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Friday, 26 February 2010

Welcome to my world

An unexpected side effect of writing this blog has been that it has inadvertently improved my geography.  Despite having O’ Level Geography it never was my strongest subject. Yet I have found myself tracking the global location of “hits” using the site meter.  

I have regular hits from America and readers from US states including Georgia, California, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Connecticut, Texas, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Oklahoma, Florida and Virginia. I was puzzled by one regular hit from California until I discovered it was actually the Google search engine. Mountain View California had sounded so exotic up until that point.

I have received “hits” from Canada and, for the very first time this week, one from South America in the shape of someone from Peru. New Zealand and Australia have also registered on my site meter as has Scandinavia and most of Europe including former Eastern bloc countries such as Poland,  the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Rather intriguingly I have also had hits from Hong Kong, Vietnam, Indonesia and Singapore.

However, the most fascinating for me has been from Yerevan in Armenia. Not only is Yerevan the capital, it is also one of the world’s oldest continuously occupied cities, dating back to 800 b.c.  In one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century, the Armenian people were targeted by the Ottoman Empire for deportation and massacre. The current Republic of Turkey has vigorously refuted the idea that genocide ever took place. Their political stance has been deemed by some modern scholars to be mere semantics. The deaths of so many hundreds of thousands (and some believe the death toll runs into well over a million  and a half Christian Armenians gives the lie to the idea that only Muslim countries have shown religious tolerance towards other faiths within their own borders as opposed to Christian countries.

Tate Modern is currently holding an exhibition of the work of the influential American artist, Arshile Gorky (c.1904-1948). An Armenian exile, Gorky survived the enforced march to the then Russian Yerevan, where his mother later died of starvation. The poster for the Tate exhibition shows one of Gorky’s most haunting works. Entitled The Artist and his mother” it was inspired by  a precious photograph that Gorky took with him into exile of his 12 year old self and his doomed parent. Having seen a recent documentary about the artist, I am determined to visit the exhibition myself. It is on at Tate Modern until 3rd May 2010.  Arshile Gorky at Tate Modern

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