A Journey Home (38′) is a short film that chronicles the 2013 visit of members of the Dildilian family to their parent’s hometown Merzifon. Nearly a century earlier, their parents and grandparents were forced to flee their homes during the violent upheavals in the aftermath of the First World War. As a result of the deportations and massacres of 1915 and 1921, this once thriving town of over 12,000 Armenians saw nearly all its Armenian inhabitants disappear by the 1920s. Fragments of their presence still haunt the town and its countryside. Now living in the United States and France, the family is warmly welcomed into the house that once was their home, which also housed the famous Dildilian Brothers Photography studio. This is a bittersweet yet ultimately uplifting story of one family’s journey into its past.
Armen T. Marsoobian will discuss his nearly ten-years long personal journey of presenting the family story and images from the Dildilian family photography archive to audiences in Turkey, Armenia, Britain and the United States. With the invitation of Osman Kavala of Anadolu Kültür, he was able to mount important, and in many ways ground-breaking exhibitions in Istanbul, Merzifon, Diyarbakir, and Ankara between 2013 and 2015. The goals and challenges of the many aspects of his work in memory will be highlighted in this conversation.
Armen T. Marsoobian is the Chair and Professor of Philosophy Department at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven. He is the author and editor of many books, including Fragments of a Lost Homeland: Remembering Armenia (I. B. Tauris 2015), Reimagining a Lost Armenian Homeland: The Dildilian Photography Collection (I. B. Tauris 2017), and Dildilyan Kardeşler – Kayıp Bir Ermeni Evin Hatıraları: Anadolu’da Ermeni Bir Ailenin Fotoğrafları ve Öyküsü, 1888-1923 (Birzamanlar Yayıncılık 2015).
This film was produced in 2018, in conjunction with the exhibition “Continuity and Rupture: An Armenian Family Odyssey,” shown at the Brand Library and Art Center in Glendale, California, co-curated by Işın Önol and Armen T. Marsoobian. Editors: Özden Demir & Civan Özkanoğlu; Camera: Ahmed Aküzüm; Transcription: Özden Demir; Translation: Banu Karaca; Subtitles: Erkut Ertürk.