Interlace – Talin Megherian
plait |plāt, plat|
a single length of hair or other flexible material made up of three or more interlaced strands; a braid.
- archaic term for pleat.
verb [ with obj. ]
form (hair or other material) into a plait or plaits.
- make (something) by forming material into a plait or plaits.
Memory, Story, Identity
“My braid images hold stories and memories, most of which I have not experienced myself but are closely connected to me. As physical objects, the braids I paint from observation are my own, from when I was about nine. The costumes worn for Armenian women’s dance performances often portray the woman with two long dark braids. These hair extensions read as a symbol for the Armenian female. I learned traditional dances and have seen dance performances throughout my life—expressions of beauty that deeply connect an entire culture. Growing up, I always had two long dark braids, until I reluctantly agreed to have them cut off. I kept them. Today I paint them.
I’ve heard and read accounts of the atrocities of the Armenian genocide—philosophers, artists, priests, and teachers were some of the first to go. My father was born in the Armenian Diaspora. He was born while his family was fleeing from their homeland. His father wanted to leave him in the snow, because of the difficulty of traveling on foot with and infant. My grandmother refused and she fed him chewed grass to keep him alive. My grandfather was a guerilla fighter. He was captured by Turkish soldiers and thrown into prison. Three years later he escaped. It is amazing that he survived, let alone, reunited with his family.
There are tragic stories from both sides of my family. I feel compelled to give them a voice—in part, for a people that have not healed, and in part, for myself and for my family that still remembers. I feel the small degrees of separation between me, and the events that occurred during the genocide. In particular, I work to give voice to that of Armenian women—imagery of beauty marginalized and compromised by brutality.
Connected-hair, so close to my being; disconnected, my hair.”