LOS ANGELES—On the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, Los Angeles County Mayor Michael D. Antonovich unveiled “iwitness,” a month-long interactive art installation on three levels at Grand Park. Eyewitness survivors of the Genocide are displayed in an inter-connected network of towering asymmetrical photographic sculptures. Conceived and constructed by artists Ara Oshagan and Levon Parian, and architect Vahagn Thomasian, “iwitness” is the first public art installation at Grand Park. The exhibit will be on display until May 31.
“This remarkable memorial honors the 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide and tells the personal stories of survivors — first-hand eyewitnesses to one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century,” said Antonovich who will proclaim a Day of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide at the April 28th meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
The Board will also consider an Antonovich motion, co-authored with Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, to send a 5-signature letter to President Obama requesting him to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide. Additionally, Mayor Antonovich will introduce a motion to develop and locate a memorial plaque in Grand Park to honor the memory of the 1.5 million victims, the survivors and families.
The “iwitness” installation consists of an inter-connected network of towering asymmetrical photographic sculptures wrapped with massive portraits of eyewitness survivors of the Genocide. The sculptures have no right angles and their irregular angular shapes speak to an unbalanced world, continually at risk of war, ethnic cleansing and genocide. They range in height from eight to fifteen feet.
Conceived and constructed by artists Ara Oshagan and Levon Parian and architect Vahagn Thomasian, “iwitness” will be the first ever public art installation at Grand Park.
“iwitness is a temporary monument to the men and women who rebuilt their disrupted lives and communities in the aftermath of genocide,” said artist Ara Oshagan. “The proximity and clustering of the sculptures alludes to, and reflects, the new communities they created after being dispersed across the globe.”
The installation offers a continually shifting perspective during the day, as shadows cast by sunlight create a dynamic interplay between the asymmetrical lines, shapes and forms of the sculptures. At night, a different atmosphere and environment is created as each sculpture in the network is illuminated from the inside.
To educate and promote discourse, audiences at “iwitness” walk amid these larger-than-life sculptures to reflect on its message and the Turkish government’s continued denial of the Armenian Genocide.