SOAS University of London


Layered Lives

Iranian Armenian Identity through Contemporary Art
25 April - 24 June 2006


Anahid Abad, Film Director, Writer, has worked in Iranian cinema with directors and is currently working on a documentary series on Iranian-Armenians and on Armenians in Iranian Cinema. Abad has been Editor of Art and Cultural Affairs for Alik, the major Armenian newspaper in Iran, since 1984.

Peter Barker, after training at RADA, worked for several years as an actor until the BBC recruited him as an announcer on all three of its radio programmes. For thirty years he was one of its daily voices, introducing music of all kinds as well as selecting and reading a variety of poetry and prose. He has recorded scores of unabridged books by a wide range of authors.

Veronica Castro, visual anthropologist and filmmaker. Her studies in anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), and her previous work in photography have led her to research and collaborate with other anthropologists, filmmakers and video artists on a range of projects. Castro is co-director of Lullaby, a documentary about Armenians in Iran.

The Chilingirian Quartet: The spontaneity and energy of the Chilingirian Quartet has established it as one of the world's most celebrated and widely travelled ensembles. Formed in 1971, and with tours to over fifty countries on six continents, the Quartet has performed in the most prestigious halls and taken part in important festivals around the world. The Chilingirian has numerous highly acclaimed recordings of a wide ranging repertoire ranging from Schubert, Mozart and Haydn to Dvorak, Bartok and Prokofiev.

Dr. Abdollah Guivian is an anthropologist and lecturer on media, communication and anthropology in Tehran. Dr. Guivian is co-director of Lullaby, a documentary about Armenians in Iran.

Vergine Gulbenkian tells stories that are full of charm and slightly arch humour. Armenian folk songs are an integral part of her performances. Vergine currently directs a storytelling based project with refugee and immigrant family learning groups in Oxfordshire and has combined Science and Story, creating and performing stories for the Pitt Rivers, Natural History, and History of Science Museums in Oxford.

Rouben Haroutunian, tar, guitar and voice. Haroutunian was born in Iran. At nine, he began violin at the National Conservatory of Tehran. After his arrival in France, he studied classical guitar and ancient music with Xavier Hinojosa, and Flamenco guitar with Jose Pena. When not touring through Europe and the U.S., Rouben gives guitar lessons and composes music for theatre and audiovisual works.

Helena S. Inverno, video artist and camera woman. Trained at London's St Martin's School of Art, Inverno has earned various international awards for her unique camerawork and filmmaking. She has developed her style and creative approach through her own experimental film work and through her collaborations with leading contemporary dance and performance art troupes in Portugal, Japan and Africa.

Varand is a Poet, Writer, Translator. His poetry is influenced by both eastern and western Armenian cultural traditions. His poems reach out to the Armenian community with hopes to cure historical wounds. Varand was honoured as Professor in Armenian Literature by the Grigor Loosavoritch University of Etchmiadzin in Armenia in 2001. He translates both Persian classic and modern poetry into the Armenian language.

Dr. Susan Pattie, Senior Research Fellow, University College, London, and lecturer at Syracuse University Study Abroad Programme. She is the author of Faith in History: Armenians Rebuilding Community and continues research and writing on the Armenian diaspora. Dr. Pattie is a co-founder and now Project Development Officer at the Armenian Institute.

Patricia Rozario was born in Bombay and studied in London at The Guildhall School of Music with Walther Graner, winning the School's Gold Medal and the Maggie Teyte Prize. She has sung in recent seasons with Solti, Ashkenazy and Gardiner, given performances at Wexford, Aix, Glyndebourne Touring and Opera North and sung recitals in France, Germany and London's Wigmore Hall. Her wide repertoire ranges from Baroque to contemporary.

Dr. Polly Russell, Researcher and Oral Historian, British Library Sound Archives. Dr. Russell has worked extensively around Britain with professional chefs and people working in all aspects of food production. In addition to her work with oral histories, she leads workshops and teaches extensively on food, culture and identity.

Nairi Sahakian, independent art consultant, curator. Nairi has curated numerous shows of mixed media in Britain and in Europe. With her knowledge of the craft world as well as more traditional arts, she is in demand when architects are seeking advice on commissioning artwork for new buildings. Sahakian also teaches postgraduate students at Kensington and Chelsea College of Art.

Shakeh Tchilingirian Major is an acclaimed solo dancer and choreographer. Born in England of English- Armenian heritage, Shakeh spent her formative years in Iran. On returning to England, Shakeh continued to develop her artistic styles turning her dances into intricate narratives of the human spirit. She has performed and taught workshops throughout Europe and the Middle East.

Professor Theo van Lint, Calouste Gulbenkian Chair of Armenian Studies, Oxford University. Prof. van Lint holds a doctorate in Armenian Studies from Leiden University (1996) and his main fields of interest include the Armenian literary tradition, in particular Medieval literature, and poetry.

Astghik Vardanian is a violin student at the Royal College of Music. She also pursues interests in other art forms, including puppetry and especially, the painting of miniatures in the style of medieval Armenian manuscripts. Taught by her grandmother, the well-known Astghik Kevorkyan, she paints on leaves and shells, as well as paper

Organised by the Armenian Institute with Veronica Castro and Dr. Abdollah Guivian, the exhibit will be the highlight of a two-month long series of events, lectures and workshops primarily on Iranian Armenians in Iran and the U.K.

This exhibition has been possible through the generous support of:

The Benlian Trust & The St. Sarkis Trust