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Published on 09 January 2020
Event date: 19/02/2020 10:00 Export event
Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons is a classic book about children having adventures on a lake. The Walker family have always been depicted as quintessentially English in the book, film and TV versions of the story; but what is not so widely known is that Ransome modelled his characters on the Altounyans, an Anglo-Armenian family from Aleppo, Syria. Swallows and Armenians reinstates the cultural diversity of the children who inspired Ransome with this touring exhibition of contemporary multi-media works by Babayan and historic paintings from the family’s own collection.
These include portraits and scenes by Dora Altounyan and include the iconic portrait of Titty as a child in Ransome’s possession for many years. Works by Mavis (Titty) Guzelian and WG Collingwood will also be shown. A book of short stories by Karen Babayan is brought to life in audio. Narrated by actor Persia Babayan-Taylor, the stories re-imagine the family in Coniston, Cumbria and Aleppo, Syria.
This project reappraises a children’s classic, uncovering and celebrating the ethnic richness of English culture. Swallows and Armenians is supported by Arts Council England.
Exhibition runs from 19 February to 15 March 2020
There are also the following special events:
Sunday 1 March 12-4pm FREE family-friendly adventure map-making drop-in workshop.
Saturday 7 March 2pm Karen Babayan Artist’s Talk, Book Reading & Circle Dance Event - An opportunity to listen to the fascinating history of Swallows and Armenians from the artist and author herself. She is joined by Shakeh Major Tchilingirian, a renowned dance artist based in London, who brings an Armenian cultural tradition to Cumbria. No previous dance experience necessary. £4 includes a glass of wine.
Saturday 14 March 12-4pm Stories We Are Told - a workshop for adults inspired by the stories in the exhibition. Explore themes of identity & hidden histories through relief print techniques. Karen Babayan is an inspiring and accessible tutor. Beginners welcome. £40 per person (materials provided).
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