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Mariam Matossian: Persuasive Ambassador of Armenian Art

img  Tobias

The story of Gorky is a tragic one, but right now Matossian has never been happier: „At the moment, my top priority is getting ready to give birth to our second child due at the end of October. We are so excited about this!“, she rejoices, the „we“ refering to her husband, whom she describes as her „best friend and life partner“, „I had my last concert of the season on August 1st and that was an amazing experience... We sold out the show and had such a wonderful time singing and dancing with everyone in the audience in North Carolina. They were a superb audience!“ Since that climactic finale to the season, she has taken some time off. But although she is very much occupied with the preparations for the birth of her child, she is already reviewing new material and preparing for the launch of her much-anticipated third full-length.

Before it will see the light, however, the Gorky-exhibit is sure to introduce yet more people to her music. The simplicity and friendly spirit with which everything came together is very much exemplary for how she has won over almost anyone exposed to her voice: „We were contacted by a representative for the Philadelphia Museum of Art where the Gorky exhibit will be held and were told that the curator of the museum loves my music and specifically requested that it be used in the exhibition“, Matossian recounts, „Needless to say, I was deeply honoured by this and agreed to have my music featured there. I have read about Gorky’s life and have seen his paintings in various art books and museums, including the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy when I was studying there. I have been moved by his artwork... One cannot help but be affected by his story and his passion.“

The story she is referring to is one of artistic triumph in his early years and rapid deline at the very point when his art could have broken through on a major scale. Various illnesses and incidents broke his already fragile spirit and when his wife eventually left him, he commited suicide at the age of just 44 years. Born in Armenia, Gorky spent most of his adult life in the USA. Whether or not he was really plagued by a horrible homesickness remains unclear, but the situation of spending your life far away from home  was, of course, all too familiar for Matossian – the title of her first album being a direct reference to her move to her current base of South Carolina.

Even though Matossian's work is not overtly political, it can definitely be regarded as an effort of presenting the public with an indiluted interpretation of an intriguing culture. „Gorky is an extremely important part of Armenian history and it is thrilling to be part of this event. It is my hope that as people come to the exhibit, they will not only appreciate Gorky's work, but will also come to learn more about the story of Armenians.“, she says, emphasising the importance of discovering one's roots in a time of general uprooting. If that indeed makes her an ambassador for her country, she intends to exercise her powers with soft persuasion: „My dream has always been to share the story of my culture with as many people who want to listen“.

Arshile Gorky: A Retrospective will be on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art October 21, 2009 - January 10, 2010.

Homepage: Mariam Matossian
Homepage: Philadelphia Museum of Art

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