Black Maria Gallery presents
Kardash Onnig, new sculpture
June 8 - 11, 2006
Opening reception:  Thursday, June 8, 7pm

Black Maria Gallery
3137 Glendale Blvd., Atwater Village, CA 90039
Contact, Zara Zeitountsian
(818) 613-9090, (323) 660-9393
Web site,
Hours, Tuesday – Saturday, 1-6pm; and by appointment

Black Maria Gallery Will Host Exhibition to Raise Funds for a Cross-Cultural Mission in Turkey
- Installation will Feature New Sculptures by Kardash Onnig -
Los Angeles – Black Maria Gallery announced a major installation by Kardash Onnig, featuring new and recent works by the New York-based sculptor. Opening on Thursday, June 8, at 7 PM, the exhibition will continue until Sunday, June 11.

According to Zeitountsian, owner of Black Maria Gallery, the installation at Black Maria Gallery will serve to raise funds in support of a peace mission that Kardash plans to undertake in Turkey. The mission will include the creation of linkages with Turkish artists and cultural leaders, collaborative projects designed to promote cross-border dialogue, and a teen apprenticeship program in sculpture and carving taught by Kardash. “If his past exhibitions are any indication, his upcoming show will be an event to remember” said Zara Zeitountsian, owner of Black Maria Gallery. “We’re proud to host an exhibition whose proceeds will support a peace mission launched by the artist.”

Samuel Saga, curator of Black Maria Gallery, said “For much of his so-called controversial work in the past 40 years, Kardash has been called a "genius" by White Americans, a “traitor” by Armenians, "abrasive" by Jews, an "activist" by those in the Green movement, and a "brother" by African-Americans”.

Kardash’s installation is part of his evolving “Tools” project, now entering its third decade that consists of sculptures based on the idea of the quaternary.

“It’s all about universality,” Kardash explained. “Virtually every culture on the planet has symbols and metaphors deriving from the quaternary, or the principle of four. Think of the four seasons, the four elements, the four corners of the world. In other words, our most profound cultural aspirations speak of the universal, of embracing the whole, whereas we’re stuck in two-dimensional modes of thinking such as nationalism or corporate globalization, and we worship two-dimensional devices, such as our technological wonders that actually prevent us from experiencing things beyond our cocoons. The ‘Tools’ project is my way of shattering the barriers of two-dimensionality, of crossing borders, to both acknowledge and experience ‘the other.’”

Kardash said his project owes much to his travels throughout the world. He has lived and worked in a number of diverse societies, and many of his sojourns have inspired him to undertake various teaching and writing initiatives. For the past 20 years he has conducted a Teen Apprenticeship Program in New York, fostering unfettered artistic expression grounded in advanced techniques and discipline. He has also authored several monographs and children’s books, all of which share a message of nonviolence and cultural concordance through mutual understanding.    

“Ninety-one years have passed since the Genocide of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey, yet Armenian-Turkish dialogue is not only nonexistent today, it’s an enormous taboo,” Kardash explained. “But I’m not pursuing a specifically political mission by trying to create links with Turkish cultural workers and teaching sculpture to talented kids. I’m just doing my thing as a sculptor and as someone genuinely interested in advancing peace across national divides. In the past, I’ve conducted similar programs in Nagorno-Karabagh and elsewhere, and I’m not interested in only the Armenian-Turkish issue. I believe the canvas of peace and mutual understanding should be spread throughout the world, irrespective of one’s background.”

Kardash’s installation at Black Maria Gallery will include an interactive feature whereby visitors will be encouraged to move around his sculptures to form distinct “ensembles” and set-ups. These movements will be taped by an overhead camera and projected onto a screen in the main space of the gallery. There will also be shown a mini documentary on Kardash, including clips of the artist discussing the concept of the quaternary.   

Black Maria is located at 3137 Glendale Boulevard in Atwater Village. Gallery summer hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 1 to 6 PM. For more information, call 323. 660 9393.

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