…A story I never forgot… is a video installation in which the video, produced in an “artisanal” manner, doesn’t pretend to achieve technical excellence, but to reorder and organize the fragmented memory of the Armenian genocide (c. 1915 to 1920) based on the stories and narrative heard since childhood. To forget it would mean forgetting one’s own being.
Brazilian of Armenian descent from both sides, having started the career in the end of 1980s, surrounded by episodes of violence and social, economical, and political traumas in Brazil, I did not feel comfortable to deal with the Armenian theme. My urgency was to bring together people numbed by the daily occurrence to these issues. Since then I’ve been trying to delicately expand the reflection about violence and exclusion in the social fabric, where everyone ends up victimized.
When invited to take part in the 4th Thessaloniki Biennial, a city where my ancestors found refuge for several years, the remote past became so close to me…
Who remembers the Armenian genocide? I do.
It was necessary to reassemble each fragment of memory as in a puzzle, full of enormous personal cost, to narrate once again the story which was told to me and which I never forgot: to remember and to remind, to never more happen.
History runs through with a handkerchief embroidered by my grandmother when a refugee in Thessaloniki, with the support of the Armenian General Benevolent, where she was an embroidery teacher. Transformed in each episode, the piece covers the story of her origin remembrances, the life in Greece and departure to Rio de Janeiro, until its return as part of the work to the Biennale.
This text is written in the heat of the moment, when multitudes are in the streets of my country, fighting for their rights, living times we haven’t seen for a long time. This made me think of all projects and experiences that art has provided me.
If it doesn’t change the world, I have been living art as a trajectory of understanding and meeting the Other. I have tirelessly dedicated myself to transform the relations of people in the face of such issues, trying to activate a mobilization for a better world.
Rosana Palazyan, June 2013
b. 1963, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Lives and works in Rio de Janeiro. She attended the Escola de Artes Visuais do Parque Lage (School of Visual Arts of Parque Lage) and studied Architecture and Urbanism at the Universidade Gama Filho in Rio de Janeiro. In her 24 years of production, allying a diversity of mediums such as embroidery, drawing, installation, video, performance and public art projects, Rosana Palazyan is building a career promoting experiences about art, life and society along with the incorporation of the Other under new ethical, aesthetical and political basis, generating a reflection on the social field of art. Among her recent solo exhibitions: Casa França-Brazil, Rio de Janeiro (2010) • The Place of Dream, Centro Cultural Banco do Brazil, Sao Paulo (2004) • Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Rufino Tamayo, City of Mexico (2000). Group exhibitions include: The Shelter and the Terrain, Museu de Arte do Rio, Rio de Janeiro (2013) • The Street, Europalia Brazil Festival, Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen, MHKA, Antwerp, Belgium (2011) • Pretty Tough: Contemporary Storytelling, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, CT, USA (2009) • 26th Biennial of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo Biennial Foundation (2004) • Magic Expeditions – tour with mysterious feelings, Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany (2002) • 1st Mercosul Biennial, Porto Alegre, Brazil (1997) • The Individual and His Memory, 6th La Habana Biennial, Cuba (1997).