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Sato Moughalian, Feast of Ashes: The Life and Art of David Ohannessian

Event Type
The Initiative in Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies | MillerComm | Program in Jewish Culture & Society
Knight Auditorium, Spurlock Museum
Apr 25, 2022   4:00 pm  
Sato Moughalian
Jewish Culture & Society

Sato Moughalian, Feast of Ashes: The Life and Art of David Ohannessian

Please join us for a talk by Sato Moughalian at 4pm on Monday April 25th in the Knight Auditorium of the Spurlock Museum. Global Studies undergraduates are cordially invited to join Sato for breakfast and discussion in 109 English building at 9am on Tuesday April 26th--coffee and bagels/cream cheese will be provided. To reserve your place please RSVP to Leslie Davison:

Sato Moughalian is both an award-winning flutist and author of a highly lauded 2019 book, A Feast of Ashes: The Life and Art of David Ohannessian (Stanford University Press/Redwood). The book was nominated for the 2020 PEN America/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography and a finalist for the Association of American Publishers 2020 PROSE Award for Biography & Autobiography. The engaging project gathers family archives together with historical and art historical research to tell the story of Moughalian’s grandfather, David Ohannessian. Moughalian set out in this project to follow the “breadcrumbs” she could find through family stories about the ceramic art her grandfather founded in Jerusalem in 1919. She describes the moving contrasts and echoes she experienced between the legacies inherited from the children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors and the “high-voltage fence” that had blocked off her own family’s legacy of surviving the Armenian genocide. Ohannessian endured displacement and suppression of Armenian language and culture. At one point in Feast of Ashes, for example, Moughalian adds the chilling detail that Turkish was the only language spoken in Kütahya because those who spoke other languages had their tongues removed.
Here is a description of the project: “In 1919, David Ohannessian founded the art of Armenian ceramics in Jerusalem, where his work and that of his followers is now celebrated as a local treasure. Born in an isolated Anatolian mountain village, Ohannessian mastered a centuries-old art form in Kütahya, witnessed the rise of violent nationalism in the waning years of the Ottoman Empire, endured arrest and deportation in the Armenian Genocide, founded a new tradition in Jerusalem under the British Mandate, and spent his final years, uprooted once again, in Cairo and Beirut.”

For her MillerComm talk, “Material Culture and the Armenian Diaspora,” Moughalian will address multiple aspects of how material culture has impacted Armenian studies and the Armenian diaspora. Bringing in a broadly comparative interdisciplinary lens, Moughalian will relate the Armenian diaspora to larger themes.

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