Opening Reception: Remain in Light
Join us to hear from artists Ara Mgrdichian, Sossi Madzounian, and Ara Oshagan, whose work is featured in the Fowler exhibition Remain in Light: Visions of Homeland and Diaspora, curated by Gassia Armenian. After the presentation, view the exhibition and enjoy a reception in the courtyard.
4–5 pm: Artist talks, Lenart Auditorium
5–6:30 pm: Reception, courtyard
This program is generously supported by a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.
About the Artists
Sossi Madzounian was born in Beirut, Lebanon and has been living in Los Angeles since 1968. After studying at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, she enjoyed success as a commercial photographer, before shifting her focus to pursue her primary passion: motherhood. Twenty years later, she returned to her fine art photography roots to capture the essence of “what naturally exists.” Sossi has had numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout the last decade, notably at Multiverse Art Gallery, San Francisco City Hall; DTLA // IRL pop-up in Los Angeles; and Ten Women Gallery in Santa Monica; her next show is forthcoming at the Chania International Photo Festival in Crete, Greece. Madzounian’s work has been featured in publications, such as IPA, LensCulture, Lucie Foundation, APA ‘Off the Clock,’ and Communication Arts. Her photography has featured in set designs of TV shows like Ray Donovan, Bosch, Big Brother, and others. She collaborated with the Smithsonian Institute on their folklore project “My Armenia.” Recently, her photography was used in the “Lily Vorperian Marash Embroidery” publication. Madzounian’s unblemished approach to life is her inspiration and guiding light.
Ara Mgrdichian has lived in Los Angeles since the age of two, and in the Republic of Armenia from 1990 to 1993, with extended stays in Artsakh. He is a writer, artist, and counselor whose work—creative, analytic, and therapeutic—often deals with issues of epigenetics, transgenerational justice, trauma, and memory. He has also worked as a teacher, journalist, and essayist; published poetry and prose; and provided curatorial writing and direction for arts and educational projects. Mgrdichian is a founding member of The Exile biweekly; his work has been included in an anthology with such noteworthy authors as Donald Freed, Harold Pinter, and A.J. Langguth; and featured in the Anthology of Armenian Poets. He is also the voice of William Saroyan in Lusin Dink’s full-length film Saroyanland. He previously served as advisor to the deputy education minister of Armenia, while teaching and participating in humanitarian aid projects. He has received a variety of private and public-sector awards for his efforts with young people, schools, and the community. Much of his work, including The Intergalactic Survivors of the Armenian Genocide, can be found at akmipress.com.
Ara Oshagan is a diasporic multi-disciplinary artist, curator, and cultural worker based in Los Angeles. Working in photography, film, collage, installation, book arts, public art, and monuments, he explores collective and personal histories of dispossession, legacies of violence, identity, and (un)imagined futures. Oshagan has published three books of photography (a fourth will appear in 2023) and has presented his work at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles, International Center of Photography in New York, and TedX Yerevan. He has participated in solo exhibitions in Los Angeles, New York, and South Korea, as well as in multiple group shows. His work has been reviewed and featured in Art Papers, Hyperallergic, Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly, NPR’s Morning Edition, Virginia Quarterly Review, Artillery, Mother Jones, and The Times Literary Supplement, among other publications. Oshagan’s work is held in the permanent collections of Stockton University Gallery, the Southeast Museum of Photography, the Downey Museum of Art, Pasadena Armory Center for the Arts, and the Modern Art Museum of Yerevan, Armenia. Oshagan is a curator at ReflectSpace Gallery in Glendale.
About the exhibition
The photographic exhibition Remain in Light endeavors to visualize the contemporary Armenian experience at home and in Los Angeles. Sossi Madzounian, Ara Mgrdichian, and Ara Oshagan—three diaspora-born Armenian artists living in LA—extend their perspectives on the life of their people in the old world and the new, collectively impacted by decades of political turmoil, religious persecution, and human rights violations. With intuition, passion, and conviction, the photographers illuminate the evolving social fabric of Armenian life: survival in the homeland, immigrant experiences in the diaspora, and the rebirth of Armenian Americans on new soil.
Remain in Light: Visions of Homeland and Diaspora is organized by the Fowler Museum at UCLA and curated by Gassia Armenian, Fowler curatorial and research associate.
Parking available in UCLA Lot 4, 198 Westwood Plaza, directly off Sunset Blvd; $3/hr or max $15/day. Rideshare drop-off at 305 Royce Dr.
Image credit: Sossi Madzounian (b. 1957, Beirut, Lebanon), The Light Under Dark Clouds, October 2015; Araratian Plateau, Vayotz Dzor Province, Armenia, on the way to the Areni; © Sossi Madzounian