Julfa Cemetery Project: Exhibition and Colloquium in Rome

23 Sep 2016 - 00:00

1-day Colloquium: Friday 23 September 2016

Exhibitions: Saturday 24 - Sunday 26 September 2016

Venue: Soap Factory, Via degli Argonauti 16, 00154 Roma The former Soap Factory is in Garbatella, 500m from Garbatella Metro station. It has on-site parking, and there are bus stops nearby.

This immersive 3D exhibition and associated colloquium will appeal to those with interests in endangered cultural heritage and its preservation, in 3D visualisation, in digital humanities, in medieval and religious art, in Near Eastern history, early Christian history, theology, and social justice.

The Julfa Cemetery Digital Repatriation Project is creating a virtual reconstruction of the ancient Armenian cemetery at Julfa, completely destroyed by Azeri troops in the first five years of this century. The project has been undertaken to restore dignity to the deceased inhabitants of Julfa Cemetery and ensure the public memory of Armenia’s cultural heritage. This includes its 'repatriation' to people of Armenian extraction wherever in the world they may be living, but its significance as world cultural heritage is equally important. The cemetery is also important testimony to early Christian history in the Near East.

The project is hosted by The Australian Catholic University which is celebrating the opening of a joint 'Rome Centre' with Catholic University of America. This is the project's first immersive 3D exhibition, based on 3D scans and photographs of about 15 extant monuments from Julfa - i.e. those that were removed from Julfa cemetery for one reason or another during the course of the 20th Century.

The exhibition will be available for public viewing in the Soap Factory from 10.00 am to 9.00 pm on Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th September. Those attending the Conference on Friday 23rd will be the first to experience the exhibition, with a preliminary view during the conference and an extended viewing at the close, with a reception to follow.

The purpose of the Conference is to describe the rationale, work and goals of the project and the importance of Julfa's funerary monuments, especially its medieval khachkars (cross-stones), whose international cultural significance was recognised by UNESCO when they were added to the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage soon after the final destruction of the cemetery in 2006. The speakers will include Professor Hamlet Petrosyan, a leading international expert on the monuments of Julfa, Argam Ayvazyan, whose systematic photography of the cemetery makes its virtual reconstruction possible, and members of the project team: Harold Short, Judith Crispin and Drew Baker.

Those attending the colloquium will be provided with lunch, as well refreshments in the morning and afternoon breaks, the reception which will follow the colloquium. Full details are available on the project website at https://julfaproject.wordpress.com/1-day-conference-and-exhibition-rome.

For catering purposes those wishing to attend the colloquium are asked to contact Harold Short : haroldshort [at] mac.com.