Big Turnout for Opening of Sacramento “Century of Rebirth” Art Show

The opening reception for an art show commemorating the centennial anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in Turkey drew an overflow crowd of about 200 art lovers to Coffee Works in Sacramento on Saturday, April 11, 2015.

The art show featured the works of two local Armenian-American artists: Paintings by Dr. Jenny Apekian, a local dentist, and ceramic “spirit house” sculptures by Dr. Lee Kavaljian, a science professor at Sacramento State University. The show was curated and designed by Sacramento artist Melinda Johnson. City Councilman Jeff Harris also came by to see the artwork, as did many other local business and community leaders.

In addition to the visual feast of the art show, Coffee Works’ French-born master pastry chef reproduced appetizer delicacies from the Armenian cookbook. Music from the Armenian Diaspora was played over the house sound system. Armenian coffee making was demonstrated and served by Rich Kazanjian to all who wanted to try it. A variety of complimentary hot and cold beverages were also served.

Local Armenian-American and owner of Coffee Works, John Shahabian, said: “Our family will always be grateful to this country and California for giving us freedom and opportunity.” About the show he said, “Art is a powerful way for people to deal with loss and with official lies. Art transforms the pain of history with beauty, and it speaks truth to power in a symbolic way. The best art calls on the conscience of the viewer and by so doing sheds light on dark places.”

Entitled “Century of Rebirth”, the show was produced to celebrate the revival in America of the descendents of survivors of the Ottoman Republic’s 1915 attempt to exterminate Anatolia’s Armenian natives. Widely recognized by historians as the twentieth century’s first Genocide, the murder of its Christian Armenian minority by Turkey was repeatedly cited by Adolph Hitler as the prototype for Nazi Germany’s murder of millions during WWII.

The reception was held on Sacramento’s Second Saturday art gallery open house. The paintings and sculptures will be on display for a month.