I am a photographer and installation artist interested in disrupted and marginalized communities and identity.

I am shaped by a history of multi-­‐generational dislocation and diasporic identity. A descendant of families who were displaced from Western Armenia by the Armenian Genocide, I was born in Beirut, Lebanon. I grew up in the Armenian community with a French/Armenian/Arabic elementary education. Displaced once again by the Lebanese civil war, my family and Iarrived penniless to the US. I came of age in America. I do not belong to any single country nor language nor nationality. I live in-­‐between several languages and cultures, among multiple ways of thinking and ways of life.My identity is transnational and ambiguous: it is a process.

My work as a visual and installation artist springs from these sources: I am interested in the exploration of the ambiguities of my identity and the crossing of physical, cultural and linguistic boundaries. I live and work among disrupted and marginalized communities—communities that have been uprooted, dislocated and relocated and scattered again. Much of my research and work is about the sensibility and structure associated with this way of life. My own familial and personal history is deeply connected to the communities I photograph and engage in my artistic practice.

​​​​​​​> books
Father Land, with text by author Vahe Oshagan, Published by powerhouse books, NY in November 2010, Project duration: 1999-2007
Mirror, with musician Gor Mkhitarian, employs Augmented Reality technology, Self-published by Oshagan Editions, 2016, Project duration: 2004-2014

>solo exhibitions
Ara Oshagan: Disrupted Borders, Seongbuk Cultural Foundation Art Gallery, Seoul, South Korea, May 2018
Mirror, Tufenkian Fine Art, Glendale, CA, Feb-March, 2016
Juvies/A Poor Imitation of Death, Columbia University School of Social Work, Columbia University, NY, Fall 2012
Father Land, powerhouse Arena, Brooklyn, NY, Nov – Dec, 2010
Father Land, LA Municipal Gallery at Barnsdall Art Park, Los Angeles, Oct 2010 – Jan 2011
Ara Oshagan: Juvies, Armory Center for the Arts, Mezzanine Gallery, Pasadena, June – August 2010
Community and Identity, Center for Experimental Art and Architecture, Sept-Oct 2008
Traces of Identity, Downey Museum of Art, Downey, February-June 2005
Traces of Identity, LA Municipal Gallery at Barnsdall Art Park, Los Angeles, Sept-Dec 2004
iwitness, Senate Rotunda on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, April 2002
iwitness, Downey Museum of Art, Downey, CA, Aug-Nov 2000
iwitness, UCLA Kerkhoff Gallery, Los Angeles, April 2003
iwitness, Platforum Gallery, Denver, CO, 2002
iwitness, 2100 Square Feet Gallery, Los Angeles, Feb-May 1998
iwitness, Main Rotunda of the California State Capitol building, Sacramento, 1997
iwitness, Henry P. Rio Bridge Gallery, Los Angeles, 1997

>public art/installation work
Reconstruct(ed) Comfort Station, Public art installation, Downtown Central Library, Glendale, CA, July-Sept, 2018
(in)visible Border installation, Downtown Central Library, Glendale CA, Jan-March, 2018
iwitness, large-scale public art installation, Central Park, Glendale, CA, May-April 2017
Live Zeke, Exhibit and live streaming interview from Armenia to NY, Brooklyn, NY, Sept 2016
iwitness Permanent Commemorative Monument, Grand Park, Los Angeles, Sept 2016
Drum Room++, Video/sound/drum installation, Tufenkian Fine Art, Feb-March 2016, Glendale CA
iwitness installation, large-scale public art installation, Music Center Plaza and Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles, April-May 2015
(Re)population Shushi, Public art Installation of portraits of residents of the city of Shushi in the windows and doors of a war-damaged building, Shushi, Nagorno-Karabagh, Fall 2012

> awards/distinctions
“Best Marketing Campaign” for curatorial work, California Library Association, 2018
“Cultural Trailblazer” award from Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, 2016
“Top 100 Leading Global Thinker of 2015” by Foreign Policy Magazine in Washington DC, 2015
Featured photographer of the month, A Poor Imitation of Death, SocialDocumentary.net, January 2014
Best of 2010, Father Land, SocialDocumentary.net, January 2011
Photolucida Critical Mass Top 50, March 2009
Finalist, Aperture Foundation bi-annual portfolio review, Project: Juvies, March 2006
Project of Note, Fifty Crows International Fund For Documentary Photography, Project: Nagorno-Karabagh: a Tightrope Walk Towards an Uncertain Future, 2004
Third Prize, The Project Competition, Santa Fe Center for the Visual Arts, Visions 2001, Project: Nagorno-Karabagh: a Tightrope Walk Towards an Uncertain Future.
Freedom Award from the Armenian National Committee, 2001, Awarded for The Genocide Project for significant contribution to the advancement of Armenian issues

> selected group exhibitions
Photo LA, Focus LA Group exhibition, Photo Fair, Jan 2020
Photo LA, Photo fair, Los Angeles, part of A&I Fine Art booth, Beirut Mural Project, Jan 2019
Yangpeong Museum of Art, <Light Paradise> Group exhibition, Mirror, S. Korea, Dec 2018 – Feb 2019
Downtown Central Library, Reconstruct(ed) Comfort Station installation, Glendale, CA, July-Sept, 2018
Downtown Central Library, (in)visible Border installation, Glendale CA, Jan-March, 2018
Venice Arts, Mirror, Venice, CA, Jan 2017
Photo LA, Photo fair, Los Angeles, iwitness,  Jan 2017
Photoville Photo Festival, South Caucasus Live Documentary, Brooklyn, NY, Sept 2016
Brand Art Gallery, 100life, Glendale Municipal Art Gallery, Glendale, CA, April-May, 2015
Photoville, Cruel and Unusual: a gripping look behind prison walls, Brooklyn, NY, 2012
Noorderlicht Gallery, Cruel and Unusual: a gripping look behind prison walls, Groningen, Holland, 2012
Open Society Institute, Moving Walls 18, Manhattan, NY, June 2010–Feb 2011
LA Municipal Art Gallery, Actions, Conversations and Intersections, Los Angeles, Jan–April 2010
Guadalajara State Museum, Offerings from the City of Angels, Guadalajara, Mexico, 2009
SouthEast Museum of Photography, From the permanent collection, Daytona Beach, FL, 2009
Brand Library Art Galleries, Man’s Inhumanity to Man, Glendale, CA, April 2009
Downey Museum of Art, A Sense of Place, Downey, CA, September 2007
Writers’ Union Gallery, Requiem for the Genocide, Yerevan, Armenia, April 2005
Articultural Gallery, Echoes, West LA, October 2004
Harvest Gallery, Survival of a Nation, Glendale, April 2004
Fulton Street Gallery, Exposed: Contemporary Photography for the New Millennium, Troy, New York, September 19 – October 20, 2001
Barrett Art Center, Photowork ‘99, Curated by Howard Greenberg, Poughkeepsie, NY, April 17 – May 15, 1999
Louis Stern Gallery, Riot, Los Angeles 1992

> art reviews/art picks
Siran Babayan, “Glendale Library’s Gallery Space Reflects on Social Justice”, LA Weekly, Jan 2020
Matt Stromberg, “Survivors and Artists Memorialize the Armenian Genocide at a New Glendale Venue”, Hyperallergic, May 2017
Bettina Boxall, “Memorial to Armenian Genocide unveiled in L.A.’s Grand Park”, Los Angeles Times, Sept 2016
Alexis Corral, “Genocide Centennial: Public Art Installation DTLA”, Artillery Art Magazine, May 2015
Thomas Curwen, “Armenian Genocide Survivors are Subject of Art Exhibit in Grand Park”, LA Times, May 30, 2015
Bianca Barragan, “Giant Light-Up Photos Commemorate the Armenian Genocide For Grand Park's First Public Art Installation”, Curbed LA, May 2015
iwitness Installation Photos, via Associated Press, Yahoo News, May 2015
Mark Murrman, Review of Father Land and online slideshow, Mother Jones Magazine, April 2011
John Greppin, Review of Father Land, London Times Literary Supplement, December 2010
Neery Melkonian, Review of Traces of Identity Exhibit, Art Papers, March/April 2005
LA Magazine, “Top 10 Things to do in LA (Traces of Identity Exhibit ranks #5)”, December 2004
Jordan Elgrably. “An Armenian Novel-in-Progress.” LA Weekly, October 1-7, 2004, p. 10
Anna Meliksetian, Review of Traces of Identity Exhibit, artcircles.com, Winter 2005
Talene Kanian, “Identity Confirmed”, Review of Traces of Identity Exhibit, Mosaix Magazine, Jan-Feb 2005.
Peter Frank, Recommended Art Exhibit of the Week, LA Weekly, Dec 31, 2004 -Jan 6, 2005
Edgar Allen Beem, “A Quest for Identity”, Photo District News, Exposures. September, 2002
Timothy Cahill, “A wide-angle view of photography, in two fine shows”, Review of group show with mention of my work, Troy Times Union, New York, October 7, 2001

> curatorial
Access: A Century After Women’s Right to Vote, ReflectSpace @ Downtown Central Library, Glendale, Jan 31 – Mar 15, 2020
Fragmented Futures: Afghanistan 100 Years Later, ReflectSpace @ Downtown Central Library, Glendale, Nov 16, 2019 – Jan 12, 2020
Tell Me: Stories of Migration to Glendale, ReflectSpace @ Downtown Central Library, Glendale, Sept 13 – Nov 6, 2019
1 in 3: Sexual Violence Pandemic, ReflectSpace @ Downtown Central Library, Glendale, Jul 12 – Sept 1, 2019
Threshold: Armenian Passages, ReflectSpace @ Downtown Central Library, Glendale, Apr 19 – Jun 16, 2019
Erasure–Native American Genocide: A Legacy, ReflectSpace @ Downtown Central Library, Glendale, Feb 15 – Apr 14, 2019
Incarceration Nation: the US Prison Industrial Complex, ReflectSpace @ Downtown Central Library, Glendale, Dec 14, 2018 – Feb 10, 2019
Body Politics: the LBGTQI+ Experience, ReflectSpace @ Downtown Central Library, Glendale, Oct 5 – Nov 21, 2018
Elevate, ReflectSpace @ Downtown Central Library, Glendale, Sept 15-30, 2018
Comfort Women Resist, ReflectSpace @ Downtown Central Library, Glendale, Jul 28 – Sept 11, 2018
Yerevan 2800, ReflectSpace @ Downtown Central Library, Glendale, July 11 -22, 2018
Accused of No Crime: Japanese Incarceration in America, ReflectSpace @ Downtown Central Library, Glendale, May 29 – Jul 8, 2018
Nonlinear Histories: Trans-generational Memory of Trauma, ReflectSpace @ Downtown Central Library, Glendale, Mar 17 – May 6, 2018
(in)visible: Negotiating the US-Mexico Border, ReflectSpace @ Downtown Central Library, Glendale, Jan 27 – Mar 14, 2018
20/20: Mine Free Karabagh, Tufenkian Fine Arts Gallery, Glendale, CA, October 2017
iam: Narratives of the Holocaust, ReflectSpace @ Downtown Central Library, Glendale, Dec 8, 2017 – Jan 17, 2018
Wake: the Afterlife of Slavery, ReflectSpace @ Downtown Central Library, Glendale, Sept 15 – Nov 5, 2017
(dis)comfort women, ReflectSpace @ Downtown Central Library, Glendale, Jul 20 – Sept 3, 2017
Landscape of Memory, ReflectSpace @ Downtown Central Library, Glendale, May 1 – Jun 25, 2017
Dis/exists, PhotoRoom, in collaboration with Lucie Foundation and Month-of-Photography-in-LA, April 2016

> works in permanent collections
SouthEast Museum of Photography, Daytona Beach, Florida
Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, California
Downey Museum of Art, Downey, California
Museum of Contemporary Art, Yerevan, Armenia
Caroline Tukenfian Fine Arts, Glendale, California

> grants
California Council on the Humanities, California, 2018
California State Libraries, California, 2017
Calouste Gulbenkian Armenian Communities Grant, Lisob, Portugal, 2015
Open Society Institute, Moving Walls Exhibition Grant, 2010
Center for Cultural Innovation, Artists Resources for Completion (ARC) grant, 2010
California Council for the Humanities, California Stories Major Grant, 2006, awarded for Ethiopians of LA
Ignatius Foundation Grant, 2004, awarded for Traces of Identity
California Council for the Humanities, Major Grant, 2001, awarded for Traces of Identity
Los Angeles City Councilmember Jackie Goldberg, 2000
Los Angeles City Councilmember Joe Ferraro, 2000
Arpa Foundation for Film, Music and Art (AFFMA), Photography grant, 2000

> appearances
Lecturer at The American University of Armenia, Yerevan, Armenia, September 2016
Guest lecturer for a documentary photography class at the International Center of Photography, Nov 2014
Iris Lecturer at the Annenberg Space for Photography, Los Angeles, Nov 2014
Armenians and Progressive Politics, Panel Moderator, Occidental College, 2014
Unsung Heroes of the American West, Ara Oshagan: photographs, April 2014
Challenges of making Art in the Diaspora: panel discussion, Glendale Public Library, December 2013
Land & Technology: A Contemporary Art Project, with Charlie Khachadourian, Ara Oshagan, Samvel Saghatelian, Vachag Tersarkissian and Harry Vorperian, Glendale Public Library, April 17, 2013
TEDx Yerevan speaker, The Documentary Image as Identity, Yerevan, Armenia, September 2012
Keynote speaker, Photography, Art and Testimony, San Francisco Armenian Community Annual Genocide commemoration event, April 2011
Presenter, Oral History, Visual Arts and Memory, “Third Genocide Conference: Negationism, Revisionism, Survivors’ Testimonies, Eyewitness Accounts, Justice and Memory”, Organized by Pan African Studies and the Department of Ethnic Studies at California State University, Sacramento, Sacramento, CA, November 2-4, 2011
Presenter, Photography, Art and Testimony, “Armenian Oral History Collections: Development, Uses, Potential”, Organized by the UCLA AEF Chair in Modern Armenian History and the Oral History Research Center, UCLA, April 2011
Father Land book signing, International Center of Photography, NY, December, 2010
Glendale Public Library, Father Land, November 12, 2010
San Francisco Armenian Community Center, Father Land, 2011
Krouzian-Zakarian Armenian School, San Francisco, Father Land, 2011
Fresno State University, Father Land, 2011
Ferrahian Armenian School, Father Land, 2011
“Nagorno-Karabagh: a Tightrope Walk Towards an Uncertain Future.” Santa Fe Center for the Visual Arts Project Review, Santa Fe, 2001

> interviews
Kai Behrmann, “Photography from the guts”, www.topphotographyfilms.com, June 2014
Aram Arkun, “Oshagan and Oshagan’s take on Karabagh: a World of Images and Words”, www.mirrorspectator.com, April 2011
Pete Brook, “Ara Oshagan on California’s Juvies”, www.prisonphotography.org, June 2010
Shawn Nee and Julie Haire, “Interview: Ara Oshagan’s Juvies”, www.boywithgrenade.org, January 2011
Chris Atamian, “Ara Oshagan – Karabagh”, www.armeniantrends.blogspot.org, October, 2009

> features/publications
“Father Land,” Visions Magazine, China, Sept 2015
“Traces of Identity”, GUP Magazine #37 Los Angeles, Nov 2013
Taline Voskeritchian, “Reading Father Land, a book of text by Vahe Oshagan and photographs by Ara Oshagan”, Passages blog, April 2011
Father Land, www.socialdocumentary.org, photo essay, December 2010
Father Land, www.araratmagazine.org, photo essay, December 2010
Nova Safo, “In Search of Roots”, www.laforward.org, Video-feature, November 2010
Jean Casella and James Ridgeway, “Voices from Solitary: Ara Oshagan Photographs California Juvies”, www.solitarywatch.com, Sept 4, 2010
Father Land, www.maisdever.blogspot.com, Sept 1, 2009
Father:Land, “burnmagazine.org”, 2009
Adriana Chalian, “Documentary Photography in the Diaspora: A Conversation with Ara Oshagan.” Asbarez Armenian Newspaper, October 8, 2005
Benjamin Adair, “Pacific Drift”, 89.3 KPCC Radio, 12 Minute Feature, February 13, 2005
Josh Kleinbaum. “Taking Snapshots of Armenian Life.” Glendale News Press, Feature about Traces of Identity exhibit with one photo, September 25-26, 2004, p. A7
“Three Day Forecast: Art: Armenians in America.” Los Angeles Times, Calendar Weekend, Feature about Traces of Identity exhibit with one photo, Sep 23, 2004, p. E2
Louise Roug. “Fall Arts Preview: Where They’re Coming from: a world of experiences shapes the work of artists from different cultures and nations.” Los Angeles Times, Sunday Calendar, Sep 19, 2004, pg. E.39.
Naush Boghosian. “Exhibit Puts Lens on L.A. Armenians.” Los Angeles Daily News, September 13, 2004, p. 3.
James Russell, “Spotlight on the Arts with Monica Vischer”, 91.5 KUSC Classical Radio, Five 1-minute segments about Traces of Identity broadcast 4 times a day for 1 week. November, 2004
The Joan Quinn Profiles, Adelphia Cable TV, 15 minute live interview with Joan Quinn, Nov 1, 2004.
Janet Kinosian, “Voices from the Abyss”, Austin American Statesman, Austin, TX, April 2000
Janet Kinosian, “Witness to Fire”, Syndicated by LA Times Syndicate, Inc., March 2000
KCET-TV, Life and Times hosted by Val Zavala, Los Angeles, August 24, 2000
Nova Safo, “Photography Exhibit Chronicles Survivors of Armenian Genocide from the First Quarter of the 20th Century”, National Public Radio, Morning Edition, August 15, 2000
KPFK-FM Pacifica Radio, Up for Air hosted by John Beaupre, Los Angeles, August 2000
Janet Kinosian, “Witness to Fire”, Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine. May 23, 1999, pp. 18-21, Four page feature with multiple photos.
UCLA Daily Bruin feature story, Los Angeles, 1997
Michael Krikorian, “Exhibit Captures Horror of Armenian Genocide,” Los Angeles Times, Metro, April 16, 1997
Daily News Feature Story, April 24, 1997
Glendale News Press, April 24, 1997

> scholarship
Ramela Grigorian Abbamontian, “The Diasporic Witness: Reconstructing Testimony in the Works of Contemporary Los Angeles Artists,” Cultural and Ethical Legacies of the Armenian Genocide edited by Dr. Richard G. Hovannisian, Los Angeles, CA: Transaction Publisher, 2007
Ramela Grigorian Abbamontian, “Crossing Borders and Imagining Home/Land: Armenian Artists Construct a Diasporic Identity in Los Angeles,” Shifting Borders, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2006
Jean Maruchanian. Ph.D. Candidate, UCLA Department of Art History. “The Demand for Recognition:  Armenian Genocide Memorials". Art Historians of Southern California, 46th Annual Conference, L.A. Public Library, November 2005
Jean Maruchanian. Ph.D. Candidate, UCLA Department of Art History. "Armenian Genocide Memorials" Graduate School of Arts & Sciences: “After Death and After Life: The End or the Beginning?”  Bryn Mawr College, October 2005
Ramela Grigorian Abbamontian, Ph.D. Candidate, UCLA Department of Art History. "Testimony and Witness: Armenian Artists in Los Angeles" UCLA International Conference Series: After Nine Decades: The Enduring Legacy of the Armenian Genocide, UCLA, April 2-3 2005

> teaching
Photography Workshop, Learning Works Alternative High School, Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, Fall, 2013
Documentary Photography Workshop for Teenagers, Tumo Center for Creative Technologies, Yerevan, Armenia, Summer 2012

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