Book-signing event: Thursday, June 10, beginning 8 PM
LOS ANGELES—Abril Bookstore will hold a book-signing event on Thursday, June 10, beginning at 8 PM, to celebrate the publication of Kardash Onnig’s latest book, Liberation from Freedom. Admission is free, and a wine and cheese reception will follow the book’s presentation.
Based in New York’s Hudson Valley, Kardash Onnig is an internationally renowned sculptor, toymaker, author, and activist. In the late 1960s, following a stint as one of the pioneers of the emerging field of multimedia communications, he left the corporate world and moved to Upstate New York, where he dedicated himself to direct carving, teaching, writing, toymaking, and political activism. Ever since then he has striven to build cultural bridges and raise global awareness of various causes, through installations, publications, and groundbreaking cross-border projects.
In his Epilogue to Liberation from Freedom, the author writes: “This book is my last effort, my last washing of hands of all isms: all the belief systems, holy books, manifestos, and propaganda machines which perpetuate an ethos of hatred, tribal superiority, domination, and imperial arrogance.”
Brimming with colorful, moving recollections and passionate essays on history, politics, folklore, and myth, Liberation from Freedom is part autobiography and part philosophical treatise, written in the author’s characteristically informal style.
“I think this work will resonate among all those who suspect that the fodder which our so-called leaders and the corporate media bombard us with on a daily basis are nothing but lies, designed to perpetuate a culture of fear, intolerance, and false security,” Kardash Onnig said. “More than anything else, I wish that people are stirred out of the induced sleep of consumerism and the vicious ‘us against the world’ mentality, to become aware of the miraculous possibilities of embracing the world. Only then can we become truly universal beings, open to transferences with others and empowered to solve the core issues that face our planet.”
Featuring drawings culled from Kardash Onnig’s works of the past 40-plus years, Liberation from Freedom includes the author’s tribute to the 12 luminaries who have had a lasting influence on his art and thought — among them Krishnamurti, Thoreau, Brancusi, Raoul Hague, and McLuhan. Kardash Onnig writes: “McLuhan, along with Joseph Campbell, gave us the logical reasoning as to why we should burn that malicious, autocratic, tyrannical ‘book’ of orthodoxy — that is to say, the word of linearity, two-dimensionality, spiritual and intellectual limitedness.”
Liberation from Freedom also comprises a section on the Gaza Rebirth project and a DVD documenting the concluding event of the initiative. Last year Kardash Onnig collaborated with 50 artists from throughout the world to launch an extraordinary performance project, in an effort to raise awareness of the plight of Gaza following the Israeli invasion and atrocities against Palestinian civilians committed by the Israel Defense Forces.
For the Gaza Rebirth project, Kardash Onnig sculpted a series of torsos which subsequently were worked on and “finished” by the participating artists. The project was concluded on March 21, 2010, the spring equinox, when many of the torsos were ritually burned. The author writes: “The destruction of our creations with our own hands became a ritual, a symbolic way to have a sense of the pain and loss experienced by Gazans as they witnessed the destruction of their creations.” The burning, known as “Hetanosner (pagans) celebrating the New Year,” took place at Baraka, the author’s art space and home in Upstate New York. The DVD included in Liberation from Freedom is a memento from the event and features the haunting oud music of Rahim Alhaj, an Iraqi composer who lives in New Mexico.
“Kardash Onnig’s latest book is a response to the alienation of man in a capitalistic society and one man’s attempt to help revert the destruction of the human spirit resulting from its serfdom to automation, the money machine, and ideological exclusionism,” writes Armen Melikian, author of the forthcoming trilogy of novels titled Journey to Virginland.
Kardash Onnig’s previous books include the illustrated children’s story The Power of Four: A Vision for the Middle East; Savage Chic, a no-holds-barred critique of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict; and Transfourmations: A Dialogue Against the Grain. His artworks and projects can be accessed online at kardashonnig.com.
Abril Bookstore is located at 415 East Broadway, Suite 102, Glendale, CA 91205. For more information call (818) 243-4112.