Ara Oshagan September 10, 2012Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Armenia.
St. Gazantchetsots Church, Shushi, Nagorno-Karabagh, 2002
Ara Oshagan (b. 1964, Lebanon) is a photographer whose work revolves around the intersecting themes of identity, community, and memory. His first book, “Father Land” was published by PowerHouse books in 2010. “A Poor Imitation of Death”, about the lives of youth in the California prison system, will be published by Umbrage books in the near future. Ara has had solo exhibitions at the LA Municipal Art Gallery, Downey Museum of Art and Power House Arena in New York. His work has been featured in Mother Jones, the Times Literary Supplement in London, LA Times, LA Weekly and on NPR’s Morning Edition and is in the permanent collection of the Southeast Museum of Photography, the Pasadena Armory Center for the Arts, and the MOCA in Armenia.
About the Photograph:
“This photo is the cover of my book, Father Land and was photographed in Nagorno-Karabagh–a remote, politically turbulent and unrecognized Armenian region of the former Soviet Union. A decade-long project, the work is about this ancient place but it is also about my own diaspora and identity—an Armenian living in Los Angeles and returning to the land of his forefathers for the first time. The work is about my relationship to a distant past and my ambiguous place in the continuum of history. The cover photo brings together many of the elements that underlie this work—land, faith and culture (as represented by the church), the act of witness (as represented by the kids staring at the viewer) and folded into its structure and composition is the core issue—the ambiguity of belonging and my relationship to this place and my own past.”