'Project1915': Chicago Artist Creates Monumental Painting to
Memorialize Genocide

By Contributor on December 24, 2014

Chicago painter Jackie Kazarian is creating a painting of enormous
scale both in size and subject matter to memorialize the 20th
century's first genocide, which began in April 1915 and led to the
death and displacement of millions of Armenians.

Project 1915 will celebrate the richness and resilience of the Armenian culture.

At almost 12 feet tall and 27 feet long, "Project 1915" is the exact
size as Pablo Picasso's "Guernica," which also referenced another
notorious crime against humanity: Francisco Franco's aerial bombing of
a defenseless civilian population in the Basque town of Guernica
during the Spanish civil war in 1937.

Unlike Guernica, Project 1915 will dwell less on the horrors of war
and instead celebrate the richness and resilience of the Armenian
culture. Kazarian hopes the painting will foster a dialogue about
genocide, tolerance, and forgiveness.

"By embracing the truth and releasing the anger and sadness that still
afflicts the Armenian Diaspora, we can move forward in a more
accepting and tolerant way," said Kazarian. "It's really about human

Project 1915 draws source material from Armenian culture and religion,
and from historic maps, photos, and other documents, as well as
memorabilia from Kazarian's childhood. Both of her grandmothers were
genocide survivors.

Several studies done for Project 1915 are scheduled for exhibition in
Chicago and Boston this spring. The painting will be finished in time
for official commemorative activities in April 2015.

Kazarian plans to exhibit the painting in multiple locations across
the United States and the world before donating it to a cultural
organization that can provide a permanent home.

"As with any art that references a painful past, Project 1915 is about
remembering, surviving, and healing," she said, adding, "Every culture
needs it."

Studies and a video about the painting are available at www.project1915.org.

From: Baghdasarian