2016 / Book / Documentary

There is Only the Earth: Images from the Armenian Diaspora Project

  • Photographer
    Scout Tufankjian

The story of the Armenians has always been one of upheaval. For the past 3000 years, waves of migrants have left their homes, following ancient trade and pilgrimage routes and fleeing countless revolutions, civil wars and massacres. Despite the centuries of displacement, today's Armenian diaspora is strong and vibrant with eight million Armenians living in over 85 countries. Growing up, I was fascinated by my fellow Armenians. But the only books and films I could find were about the Armenian Genocide of 1915, as if it had successfully ended the Armenian story. I would pore through my grandparents' books and magazines trying to find myself and my people in their pages, searching for glimpses of school kids in Kolkata or jewelers in Lebanon; soccer players in Argentina or musicians in France. That was the story I was looking for: the story of what happened to us after the genocide, how we had been affected by 100 years of exile and who we are now. In 2009, tired of searching, I created The Armenian Diaspora Project to tell the story of a people largely known only as the victims in one of the first genocides of the 20th century. This project is not, however, about victimhood. It is a portrait of survival, showing living, breathing Armenian communities a century after the genocide and in over twenty different countries on six continents- from India and Ethiopia to Egypt and France to Australia and Russia.