LOS ANGELES—More than 600 Angelinos were transported to Armenia last weekend through How We Live, a mixed-media exhibit exploring the lives of impoverished families on the margins of Armenian society. The exhibit’s centerpiece was over 40 5’ -7’ canvas photographs suspended throughout Casitas Studios’ large gallery space. The prints were arranged so as to immerse visitors in the lives and homes of the families being documented. The response, from guests of all stripes, was electric.
Sara Anjargolian, the photographer behind the show, initially conceived of the project as a way to raise awareness of poverty in Armenia, especially in the wake of the recent recession. Proceeds from the event benefited the Tufenkian Foundation’s Zangakatun Social Services Program, which helps families such as those depicted to step out of poverty and reintegrate into Armenian society. The event drew a diverse crowd, many of whom were previously unfamiliar with the poverty crisis in the small Caucasus nation.
The striking photography didn’t just portray people living in wretched conditions. It connected visitors to their hopes and struggles. Rather than leaving the viewer feeling distanced or isolated, the images (along with multi-media interviews and a documentary film) fostered identification, and the experience was powerful. Guests left the event energized, and many were eager to get involved.
“We are gratified by the initial success of this exhibit,” noted Tufenkian Foundation director Antranig Kasbarian. “It demonstrates that Armenia’s hardships, alongside its triumphs, can move people toward involvement with the country in ways that are meaningful. For from being a throw off, this exhibit has brought people even closer to the country.”
Following the enthusiastic response, Casitas Studios has announced that it will continue to host the exhibit through April 18, to offer additional attendees the opportunity to visit.
How We Live
Showing through April 18, by appointment
To arrange a viewing, contact Info@HowWeLive.org