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Exhibition Film Event, Part I: Suzanne Khardalian, Grandma’s Tattoos

April 29 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

This two-part event is organised as part of the Genocidal Captivity exhibition events series. Content warning: Please note that this film contains descriptions of sexual violence.

Join Dr Becky Jinks, curator of the Genocidal Captivity exhibition for a special two-part film screening event and QA with the film’s director, Suzanne Khardalian. In Part I, Grandma’s Tattoos (58 min) will be screened.

Grandma’s Tattoos is a personal film about what happened to many of the Armenian women during the 1915 genocide. Author and filmmaker Suzanne Khardalian makes a personal journey into her own family’s history to investigate the truth behind the experiences of Khanoum, her late grandmother. The film is like a ghost story; a mystery, a taboo. No one wants to tell the whole story. In order to bring the pieces of the puzzle together the film moves between different scenes, from today’s welfare Sweden all the way to Suzanne Khardalian’s childhood in Beirut. Through travels to Armenia, Lebanon, Syria and USA we also meet the children of other tattooed Armenian women and understand that their trauma was common, that rape and sexual violence was a “typical” fate for all those women who survived the ordeal. Grandma’s Tattoos is a story where the worlds of reality and fantasy become so intermingled that it becomes difficult to tell them apart.

About the Speakers

Suzanne Khardalian is an independent filmmaker and writer. She studied journalism in Beirut and Paris and worked as a journalist in Paris until 1988 when she started to work with films. She holds a Masters Degree in International Law and Diplomacy from Fletcher School at Tuft’s University and contributes with articles to different journals. She has directed a dozen films that have been shown both in Europe and the United States.

Dr. Becky Jinks is a historian of comparative genocide and humanitarianism at Royal Holloway, University of London. The Genocidal Captivity exhibition, which she has co-curated with Dr Christine Schmidt (Deputy Director and Director of Research at the Wiener Holocaust Library), forms part of her AHRC-funded research project Genocidal captivity: (Re)telling the stories of Armenian and Yezidi women survivors, 1915 and 2014. The project builds on her earlier work on international humanitarian organisations’ treatment of ‘absorbed’ Armenian women in the aftermath of the genocide.

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