Artist's Prize-Winning Monoprint Beautiful, Somber

John Avakian's 'Family Bio 30' was named 'Best of Show' at an Attleboro Arts Museum exhibit in June.

The first in a monoprint series by artist John Avakian dates back about three years.

And two generations, who both experienced the Armenian Genocide of 1915.

And "Family Bio 30," one of the newer pieces, was named "Best of Show" during "Remembering," an exhibit the hosted from June 16 to June 30.

Avakian says the series was inspired by his desire to leave "something behind of me and my family that will live on beyond my lifetime."

Each monoprint includes family photos, as well as images from books, magazines and other sources, Avakian says.

"It's hard to say when that'll be over," Avakian says of this series, from which he submitted three pieces to the show.

"It's the past and the present coming together as memory."

Memories of the Armenian Genocide weren't discussed in Avakian's home during his childhood, he recalls.

"My father lost the entire family, and he was angry most of the time," says Avakian, who, in 1999, started a separate monoprint series on the genocide.

"My mother, a couple of brothers survived, and she had nightmares. She used to scream at night about the terror that she faced as a child.

"My father never even talked about it. I never knew what happened. I had to ask my mother why I didn't have any relatives, and she said his family was wiped out completely."

Avakian, who has a painting background, says he began creating monoprints in 1989 after being introduced to the medium by someone at the Boston Museum School.

"She told me how to do that, and they were relatively easy to do compared to painting," says Avakian, who now teaches there part time. He previously taught full time at Northeastern.

People have called the Family Bio monoprints "beautiful," Avakian says.

"I think they are, even though the subject matter may be a little somber," he says.

"I hope they get the beauty, and the sadness."

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