FILM AND PAINTING
MARCH 2017 Solo Exhibition at
Fig Tree Gallery
Fig Tree Gallery
Shoes I, Fall 2015
Photographs of 2015 Solo Exhibition Opening at Fig Tree Gallery (below)
Wishing Tree: Landscape I and II
My drawings and paintings symbolize the 'fragmentation' of displaced people, stemming from issues of cultural identity and the struggle to maintain the continuity of tradition. At the same time, the works are statements of hope, survival, and spirit.
I am equally interested in the medium of (digital) film as it offers opportunities of displacement of content and place by way of motion, displacement of content and time by way of thought and memory, and the symbolism behind the storytelling.
Image and Text of Post-World War II Armenian Repatriation PROJECT
I am fascinated by the historic migration of humans, both forced and voluntary, and the cross-cultural aspects of such social issues. As a young child I never fully understood my place within this anthropological phenomenon, that is, being born in the Soviet Union to an American-Armenian father and a French-Armenian mother at the height of the cold war. I have now come to address this part of who I am, through the lives of the post-World War II Armenian repatriates. My project documents the historic and ethnographic path of Armenians in the Diaspora from the 1940s to the 1960s. While my parents came from the United States and France, other families came from Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Palestine, Hungary, Bulgaria, Greece, Cyprus, China, among other countries.
My work is multifaceted, in that it encompasses writing, studio art, and lecture presentations, all inspired by the history of the repatriation, including collected ethnographic photographs and stories from my personal interviews. I am humbled to hear the stories from those who experienced this time of history and lived under the ruthless regime of Josef Stalin. During interviews, I am emotionally moved when I see tears in the eyes of repatriates recounting their stories. These are the young children and youthful adults, who, at the time, were compelled to leave their hometowns with their families to an unknown Sovietized Armenia. The movement was not necessarily a "repatriation" since hardly any were born in the small fragment of Armenia that remained. Many of those who responded to nationalistic appeals in the late 1940s, which were made by repatriation committees and other organizations, fled the Ottoman Empire during the turn of the 20th century. Their nostalgic gesture to uproot their "diasporan" families to the land they thought was ancient Armenia was met with despair: psychologically, spiritually, economically, and physically.
This website is a work in progress with the on-going task of providing additional excerpted video interviews of repatriates, along with more archival photographs, artwork, and links to other sources on the subject. The site also informs interested viewers about upcoming events, including lecture presentations, exhibitions of my work, and future plans on the historical and ethnographic documentation of the post-World War II Repatriation to Soviet Armenia.
The following provides a brief description of the lecture presentation associated with this project. Please feel free to contact me about it and include "repatriation lecture" in the subject line: [email protected]
Artist and Lecturer: Hazel Antaramian Hofman, M.A., M.Sc.
Approximate Time: 60 minutes
Presentation Format and Content: Illustrated PowerPoint/Video format, the lecture of the ethnographic history of the post-WWII Armenian Repatriation is primarily comprised of selected accounts and biographical information from interviews of surviving repatriates, selected black and white photographs, and archival material. As an artist, I respond to this history with art, music, but most of all, with the stories and images that I have collected from interviews of repatriates. I use these sources to provide the audience with a unique understanding and appreciation of early cultural life in Soviet Armenia from those who directly experienced this little known historical event during the final years of Stalin's grip on the country.