Identity And Community: An Exhibition of Photographs By Ara Oshagan

LOS ANGELES–The Center for Experimental Art & Architecture in Atwater is pleased to announce an exhibition of photographs by Ara Oshagan. Through hundreds of small and large photographs of the Armenian and Ethiopian communities of Los Angeles, “Identity and Community” maps Oshagan’s personal and communal journey through the corridors of each community. Together the two bodies of work sketch a visual contour of the constant unfolding of identity and the processes that build and sustain community. The exhibition runs from September 26 to October 17. The opening reception is on September 26 from 7 to 10 p.m.

The themes that run through most of Oshagan’s work–exploration of layered and amorphous identity, the construct and construction of place and community–are present in “Identity and Community” but are taken to another level by the way the photographs are displayed. Closer to an installation than an exhibit, the huge number of images in “Identity and Community” create a vast visual map, a topographic and anatomical narrative of the relationship between the individual and the collective.

“These two bodies of work–the Ethiopians and Armenia’s–come together for me in this exhibit in a unique way,” says Oshagan. “I am attempting to suggest a flow and imply a process that will somehow be reflective of the continual morphology of identity and the processes that sustain community. The very structure of the installation will touch on these issues just as the individual images do. I hope to create a symbiotic relationship between the macro–the community and installation–and the micro–the singular images, the individual, the building blocks of community.”

The end result is the same: Oshagan is asking what is identity, what is community, how are they related, how. This exhibit will add one more layer to this visual deliberation by giving the viewers a kind of “bird’s eyeview” that is uniquely Oshagan’s while still affording them space for their own interpretation.

Both bodies of work have received gran’s from the California Council on the Humanities and have been sponsored by the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at the University of Southern California.

Ara Oshagan has exhibited his work at various venues across the country. His work has been reviewed in Art Papers and and has been featured on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition, Photo District News, LA Times, LA Times Sunday Magazine, LA Magazine, LA Weekly among others. In 2004, “Traces of Identity” (from which the Armenian work in this exhibit is drawn) was exhibited at LA Municipal Art Gallery at Barnsdall Park and at Downey Museum of Art in 2005. Oshagan has won an award from the Santa Fe Center for the Visual Arts in the Project Competition. His photographs are in the permanent collection of the Downey Museum of Art in Downey, California and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Yerevan, Armenia.

CEAA is dedicated to presenting emerging and established artists, architects, filmmakers, and photographers that have chosen experimentation as their primary mode of expression, demonstrating innovation and advancement in their respective disciplines.

Exhibition Opening Reception: Friday, September 26, 2008, 7-10 PM
Musical Performance: 8:30 PM
Donation: $10

All photographs in the exhibition will be for sale.
Center hours are by appointment only.
For more information and directions to the center please visit
Center for Art and Architecture
3191 Casitas Ave, Suite 138
Los Angeles, CA 90039


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