MEMORY OF TREES

Armenia, Turkey

2006 – 2008

In December 2011, the French National Assembly passes the Armenian genocide bill.

Turkey is fuming over French legislation that would criminalize any public denial of what the bill calls the Armenian genocide, which occurred in 1915 in Ottoman Turkey.

The US Foreign Affairs Committee passes legislation to recognize the Armenian Genocide. Turkey recalls the ambassador from the US. The bill doesn’t pass in the end.

In the early 1900s, as the Ottoman Empire collapsed, a fiercely nationalistic “Young Turks” movement took power. With the Empire’s fall, the multi-cultural attitude that had made it one of the most diverse world powers became eclipsed by the fledgling government’s dream of a “pan-Turkic” country. As with all ideologies, their taking hold and taking root meant the termination of what didn’t fit its new identity – its Christian Armenian citizens.

Recognized as “genocide” today by more than a dozen countries, Turkey still vigorously rejects that claim. Memory of Trees follows the remains and traces of an ambiguous, dark history – the definition of which is still being fought over nearly a century later.

With this reportage Kathryn Cook has won the 2008 Aftermath project; the 2008 Inge Morath Price; the Enzo Baldoni Prize 2008.

To continue her long-term work “Memory of Trees” in 2011 she is recipient of Marseilles-Provence-2013 (European Union-initiated project) artist residency.