Sweet & Sour2021-2022
Three-channel video installation, 21’57” looped.
Commissioned by Bonnefanten Museum, Maastricht.
As a third generation Syrian photographer of Armenian descent, Sarkissian grew up with the inherited narrative of the Armenian genocide of 1915. His grandfather, whom he never met, came from Khantsorig (meaning “little apple”), a village in the Sasoun region located in present-day Turkey. A 1923 photo of the region was always present in the Sarkissian household, serving as a tool to keep the narrative alive for future generations. In addition, in the Armenian imaginary Sasoun was, and to a great extent still is, where a creation mythology, revolutionary songs and legends were born.
For Sweet and Sour, Sarkissian travelled to his ancestral village Khantsorig, to capture this unknown yet familiar place. In the second phase, he travelled to Damascus, where he shared the footage with his father, who has also never visited Khantsorig. The filmed encounter focusses on the emotional landscape of his father’s face. A third screen shows Sarkissian himself overlooking his ancestral land.
Sweet and Sour is a project that explores how personal stories and larger histories can be navigated as territories.