Thursday, February 27, 2014

Vanessa Kachadurian 145th Birth Anniversary of the great Hovhannes Tumanyan

145th birth anniversary of 'All-Armenian poet' Hovhannes Tumanyan

For many years, Yerevan has been honoring the great poet with Tumanyan days, with the festive events annually lasting from April 4 to 11.

Armenia marks the 145th birth anniversary of the master of Armenian literature, great poet Hovhannes Tumanyan, who played a special role not only in the history of his country’s literature but also in the spiritual life of his nation. “The art should be clear and transparent as an eye and as complicated as one,” the poet said. And, true to his beliefs, the language of Tumanyan’s works is wonderfully simple and natural, but lively and picturesque. Even during his lifetime, Tumanyan was called the “All-Armenian poet.” 19, 2014

PanARMENIAN.Net - Hovhannes Tumanyan was born on February 19, 1869 in the village of Dsegh, Tiflis Governorate, Russian Empire (now Lori Province, Armenia.)

His father, Aslan (1839-1898), was the village priest known by the name Ter-Tadevos. He was an offspring of an Armenian princely family of Tumanyan, branch of the famous royal house of Mamikonian that settled in Lori in 10th-11th centuries from their original feudal fief of Taron.
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His mother, Sona (1842-1936) was an avid storyteller with a particular interest in fables. Young Tumanyan was the oldest of eight children; his siblings were Rostom (1871-1915), Osan (1874-1926), Iskuhi (1878-1943), Vahan (1881-1937), Astghik (1885-1953), Arshavir (1888-1921), Artashes (1892-1916).

From 1877-1979, Tumanyan attended the parochial school of Dsegh. From 1879-1883 he went to a school in Jalaloghly. Tumanyan moved to Tiflis in 1883, where he attended the Nersisyan School from 1883-1887. Tumanyan's wrote his first poem at the age of 12, while studying in Jalaloghly school. He lived at the teacher's house for a while and was in love with teacher's daughter Vergine. Since 1893, Tumanyan worked for Aghbyur, Murtch, Hasker and Horizon periodicals and also was engaged in public activism.
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In 1888, at the age of 19, Hovhannes Tumanyan got married to Olga Matchkalyan, 17. They had 10 children: Musegh (1889-1938), Ashkhen (1891-1968), Nvard (1892-1957), Artavazd (1894-1918), Hamlik (1896-1937), Anush (1898-1927), Arpik (1899-1981), Areg (1900-1939), Seda (1905-1988), Tamar (1907-1989).

In 1899, Tumanyan came up with an idea of organizing meetings of Armenian intellectuals of the time at his house on 44 Bebutov Street in Tiflis (present-day Amaghleba 18, in Sololaki). Soon it became an influential literary group, which often gathered in the garret of Tumanyan's house. Vernatun means garret in Armenian, which was the name the group was referred to. Prominent members of the collective were Avetik Isahakyan, Derenik Demirchyan, Levon Shant, Ghazaros Aghayan, Perch Proshyan, Nikol Aghbalian, Alexander Shirvanzade, Nar-Dos, Vrtanes Papazyan, Vahan Terian, Leo, Stepan Lisitsyan, Mariam Tumanyan, Gevorg Bashinjagyan and many other significant Armenian figures of early 20th century. With some pauses, it existed until 1908.
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In 1912 Tumanyan was elected the president of the Company of Caucasus Armenian Writers.

In the fall of 1921, Tumanyan went to Constantinople to find support of Armenian refugees. After months spent there, he returned ill. After surgery in 1922, he started to get better. But in September, Tumanyan's disease started to progress again. He was transferred to a hospital in Moscow, where he died on March 23, 1923.
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Tumanyan’s works range from fairy tales, ballads and poems to novels to include: Anush (1892), with Armen Tigranyan’s opera based on the poem, Gikor, David of Sassoun, The Dog and the Cat (1886), Maro (1887), Akhtamar (1891), Davit of Sasun (1902), The Capture of Tmkaberb (1902), A Drop of Honey (1909), The End of Evil (1908), The Shah and the Peddler (1917).

Tumanyan’s house in Tbilisi, Vernatun, built in 1854, was bought out by the local Armenian community to be turned into a cultural center.

For many years, Yerevan has been honoring the great poet with Tumanyan days, with the festive events annually lasting from April 4 to 11.


Vanessa Kachadurian Armenian Artists with disabilities featured by the US Embassy

The U.S. Embassy has organized a series of events during the month of February as part of the “Lives Without Limits” campaign of the U.S. State Department, which highlights the American core values of diversity and inclusiveness.

From February 24 through 26th, the U.S. Embassy will host Candace Cable, a nine-time Paralympian with eight gold medals and the winner of six Boston marathons.  After suffering a spinal cord injury at the age of 21, Ms. Cable transformed her relationship with athletics.  Through her own struggle she became an outstanding advocate and educator for disability issues.  During her stay, Ms. Cable will meet with Armenian officials, community leaders, educators, and disability activists.

On February 25, Ambassador Heffern will open “Lives Without Limits,” an art exhibition that features the work of Armenian artists, including artists with disabilities.  A Paros Choir performance will be part of the opening event.  The exhibit is organized in partnership with the Center for Contemporary and Experimental Art, which promotes a life without limits – the triumph over perceptions often imposed by society.  The exhibit demonstrates how people with disabilities can be fully integrated into everyday activities that many of us take for granted.  The exhibition will continue for two weeks and is open to the public.   vanessa Kachadurian

On February 26, Ambassador Heffern will open the premiere of “Girl on the Moon,” an original dance performance that demonstrates how the disabled can be fully integrated into everyday activities that many of us take for granted.  The work of Arina Araratyan, a talented Armenian choreographer, the performance blends professional dancers and disabled amateurs on the stage at the Sundukyan National Academic Theater in Yerevan.  “Girl on the Moon” will be shown on February 27 as well.  The performances are open to the public and free of charge.
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On February 12, Ambassador Heffern visited the Children’s RehabilitationCenter and ResourceCenter in Gavar. Through the support of USAID and the Peace Corps, the resource center trains and supports parents whose children are mentally or physically disabled. “Armenian children are able to stay at home instead of live in institutions, because of services like this,” said the Ambassador.
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The aforementioned activities have been organized with the hope that subsequent discussion and reflection will help lead to a more inclusive, diverse and, therefore, stronger society that not only values the contributions of citizens with disabilities, but embraces their unique abilities


Vanessa Kachadurian Armenian Artist

Hrach Arslanyan is an artist and instructor of Armenian descent who is engaged in reviving “murassa,” a traditional Ottoman art that was forgotten for almost five centuries, Today’s Zaman reports. 
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Murassa is an art which involves the decoration of metal objects with precious stones. Arslanyan focuses on the work which goldsmiths used to produce for palaces in the Ottoman era, and is attracting an increasing level of interest in his projects. Hraç Arslanyan relates that he was mischievous as a child, but was sent by his parents as an apprentice to master craftsman Hagop Usta in the Grand Bazaar in İstanbul, and ended up teaching murassa himself. He once began studying economics at university, but his love for murassa for such that he dropped out after only six months to pursue his passion.

In an interview with Sunday’s Zaman, Arslanyan reminisces about his mentor, Hagop Arslanyan, and ponders the nature of the relationship between mentor and student. “The master and mentor relationship is pretty important. If your master is good… you will become like him. You are influenced by your mentor more than you are by your father. Don’t get me wrong; I have endless respect for my father. But with your mentor, you start a lifelong learning process. It is not just about art lessons. You try to understand a life cycle, you learn how to win and how to lose. If your mentor is a man of integrity, you will become just like him. Similarly, you can see the impact of mentors who have good skills but a bad personality. My mentor was well-trained, even though he had only completed elementary school. He was an intellectual who taught me how to read a book deeply. I realized that I was an illiterate, so I read a lot to address my state of illiteracy.”

Realizing by the age of 18 that his master did not teach him everything, Arslanyan asked his master why this was, and was greatly influenced by the response. “Look, my son,” his mentor replied, “I taught you the basics and the main principles of this art. If I teach you more, you will become Hagop Arslanyan, not Hraç Arslanyan. I am teaching you the basics. The rest is yours to cope with.” It dawned on Arslanyan that no one but himself could define his career and artistic path.

Arslanyan remembers that he also took part in the construction of a school, during his time as head of the jewelry training commission at the İstanbul Chamber of Jewelry. Noting that this school was more organized and beautiful than its counterparts in Italy, the UK, France and Germany, Arslanyan said that he expended considerable effort to combine the culture of the Grand Bazaar and the technology and discipline needed in his profession. The craftsman is also known for having created a unique synthesis in murassa by focusing on tiles from Iznik in western Anatolia. “Please do not take this as if I am belittling the other styles of murassa,” Arslanyan says; “I simply tried to promote the precious tiles of Anatolia. In a way, I tried to both complete and enrich the style.”
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The art of murassa, Arslanyan bemoans, has been neglected for centuries. “Economic concerns and technological considerations play a role in every profession. Many arts now prioritize industrial outcome and output. The logic of getting more from less investment has become widespread. This is also the case with our art. Economic conditions force people to devote their time to less expensive ornaments and works. Murassa, however, requires a big investment of time. And the masters of this art become disappointed when they realize that the imitated versions of their works attract greater attention, despite all the effort they have put into their works. As a result, the arts which require time and hard labor tend to disappear.”
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Asked whether he is in contact with other artists involved in making murassa art, he says: “Not very much. I am a little bit sensitive on this matter. This is a peculiarity of craftsmen like me. We cannot see much around because we have one soul. We have an ideal. If we pay attention to what is happening around a lot, we lose that spirit. And we will also lose our artistic roadmap. For this reason, I do not know any other artists focusing on murassa.”

The works made by the murassa goldsmiths during the Ottoman era differ to those Arslanyan makes today, he says, because his works reflects his own artistic style. He stresses that it is not good to make comparisons between historical works and contemporary artists’ output, adding that he does his job for the sake of both the art and the public: “I am trying to go beyond my capabilities and talents in order to excel in my profession; but I am also trying, for the sake of the general public, to make sure that this art survives and will be preserved forever.”

The experienced craftsman narrates the story of his works by reference to the relationship between East and West: “We, the Armenian people, are dispersed in different countries. For this reason, I traveled to Europe in 1985. What I saw and observed during my stay in Europe made me realize certain things. My horizon was broadened by what I observed there. But beyond this, İstanbul has been a combination and harmonization of the East and the West for centuries. Take a look at the architecture or lifestyle; it is partly Western and partly Eastern. Therefore, I attempted to extract these things.”

Arslanyan says that he does not take part in fairs and exhibitions because he is too idealistic. He explains: “Don’t get me wrong — I don’t want to be misunderstood here — but similarly to how there is intellectual deadlock in every profession, unfortunately, there is some sort of contamination in murassa due to the growing number of people who did not receive proper training. These people degrade Murassa art. In other words, economic concerns outweigh other artistic considerations. Those who know me already know me; but unfortunately, I am more popular abroad. My art is better known abroad and attracts greater attention there. It was Japan who first discovered me. I find found that very interesting.”

Mahrec Art House was launched by Arslanyan to offer training to those who wish to improve in murassa. “Now let me first make this assessment. We offer basic training in our school. In general, the training is focused on ornaments. The average age of the participants is around 30. However, it is impossible for a person to become a proper murassa artist without spending much more time in workshops. I am not saying that I am a grand master of Murassa art. I do not want to give such an impression. But that is the nature of this job and art.”

Some of his students have the potential to become masters because they have spent a considerable amount of time in training, Arslanyan says, recalling that he has students who can preserve the art after him. Arslanyan also says: “Students who set their hearts on murassa will someday develop a distinctive style and could create excellent works, because they will have a unique perspective and angle. Economic concerns have become central. For this reason, the number of high quality works is pretty small. As long as a society achieves level of prosperity in terms of economic progress as well as cultural advance, we craftsmen and artists rely on this. On what terms? They are fed by appreciation and they are fed by economic support. I am not pessimistic about the future of the murassa art. And by nature, I am not pessimistic at all because I am one of those who argue that good things will happen if you wish for the good all the time. I hope that the murassa art will become more popular in the future.”


Monday, February 10, 2014

Vanessa Kachadurian, "Abstraction" to debute at Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival

Come see the AWARD-WINNING Abstraction - Feature Film at the famous New Beverly Cinema on February 12, 2014 at 8:30PM, as part of HRIFF. Tickets are only $12 and ON-SALE at:

ABSTRACTION is an award-winning action crime drama feature film revolving around the heist of a half a million dollar painting, starring Academy Award® nominee Eric Roberts (Dark Knight), Ken Davitian (Borat), Hunter Ives, Korrina Rico (School Dance), Natalie Victoria (Deadheads), Richard Manriquez, James Lewis (Gacy House), Manu Intiraymi (Star Trek), Sam Puefa, Alfred Rubin Thompson (Sons of Anarchy).

STUDIO PRODUCTIONS?  Rockie, Descendants, Hurt Locker and many more were made by small studios and indie productions.