David Ohannessian and the Armenian Ceramics of Jerusalem: How War, Forced Migration, and Resilience Led to the Creation of an Iconic Art

Feast of Ashes: the Life and Art of David Ohannessian, by Sato Moughalian
Feast of Ashes: the Life and Art of David Ohannessian, by Sato Moughalian

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International House Davis, 10 College Park, Davis CA

The brilliant blue-green glazes of Jerusalem’s Armenian pottery have become a distinctive feature of the Holy City, but the origins of this iconic art spring from the historic ceramics center of Kütahya, in today’s northwest Turkey, and are entwined with the genocide of Ottoman Armenians during the First World War. Author Sato Moughalian traces the historic participation of Armenians in the Kütahya art, David Ohannessian’s re-creation of his ceramic tradition in post-WW1 Jerusalem, and the survival of this luminous art as an emblem of Armenian endurance. Moughalian, Ohannessian’s granddaughter, weaves together family memoir, art history, and biography in this fascinating illustrated lecture.

Sato Moughalian is the author of Feast of Ashes: The Life and Art of David Ohannessian (Redwood/Stanford University Press, 2019). The book was longlisted by the PEN America Literary Awards for the 2020 PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography. Ms. Moughalian is a professional flutist in New York City and the artistic director of Perspectives Ensemble. Ms. Moughalian serves as principal flutist of American Modern Ensemble and Gotham Chamber Opera.

Sponsored by UC Davis Departments of Human Rights Studies, Art History, and Jewish Studies.

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