, are now a tiny Christian country situated between two hostile Muslim states, Turkey and Azerbaijan.  As we marched, it became clear that our gathering was more than just commemorating the event. We were there to support Armenia's ongoing efforts to achieve global recognition that approximately 1.2 million Armenian people massacred in 1915-16 were victims of Genocide rather than mere crimes against humanity.

Winter, 2023:

On the drive from Tbilisi to Yerevan, I thought about the 2015 march. I was invited to Armenia to make artwork about Kond, the city's ancient Muslim Quarter, now threatened with destruction by local developers. I was excited to create artwork as part of a campaign with historical, political, and sociological underpinnings that extended beyond the traditional impetus for my work: my internal dialogue. 

The Re School commissioned my project. Re is a postgraduate program teaching architects to preserve endangered heritage sites. My exhibition about Kond at the Palazzo Pisani Revedin in Venice overlapped with the 18th Architecture Biennale. My artworks contributed to the debate about whether or not to preserve Kond, a controversial topic, given it is a site of Muslim heritage in a Christian country. 

As I wandered around the windy streets of Kond, I thought about an appropriate way to convey what I saw for the Venetian show. The area is a unique neighborhood with homes mostly made from what residents found on the streets. On one street, a row of doors becomes a wall. Around a corner, a series of staircases lead to nowhere. Islamic architectural details remain throughout the neighborhood. The district boasts several derelict Mosques that local authorities are in no hurry to restore. During the 1915-16 Genocide, many Armenians escaped the Ottoman Empire and sought the safety of Kond's confusing layout and general inaccessibility. 

It saddened me to think about the potential destruction of  Kond's vernacular architecture and its impact on one thousand Arminians identifying and living as Muslims today. This impending demise of Kond's unique character, home of the remaining Yerevan Muslim population, instilled an imperative to record its atmosphere in my artwork.

Kond:

Armenia is, to this day, the only Apostle Christian nation in a devout Muslim region, yet Kond hosts a community of Islam deep within Yerevan.

Kond captivates me because it has survived global realignment, religious intolerance, and the wholesale architectural revision of Yerevan.

When the Ottoman and Russian Empires collapsed, the newly formed Soviet Union made Yerevan the capital city of the Armenian Republic in 1922.  

The newly formed USSR was determined to create futuristic cities for their new Soviet citizens. The Soviet-Armenian architect Alexander Tamanyan spearheaded A General Plan, which reorganized Yerevan around a grid of prospects and avenues. Because Kond was such an isolated area, it survived the Soviet bulldozers. Today, Kond thereby stands as an awkward monument to a Muslim presence that most Christian Armenians would rather leave behind.

September 2023:

Upon returning to New York, I responded to Kond's architecture by creating a series of collages employing a construction mode similar to how the quarter was built. By cutting random geometric shapes out of black paper swatches and fitting them into my composition, I replicated how the inhabitants of Kond might have wandered the city, collecting debris for house construction. Aided by information regarding building methods, I would recreate a house's general shape, the staircase's tilt, or the street's perspective. 

I drew from the Islamic tradition of highlighting geometric shapes rather than figures. In my works, I combined abstraction with the practicalities of handmade homebuilding, creating a springboard for viewers to appreciate nonlinear organic city planning in an increasingly geometric world. By forgoing the figure, I also made the illusion of ghostliness as though someone had just walked out of the frame. 

By choosing collage for my Kond project, I acknowledge this medium invented just three years before the Genocide by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. Collage at the time would have been considered, along with cinema, the most revolutionary form of contemporary expression. Delving deeper into the medium's evolution, I was struck by Robert Motherwell's punchy collages commenting on post-war 1950s America. These influences paved the way for me to appreciate how papier collé could be a tool for political discourse.

October 2023:

While I was researching and making the collages, Hamas attacked Israel on October 7th.  

As Human Rights organizations rushed to explain competing allegations, it became imperative for me to separate the difference between the ideas of 'crimes against humanity' and 'genocide.' 

My research indicated that the distinction lies in the intent of the party inflicting the massacre: Does the agent admit to aspirations of destruction for an entire ethnic group? 

After the end of WWII, few Nazis denied their genocidal aims. 

Today, the Turkish foreign ministry argues that the 1915-16 slaughter was because of Armenian retaliation, which continues to this day, due to which one cannot apply the same terminology to the 1915-16 Armenian massacre and the Holocaust 1939-1945. 

While the global awareness of the Armenian 'genocide' is less than that of the Holocaust, To Armenians, it is clear that the events of 1915-16 are nation-defining. Acknowledgment of the massacre of 1.2 million people is necessary and overdue for the people of Armenia.

During my research, it occurred to me that Kond functions as both a refuge for the remaining Muslim population and a complicated vessel of the collective memory of a time when large, hostile, multinational, multi-ethnic Empires ruled the world. Paradoxically, if one wonders what old, mostly Christian Yerevan looked like during the time of the Genocide, the answer today lies in Muslim Kond.  

The most significant piece of my series, House of Kond, consists of nine pieces of paper interconnected by their frames. It was challenging to ensure that each piece aligned with the adjacent frame of the picture to create a cohesive image of a typical house in Kond. Through this method, I wanted to recreate what it felt like to piece together the rich tapestry of Kond's history.

The mood of my artworks represents the resilience and suffering of the Armenian people who strive for justice on the international stage. Studying Kara Walker's cut-paper silhouettes helped me see how powerful a message could be by pasting cut-out black paper on a white sheet.

I created collages that addressed the past while advocating for Kond's future as a livable area for contemporary Yerevanians. My nine artworks showcased the importance of saving this district, highlighting how religion, local politics, and history are integral to understanding and shaping the architecture of heritage sites such as Kond. 

My work also illustrates the deprivation of the Muslim Armenians who are left behind as "enemies" within the segregated Kond. I wanted to avoid portraying the Muslim population of the Konds as "other," which is why I chose not to depict the ruins of Mosques. Instead of emphasizing alienation, I created works that feature the domestic architecture of the area, making my work universal.

Venice, November 2023:

During the conference, I observed Armenian architects and government officials who argued for the demolition of Kond, admiring my collages. Ironically, viewing my works displayed across the globe in a Venetian Palazzo, Kond could only then be appreciated for its beauty rather than its controversy.

New York, February 2024:

In 2023, only 31 UN member states recognized that the horror in Armenia was a Genocide. Due to Turkish backlash, no reparations have been paid to the Armenian population. 

It is still being determined whether city authorities will give in to local developers and allow Kond to be destroyed.

A house in the Old City.  

2023

Collage of black and white paper. 

52inch x 38inch. 

Framed: $10,000

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