My mother's collage

In 1913, my great-grandmother left Armenia just at the start of the Armenian Genocide. She immigrated when she was 12, and aside from a streak of bravery, she brought very few possessions when she fled her homeland. Since few objects exist on that side of my family, I chose an object that my mother created for me a few years ago. This collage represents a feeling: a feeling of warmth/belonging/love that is so deeply woven in our Armenian family. This collage shows a letter my grandmother wrote my mother during a very difficult time as well as a photograph that shows three generations of Armenian women: a young girl (my mother) reaching towards her mother who is reaching towards her own mother who is reaching back towards her grandchild. This is how the women in our family are with one another: love through touch. There are constant arm squeezes, touches on the shoulder, and holding hands while telling happy stories, sad stories, new stories, or old stories. This object is a window into the way we all are with each other. We share our identities and our hearts through touch. There are so many questions I wish I could ask my relatives that are no longer here: the ones that have passed on as well as the ones that never made it out of Armenia before 1915. But aside from these untold stories or unanswered questions I feel a deep connection to my ancestors when I look at this photo. I see a trait we all carry: the knowing and healing power of touch. The links between us all.  

Place(s): Armenia
Year: 1913

– Angela

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more