Eileen Claveloux
Diasporan Portraits

October 12 – November 9
Opening Reception: October 16, 2–4 p.m.

In Claveloux’s series, each of her subjects is descended from a family with one or more ancestors among the 1.5 million who perished in the Armenian Genocide.The Armenian Genocide has become a kind of a shadow history, denied and mostly forgotten. These images are to remind us of that history and to remind us of those who are gone.
Artist’s Statement
“Diasporan Portraits” is a series I began in 2005. The project relates to other work I’ve done related to the Armenian genocide of 1915-1922. My grandmother was a survivor and the stories and history were silenced in our family. A relative’s recent research has revealed that over seventy members of my grandmother’s family died as a result of the genocide and massacres that took place both before and after the actual genocide. My father and his generation had never been told known of the existence of these family members.
The silence began to work on me. Much later, after my grandmother and her siblings were gone, I began to do artwork based on the silence in my family and the genocide. This series does include many members of my family, but isn’t specifically about them. The people depicted in these pieces are descendants of a genocide survivor, except for spouses and partners. Spouses are not directly descended but they share in the legacy. I wanted to show real, present-day people who walk among us. They are survivors of a people that was nearly obliterated, but they are still here, still in this world. Shadowing on some of the figures represents the effects of an inherited trauma. Even when people are not particularly knowledgeable about their history, it still affects them. Echoes of the original trauma can reverberate through generations. The transparency of the images relate to what has become a nearly hidden genocide, in that it occurred in plain sight but has almost entirely disappeared through careful obliteration. The Armenian Genocide has become a kind of a shadow history, denied and mostly forgotten. These images are to remind us of that history and to remind us of those who are gone. They are also meant to remind us of survival and hope, particularly during these dark days with so many other survivors in this world trying desperately to find safety.

Eileen Claveloux holds an M.F.A. in Computer, Design & Photography from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, a B.F.A. from the University of the Arts in Painting, as well as a M.Ed. degree from Westfield State University. She has lectured at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and several other colleges. Her work has been shown throughout the US and in Germany, Armenia, Cameroon and Romania. She completed an Artists’ Union/Nkraichneri Miootyun Residency in Yerevan, Armenia where her work was shown in an exhibition commemorating the 90 th anniversary of the genocide. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Yerevan Museum of Modern Art, as well as in private and corporate collections. Her work focuses on memory, post memory and history in relation to the genocide. Her work “The Naming” is a video about her family’s silence surrounding the genocide and how that silence has affected later generations. It received a nomination for Best Documentary at the ARPA International Film Festival in Hollywood, California. Her book, “The Naming” with a foreword by James E. Young, was published in 2002. Upcoming exhibitions include one in April 2017 at Depo (gallery), Istanbul, Turkey.