By Danielle Saroyan
MISSION HILLS — On Sunday, October 25, the Ararat-Eskijian Museum, National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR), and the Armenian Jewelers Foundation hosted “Treasures of Western Armenia: A Conference on Material Culture & Genocide in Western Armenia.” The Conference was held at the Ararat-Eskijian Museum in Mission Hills, California.
The conference was prompted by a recent publication titled Treasures of Western Armenia, published by the Geneva-based Armenian Jewelers Foundation and the Russian Museum of Ethnography. This book is an ethnographic collection, which includes records for the first time of the 1916 Scientific Expedition to Armenia led by Alexander Miller. Copies of the book Treasures of Armenia were available during the conference.
Speakers included Armenian National Institute (ANI) Director Dr. Rouben Adalian who presented on “The Effects of Genocide on Culture and Civilization in Western Armenia;” Armenian Jewelers Foundation Chairman Pierre Akkelian, who presented on “The Lost Treasures of Western Armenia: The Miller Collection of 1916;” and Armenian Rugs Society President Hratch Kozibeyokian who discussed “Traditional Armenian Design Patterns Across Various Arts.”
“The Armenian Jewelers Foundation has done a great service by bringing public attention to the discovery of a marvelous collection of historic items retrieved from Western Armenia during the genocide. Now, through a fine publication, everyone can learn more about the arts and crafts of a vanished civilization,” said ANI Director Dr. Rouben Adalian. “I was honored to be part of an event announcing the launch of such a beautifully produced catalogue,” Dr. Adalian said.
Longtime California Armenian community educators Gabriel Injejikian and Anahid Meymarian are among the many notable attendees. Injejikian, who founded Holy Martyrs Ferrahian Armenian High School in Los Angeles in 1964, pioneered Armenian schools in the United States. Meymarian played a significant role in preserving the story of Armenian Genocide survivor Aurora Mardiganian, who is known as Armenia’s Joan of Arc.
An exhibition and reception followed the program at the Deukmejian Banquet Hall Foyer, showcasing valuable artifacts, traditional costumes, and jewelry made and used by ordinary Armenians at the time.