Forty Orphans is an illuminated manuscript made about my great grandfather’s journey along with 39 other displaced orphans from the Armenian genocide to being adopted by Ethiopian emperor Haile Silassie. One fateful day, Silsassie was walking along the Armenian quarter on a political mission to Jerusalem and heard these children playing music. He was so taken by their story that he adopted them and brought them to Ethiopia along with their brass instruments. They became the first royal brass band of Ethiopia and with their brass instruments, sparked what was to be the beginning of Ethiopian jazz. The texts in the book are excerpts from my great grandfather’s diary and his first experiences in Addis Ababa. This piece speaks of being a refugee and finding a home in unexpected places.
Acrylic, paper, leather,
.25''x 5'' x 10''