In May 2019 Arkadina Yadegar and Nardin Sarkis, both American-born descendants of Assyrian #refugees, organized an #exhibition “#Diaspora in Bloom: Assyrians in the 20th Century & Beyond” at Ark Art Gallery in San Jose, Ca. The title refers to the Assyrian proverb “Spring does not occur with one flower alone”, meaning that the effort of many individuals is needed in order to achieve a greater goal. Curator's aim was to promote the works of Assyrian-American artists, to integrate Assyrian community in the US, as well as to manifest its presence in #American#society. Several young artists, which acknowledge and cultivate their Assyrian #roots, had an opportunity to share their work with wider public. They wanted to prove that “Assyrian art” label should not be associated only with the great #achievements of their #ancient ancestors, but also with modern esthetics and means of artistic expression. Every #artist that took part in the exhibition tries to find his/her own way to coalesce the past and the presence, their country of origin and country of refuge.
E.g. Esther #Elia in the series “Heirlooms” creates colorful sculpture furniture pieces and large-scale paintings that base on the old photos of her family and thus she asks questions about cultural identity, experienced loss, and the inheritance of a trauma. Rabel Betshmuel uses the satellite photos of Assyrian lands to create geometrical, abstract landscapes. “The link between ancestral heritage and the land – he claims – is a key component of Assyrian art and culture. The land has preserved us and it continues to connect us to our roots''. Atra Givarkes follows the steps of Issa Benyamin, called “the father of Assyrian calligraphy”. As she says: “I aim to reintroduce the aesthetic values of a language. On the background of my calligraphic compositions, I utilize wash and drip effect to portray history and aging language. In contrast, bright and vibrant alphabets represent my hope for its survival”. Events like this support the process of empowerment in #Assyrian communities and help to emerge local leaders who take further responsibility for cultural survival on foreign lands.