This article is available also in Italian
Memory of Trees
Photographs by Kathryn Cook
curated by Annalisa D’Angelo
The poetic and documentary sight of an American photographer about the Armenian genocide, in a new exhibition at the ‘Galleria del Cembalo‘, from April 23rd to June 27th 2015.
A priest’s frock hands out at an Armenian abbey in Jerusalem
The mulberry trees stand watch, regarding the passage of time in Ağaçlı,
forming a patch of green on the dusty Anatolian terrain,
fed by spring water that trickles down from the valley above.
Branches extended as if in declaration, and the leaves nourish a universe,
sealed in thread. Silk, spun by plump worms on these leaves
are given residence on the floors of village homes nestled by the gardens.
Here, each tree soaks up rain and wind, sun and sorrow;
Thrusts their roots into the deep earth of Ağaçlı, and bear witness.
The century’s secrets pass in shadows beneath the shaded boughs.
But they won’t tell us so plainly what happened here, or there.
That lies within, quiescent, only returning to the story when called.
How to photograph what is not there anymore and that they tried to erase?
Kathryn Cook spent seven years working patiently, looking for traces of the Armenian genocide – the first one in the history of the twentieth century – in which more than one million Armenians lost their lives.
With a contemporary style, with poetry besides memory, Kathryn Cook discovers the threads of a fragmented story, composed of unspoken words, through Armenian and Turkish witness, that she met in Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Israel and France. She pauses here on the traces of that heritage, which she delineates in a delicate narration, mixing colour and black and white photographs.
A visitor to the Holy Sepulchre church in Jerusalem runs his hand across crosses that pilgrims have engraved on a wall in the Armenian section of the church. Thousands of Armenian refugees arrived in Jerusalem after surviving deportations from Ottoman Turkey in 1915
With this exceptional work, the author proposes a new way of representing suffering and evil, through repetition and symbols. The title “Memory of trees” recalls the name of the village Ağaçlı (meaning ‘the place of trees’) in the East side of Turkey, where Kathryn Cook took most of her shooting for a long time and which somehow represents the metaphor of her artistic path.
Biography - Kathryn Cook
Born in 1978 in the USA, Kathryn Cook nowadays lives in London.
Her work is currently published (The New Yorker, The New York Times, Time, Stern, Le Monde 2, The Independent) and received many acknowledgments as the Inge Morath Award (2008), the Aftermath Project Grant (2008), the Enzo Baldoni Award (2008), the Alexia Foundation Grant (2012). She took advantage of the program Ateliers de L’Euroméditerranée (Marsiglia-Provenza 2013) to complete the work about Armenians.
Her photographs represent the topography, the memory, the oblivion and they subtly show how the perception of a landscape may change when one knows what happened in that place. In these images there’s much more than a simple documentation of the facts, they really transmit the emotional weight of History.
A young girl stands on the ruin of the Surp Giragos Armenian Church in Diyarbakir, Turkey, which was subsequently reconstructed with the encouragment of the city. A significant community once flourieshed in this south-eastern province
Galleria del Cembalo
Largo della Fontanella di Borghese, 19 – Roma
April 23rd / June 27th 2015
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday: from 5 pm to 7:30 pm | Saturday: from 10:30 am to 1 pm – from 4 pm to 7:30 pm
On Mondays, Tuesdays and in the morning of Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays the gallery will be open upon appointment