CBS Chicago
April 17 2015

April 17, 2015 9:31 AM

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The 100th anniversary of the start of the Armenian
genocide is next week and a Chicago artist is marking the occasion
on canvas.

Jackie Kazarian's painting is called "Armenia." Her grandmothers
survived the Armenian genocide at the hands of Ottoman Turks; in
which as many as 1.5 million Armenians were killed in what is now
part of Turkey, but which used to be part of Armenia.

"My grandmother did needlework and cooked for me as a child. They
took care of us, and so I really wanted to do something to sort of
honor their memory," she said.

Some of her grandmother's needlework designs are included in the
painting, which stands 11 1/2 feet tall and 26 feet wide.

Kazarian's grandmother Mariam was about 13 when her family fled to
Damascus, after her father was taken away, and then she was abducted
by a Turkish sultan, but rescued by British forces.

Mariam eventually ran across Jackie Kazarian's uncle, who was in
Damascus looking for brides for he and his brother back home in
Waukegan. Mariam married the brother, sight unseen.

Kazarian's other grandmother, Elnus, was from a wealthy family that
fled to the hills when the genocide began; but Elnus eventually went
back to her hometown and worked in an orphanage, where she taught
piano to a Turkish soldier's wife.

Kazarian's painting celebrates the landscape and the culture of the
Armenian people, as well as Karzarian's family.

She said she chose the painting's size based on Picasso's famed work,
"Guernica" which is believed to have marked the 1937 bombing of
Guernica, Spain.

"Armenia" will be on display at Kazarian's studio at 2233 S. Throop
St. through May 29, and eventually will be exhibited around the world.