One Year After Hrant Dink’s Assassination

One year after Hrant Dink’s assasination, people are still gathering around the world to remember his dedication to truth and justice.

He was killed by a nationalist movement eager to silence him, but his death only succeeded in making him a martyr. I will miss Hrant’s kindness of spirit and generosity to a young writer like myself, who he granted the last interview of his life. He is an example that one individual does make a difference.

While yesterday was the official one-year anniversary of his death, the last few days in New York, Istanbul, Los Angeles, Paris, London, Yerevan, Moscow and where ever Armenians and other champions of the freedom of the press congregate Hrant is being remembered. Online bloggers are voicing their own opinions on the slain journalist and Reporters Without Borders published an article about the fateful anniversary.

Amnesty International is demanding that Turkey come clean with the results of their full investigation, which remains clouded in secrecy.

nakian02stvartannyc.jpg Today in New York, a coalition of Armenian American organizations organized a special service at St. Vartan’s Armenian Cathedral in Manhattan (34th & Second Ave.). Organizers handed out large cloth ribbons with Hrant’s image on them to those that arrived. It was a sweet tribute to a man who was largely ignored by the mainstream (particularly outside Turkey) until it was too late.

nakian01stvartannyc.jpgI have included two photos of sculptor Reuben Nakian‘s “Descent from the Cross” (late 1970s), which sits in front of St. Vartan’s and is a beautiful piece of religious sculpture–the spirit of the work fit perfectly into today’s Dink commemoration.

According to curator and art historian, Robert Metzger:

…[the Nakian sculpture’s] subject concerns the Passion of Christ, His suffering, death and resurrection and surely was Nakian’s most intense involvement with religious themes and one of his most overwhelmingly ambitious works. Descent from the Cross grew out of an original idea by the artist to create three separate pieces of sculpture: “The Crucifixion,” “The Entombment,” and “The Resurrection.” After considerable struggle and effort with these separate but related themes, Nakian achieved a profound synthesis of all three in this single work. The forceful abstract construction, composed largely of vertical and diagonal elements, combines in this sacred image the experience of personal anguish, transforming sacrifice and spiritual exultation. The forms bear witness to both action and reaction, to light and dark, and to the concepts of the human and the divine. The towering central form of Descent embodies the spirit of both “The Crucifixion” and “The Resurrection,” while the lower supporting forms reinforce physically and symbolically the feeling of verticality and ascendancy. “The Entombment” is evoked when experiencing Descent close up and gazing directly within the massive depth of the sculpture through the leaning textured bronze blocks…The symbolic forms of the cavernous tomb and of the stone being removed from the sepulcher entrance are simultaneously evoked.

…Nakian preserved the emotional geometry of Peter Paul Rubens’s painting of the same subject in the Antwerp Cathedral…The diagonal figure of Christ being lowered from the cross by attendants once again possesses awe-inspiring power.

Descent was created in the mercurial, wet medium of plaster, yet the resultant rich surface texture of bronze suggests the cut and feel of hard granite. Nakian was well aware of this apparent paradox of materials while developing the work and used it to impressive advantage. When viewed from across the cathedral plaza in midtown Manhattan, the jagged silhouette and rough-hewn quality of the forms eloquently capture the scope and monumentality of this profound subject. (source)

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