Reflections on Genocide: Atrium School Connects to the Watertown Community

As part of a combined, culminating project for “Genocide and Human Behavior” and 8th Grade’s study of “Art and Community,” students at the Atrium School  have been working on a project that was sparked by not only their studies in each class respectively, but also by their visit to Project SAVE Armenian Photograph Archives.

Students spent time “reading photos” with the founder of Project SAVE, and have made close inspections of the preserved information contained in many “still life” moments captured on film. They were asked to take away what resonated with them in regards to the photos they saw, the stories they heard, and connect this with their community of Watertown, which is one of the oldest Armenian communities in America.

Imagery from Project SAVE Archives and images found on the Internet are used to make paintings using the gel medium, image transfer process onto canvas. A similar process was invented and made famous by the artist Robert Raushenberg.

Students also looked at the work of John Avakian (Sharon, MA) an Armenian artist who has been creating art about the Armenian Genocide since 1990. He is known for his monumental mono-prints which make use of the transfer technique as well as photographs taken during the Armenian Genocide. Students used text as key elements in their paintings, which they selected form their Project SAVE experience and their studies on “Genocide and Human Behavior.”

Project SAVE Archives is the permanent archive of Armenian photographs in the country. The Armenian culture is preserved in their repository, and as stewards of this culture, they are experts in teaching and allowing visitors to find their connections to this society that was eradicated a century ago.