This composition is dedicated to all genocides of the world. The horrific concept behind “genocide” has deeply affected me as a human being and as an artist. The idea is that one group of people carries out the systematic killing of all the members of another national, ethnic, or religious group, not in the context of war, or to gain power, or to conquer land, but solely in the attempt to entirely eradicate that group. The Armenian Genocide is the first Genocide of the 20th century and has affected and continues to affect every single Armenian today, as we are the continuation of the generations past and have witnessed year in year out the endless cry for justice for the death and destruction which occurred in 1915. 2015 will mark the 100 year commemoration of the Armenian Genocide and it is imperative to put our collective efforts and support to promote this memorial in remembrance of not only each and every fallen Armenian, but also for the Genocide victims in all parts of the world.
The composition consist of a multitude of charred trees, uprooted, broken, bent, entwined, forming a narrow alley through which the viewers must pass through to get to the end. More specifically, the trees will be apricot trees that will be transported from those regions where most atrocious mass killings took place, and will be cast in bronze and burned to symbolize the slayed victims. The trees are in different shapes, heights and sizes, representing children, women and men who perished. Once beautiful and radiant with life and fruit, these trees are now burned and beaten to the ground…a ground that is stained red from the blood of the murdered.
As one enters the solemn alley, one will feel the deadening pressure of the charred branches extending sharp from all sides and stooping down from above. With each step forward, one will be forced to bow further down, bend and stoop like the trees, feeling the agony and destruction all around. As one walks through the alley, one will step on the red soil made uneven from the entangled, struggling, heaving roots… roots callously uprooted in vicious rage and unimaginable cruelty.
During the entire walk through the alley of the charred trees the spectator will be surrounded by the suffering and death that characterizes all genocides, ending the grave walk at the circular opening of the focal point of the composition. The spectator will at last reach the open space, enclosed by trees. In the center stands a beautiful tall red poppy, which is prevalent in meadows and valleys of the magnificent Armenian landscapes. The poppy has emerged from the soil…from the collective force of the roots deep beneath the soil…
As fragile as its red petals are and as slender as its stem is, this new life stands striking and proud, having at its foundation the strength of an undying will and the persistence of a relentless spirit…As William Saroyan writes, “I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race; this small tribe of unimportant people whose history is ended, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, whose literature is unread, whose music is unheard, whose prayers are no longer uttered. Go ahead, destroy this race. Let us say that it is again 1915; there is war in the world. Destroy Armenia. See if you can do it. Send them from their homes into the desert.
Let them have neither bread nor water. Burn their houses and their churches. See if they will not live again. See if they will not laugh again. See if you can stop them from mocking the big ideas of the world. You sons of bitches. Go ahead, try to destroy them."