A photography exhibition based on historic Ottoman-era photographs from the Dildilian Family archive will open on the Columbia University campus on December 1, The Armenian Weekly reports.
The exhibition, organized by Dr. Armen T. Marsoobian, may be viewed at the fourth floor lobby gallery of the university’s International Affairs Building, 420 W 118th Street (off Amsterdam Ave.), until the end of the month.
The exhibition, titled “Continuity and Rupture: Photography from the Dildilian Family Archive,” is supported by the Armenian Center at Columbia University and co-sponsored by the Columbia University Alliance for Historical Dialogue and Accountability of the Institute for the Study of Human Rights, and the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research.
Marsoobian will tell the story behind his exhibitions and the work he has done on Armenian photography at a plenary session of a human rights conference, “Present Past: Time, Memory, and the Negotiation of Historical Justice,” on Dec. 9, at 12:30 p.m., in Room 1512 of the International Affairs Building. He has also organized a panel with Turkish film and media scholars titled “Screening the Past: Contested Historical Narratives for Turks and Armenians.” His talk, “From Silent Film to the Silencing of Film: Exiling the Armenian Genocide from Mainstream Cinema,” will begin the panel that takes place at Faculty House, second floor, room 3/4, 64 Morningside Drive, at 11 a.m. on Dec. 8. The public is welcome at both talks.
This exhibition tells the story of an Armenian family, the Dildilians, many of whose members worked as photographers in Ottoman Turkey. They lived, worked, and raised their families in the cities of Sebastia (Sivas), Marsovan (Merzifon), and Samsun. The backdrop of the story, which starts in 1872 and ends in 1923, is an empire in decline and a war that altered the face of the Middle East and Europe. The story is a painful one, culminating in the violent eradication of Armenians from their 3,000-year-old homeland. Yet the photographic narrative also testifies to the cultural, educational, and commercial achievements of the Armenians.
The photographs gathered for this exhibition were taken by Tsolag and Aram Dildilian over the course of 34 years in the cities, towns, and countryside of Turkey and the Black Sea Coast. The photographs and glass negatives in the family archive number well over 1,000—a truly unique treasure unmatched by other Armenian families who survived the G enocide.