Los Angeles-based art director and first-time author Dicran Y. Kassouny has published an elegant and important volume, 100 Years Strong: The Armenian Genocide in Posters 1915-2015. The book is a visual compilation and analysis of Armenian Genocide and post-genocide era posters produced in the United States and Great Britain in the 1910’s and 1920’s, and by Diaspora Armenian organizations starting in the 1970’s through 2015.
Kassouny showcases close to 90 genocide posters, some never-before-seen, categorizing them chronologically under four headings: “Near East Relief and Foreign Charity,” “National Identity,” “Struggle and Sacrifice,” and “Commemoration and Recognition.” The book includes a comprehensive “Instead of a Forward” section, titled “The Evolution of the Armenian Question,” penned by Kassouny’s father, Yervant H. Kassouny, Ph.D. The article provides a lucid narrative of the political, geopolitical, social, and economic dimensions of the injustices inflicted on the Armenian nation since the 19h century.
Under the heading “Near East Relief and Foreign Charity,” Kassouny discusses the importance of the posters produced by the American Near East Relief Committee and by the British Lord Mayor’s Fund in collecting charitable funds in support of the stricken victims of the Near East during and after World War I. In doing so, the posters bear witness to the brutal atrocities committed against the native Armenian population of the region, which endured genocide, famine, and forced deportations. They also enrich our knowledge of the massive international humanitarian and charitable efforts that, at the time, succeeded in raising close to $117 million in U.S. humanitarian assistance to the region, while the Lord Mayor’s Fund raised tens of thousands of British pounds.
Not unlike the American and European Genocide posters, the posters produced in different corners of the Armenian Diaspora, such as in the Armenian communities of Lebanon, Iran, Canada, Cyprus, and the United States, drew attention to the calamity with the aim of commemorating the memory of the victims, mourning the loss of homeland, demanding justice, reparations and the return of the homeland, appealing to the world for justice and recognition, and recognizing the heroes of the armed struggle for justice.
Kassouny’s 100 Years Strong is a fitting and visually rich tribute to the victims and survivors of the Armenian Genocide. Its collection of historically important posters marks the different stages of the ongoing development of the Armenian nation, in particular, the growth of its diaspora since the tragedy that befell the nation 100 years ago.
100 Years Strong: The Armenian Genocide in Posters 1915-2015 is available on Amazon.com at http://goo.gl/mzaTjw. For more information, visit 100yearsstrong.com or kassounydesignstudio.com.
Source: Armenian Weekly Mid-West