News | City of Glendale, California
Maryl Fleisher, Marketing Program Supervisor
ReflectSpace highlights the transnational rituals of the SWANA region (Middle East)
Glendale Library, Arts and Culture is proud to present tthe sound of your voice is home by multidisciplinary artist Yasmine Nasser Diaz in the ReflectSpace gallery and My life from scratch by artist Helena Grigorian in PassageWay Gallery.
Inspired by a family practice of exchanging audio cassettes between Chicago and Yafa, Yemen, Diaz’s latest installation invites visitors into a space of ritual, gathering and listening. The decor, an 80s kitchen, is a nod to her childhood and a time long before the ubiquity of cell phones. Communicating with family in the southern highlands of Yemen from the United States was difficult. Only one house in the family village had a telephone, which made access and coordination difficult. Instead of long distance calls, her family would gather around the kitchen table to record long audio messages on cassette tapes. Messages included updates on the health of loved ones, news on engagements, pregnancies, births and the latest local scandal.
The sound of your voice is home pays homage to the changing ways in which diaspora communities maintain connectedness and loving exchanges while being separated by time and distance. Upon entering the space, visitors will hear a collection of audio recordings of different voices and languages on a loop. The clips were collected from immigrant friends, acquaintances and family members, including recollections of different family practices and snippets of actual voice messages between relatives. The stories shared reflect varied temporalities, past and present, further evoking the importance of storytelling in the production and maintenance of shared memories. The physical setting pays homage to the kitchen as the heart of the home and a central domestic space for conversation, nurturing, reconciliation and healing. A grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts supports Diaz’s exhibition.
Helena Grigorian has fond childhood memories of her family and friends drinking Armenian coffee, quickly flipping cups of demitasse, and waiting for the grounds to dry. Once dry, a coffee cup “interpreter” would read the grounds and guess the future and fate of the coffee cup drinker. Each coffee klatch had a designated coffee cup performer, each known for their distinct style. A few have even achieved great fame in their coffee-drinking circles for their uncanny intuition of predicting the future. When they picked up a cup to start “reading”, a pregnant silence, full of anticipation and excitement, fell over the women’s entire room.
Helena’s fascination with this magical ritual has stayed with her over the years. His exhibition at PassageWay Gallery is an installation of several of his actual coffee cups and close-up photographs of coffee grounds patterns. For her, these patterns are much more personal than the pages of a diary. They reveal and divine a future that speaks to the beauty of this quintessentially domestic ritual and its myriad interpretations – a reflection of the vast universe of human experience found in a small cup of coffee.
The sound of your voice is home and My life from scratch runs from May 31 to July 23, 2022. Exhibits are open to the public during regular library hours.
Yasmine Nasser Diaz is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice draws on nuanced, discordant and evolving concepts of culture, class, gender, religion and family. She uses mixed media collage, photo fiber printmaking, immersive installation, and video to explore connections between personal experience and larger social and political structures. Diaz is interested in the complex narratives of third culture identity, their precarious invisibility/hyper-visibility, and the friction often experienced between the individual and the collective. Yasmine has received awards and residencies including the Harpo Visual Artists Grant, California Community Foundation Visual Artist Fellowship, Marble House Residency in Dorset, VT, and Efroymson Visiting Artist Residency at the University of Michigan in Arbor, MID. His works are in the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Arab American National Museum and the University of California at Los Angeles and have been featured in Hyperallergic, PBS Newshour, Artnet and Artillery Magazine. She lives and works in Los Angeles.
Helene Grigorian is a Los Angeles-based graphic designer and photographer who launched her artistic career when she began capturing images of the life around her on her tiny 110-pocket camera and creating her construction paper magazines. Her passion for the arts led her to a recognized career in photography and graphic design. With a degree in Graphic Arts from CSUN and over 15 years of professional experience, Helena has designed for corporate, entertainment, financial and non-profit organizations. She served seven years as Creative Director of the National Association for Television Program Executives, the television industry’s trade association, before founding her creative company, Circles Six. Helena has been a featured artist in several group shows in the Los Angeles area.
Known as “Jewel City”, Glendale is the fourth largest city in Los Angeles County. With a population of over 200,000, Glendale is a thriving cosmopolitan city, rich in history, culturally diverse, offering nearly 50 public parks and easy access to a municipal airport. It is home to a vibrant business community, with major companies in healthcare, entertainment, manufacturing, retail and banking.
About the Library, Arts and Culture
Founded in 1907, the Glendale Library, Arts & Culture Department comprises six neighborhood libraries as well as the Brand Library & Art Center, a regional visual arts and music library and performance hall located in the historic 1904 mansion of the pioneer of Glendale Leslie C. Brand, and the Central Library, a 93,000 square foot center for individuals and groups to come together, collaborate and create. The department also serves as the primary liaison with the Glendale Arts and Culture Commission, which strives to continually transform Glendale into an ever-evolving arts destination. For more information, visit eGlendaleLAC.org or contact Library, Arts & Culture at 818-548-2021 or email [email protected]
ReflectSpace is an inclusive exhibition gallery designed to explore and reflect on major human atrocities, genocides, civil rights violations and other social injustices. Immersively designed, ReflectSpace is a hybrid space that is both experiential and informative, using art, technology and interactive media to reflect on the past and present of Glendale’s community fabric and interrogate current global human rights issues. ‘man. ReflectSpace is hosted in the Glendale Central Library and online at ReflectSpace.org.
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