July 30, 2019 - 11:43 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - After the Armenian Genocide a century ago, many refugees settled in the Twin Cities. Now their stories of survival are finally being told at the Museum of Russian Art in in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in an exhibit that is sure to educate and inspire, CBS reports.
“The first survivor of the Armenian Genocide arrived in Minnesota in 1919,” Fr. Tadeos Barseghyan, of St. Sahag Armenian Church in St. Paul, said.
“1.5 million people died in the Armenian Genocide as a result of violence against Armenian people who were ethnically different, who were a Christian minority living in a Turkish empire,” Barseghyan said.
Today, about 1,000 people of Armenian descent live in the Twin Cities. They are all descendants of Genocide survivors who made it through death marches and slavery, while many of their loved ones did not.
“The wounds are so deep that even 100 years later they have not fully healed,” photographer Artyom Tonoyan said.
As a way to help heal those wounds, Tonoyan began to photograph descendants and tell their stories.
“I started taking photos of my kids and I ended up doing this,” Tonoyan said.
It’s a labor of love that’s now on display at the Russian Museum of Art. The exhibit is called the “Treasures of Memory and Hope.”
Tonoyan teaches a class about the Genocide at the University of Minnesota, and his grandmother and grandfather were the only survivors from their respective families. They met in the Armenian city of Gyumri as kids.