Like every third generation Armenian, granddaughter of a political refugee, I was brought up in an environment where the idea of memory itself was a sacred altar, archives became icons and cultural heritage a religion.
And, in the midst of this religious devotion, solemnly stood mount Ararat in all its glory and significance -according to the Bible, it was on top of mount Ararat that Noah’s Ark landed, making Armenia the land where humanity was re-born-.
But the mountain also stands for the symbolical border between Armenia and its diaspora. In 1921, the territory was redefined by Turkey and the USSR at the Kars treaty and Armenia lost a very large amount of its territory; including the beloved mountain.
I often came across Armenians from the diaspora who seemed surprised once in Armenia that Ararat was backwards. The only backwards thing there was the situation: they were used to seeing it from the other side; during the genocide, hundreds of thousands of families fled from Western Armenia (nowadays Eastern Turkey), and carried along their memories from the wrong side.
Blending personal archive, images found in Erevan markets, video work and photographs taken in Armenia over the past five years, I narrate not only my story but one of a community trying to shape its future without being constantly pulled back by its heavy past and a diaspora paralyzed by melancholy.
The work symbolically started in 2015 for the commemoration of the centennial of the Armenian genocide.