“The Caravan Project,” a mobile public Armenian art exhibition created by artist Zadik Zadikian, made a stop at Glendale College Oct. 29, on its first day of a seven-day trial run.
The project features six paintings, all 12 by 24 inches, placed on three flatbed trucks that hold two paintings each and tour the vicinity displaying works of art recreated by Zadikian.
The works are enlarged replicas of ninth century to 14th century Armenian miniature manuscript illustrations.
“I wanted to introduce a culture that is very dear to me,” said Zadikian. “Nobody has really seen them [Armenian miniatures] the way they should be seen.”
The works are color paintings of the miniatures, which have sheets of gold leaf placed over them, over which the miniatures are painted again in black paint.
“The Armenian culture is not known the way Greeks are known and the way other nations’ cultures are known to the world,” said Zadikian. ” I promised myself that I would do everything in my power to show the visual part of our culture to the masses.”
The concept of the project started four years ago, but became active 2 1/2 years ago.
“Once it was very clear to me that this is the way to go, nobody’s done it, it became very exciting knowing that I can really go wherever I want to, whenever I want to go,” said Zadikian.
Zadikian received funding from the city of Glendale, and the city’s Redevelopment Agency rented out a space on Orange Street for $1 a year where Zadikian created his paintings.
The city of Glendale has offered a lot of support for Zadikian’s project. According to the Glendale News-Press, Mayor Raffi Manoukian said that “I’m proud to say that Glendale is the new mecca of art in California, and this is the beginning of it.”
“He [Raffi Manoukian] believed in art so much, that when I introduced the idea to him, he said ‘Great! Anything that can help make Glendale city better I’m for it,’ and in two weeks I was able to get my space, and I thank them dearly,” said Zadikian.
The Caravan project has traveled to Pasadena, San Fernando Valley, Hollywood, Los Angeles, and numerous L.A. freeways.
This was a test run for the big tour of the caravan project scheduled tentatively for late May of next year. The next project is expected to have five to six trucks and about 12 paintings.
Zadikian has been painting all his life. He started at the age of 6, and has been doing one form of art or another since then.”I’ve been doing art all my life. I don’t know anything else. I don’t know what to with my life unless I make art.”
His son Aram is following in his father’s footsteps through film. Aram has been taping the whole project since day one and plans to make a 30-minute film which he hopes will be aired on PBS.
For more information about “The Caravan Project” visit www.caravanproject.com.