A monument to Armenian Genocide victims was unveiled earlier this month at Lowell City Hall, Massachusetts.
While other monument unveilings went through some tenuous moments in other parts of the world, this one was dedicated and blessed with fanfare as various churches and organizations staged a united stand behind a group called the Merrimack Valley Armenian Monument Committee, according to the Armenian Weekly.
The stone exceeds six feet in length and takes its place in Monument Park where other ethnic groups are represented. Anyone entering or leaving the building is bound to take notice.
The mother’s hands jets out over a khatchkar (cross-stone) wrapped around an elaborate border with an emotional message below. At the base, an inscription reads, “In Memory” in Armenian.
“There are approximately 230 monuments dedicated to the Armenian Genocide in 42 countries around the world,” said artistic designer Daniel Varoujan Hejinian. “Most of these monuments are located in land belonging to Armenian churches and organizations. What’s so special about this is the fact it is a first in the diaspora—an Armenian Genocide memorial in front of a government building.”
Combined with bronze and granite, the stone shows a mother’s weaving hands sculptured in clay, then refined through an elaborate process to exude a 3-dimensional effect.
As a model, the artist used his sister Lena’s hands. Buried into the foundation of the stone was an actual piece of crochet done by Hejinian’s mother as a symbolic gesture of his family history and the qualities that enhanced the concept.
“In spite of the pain and horror of our genocide, the Armenian people everywhere cast their hopes and dreams, knot by knot, as they bloom and prosper,” added Hejinian, who has personally put up more than 50 genocide billboards around Greater Boston over the past 18 years.
“Our mothers were dream weavers,” he said. “They worked the mills in Lowell, holding down nearly two-thirds of all textile jobs in this city. They came here to weave the fabric of our culture and we owe them all a debt of gratitude.”
In attendance was also 102-year-old Nellie Nazarian, the lone genocide survivor in Merrimack Valley, joined by her family.
The Armenian Weekly. Lowell Genocide Memorial Gets Rave Notice