About Robert Barsamian
Robert Barsamian was born into a close-knit Armenian community in Whitinsville, Massachusetts in 1947, the son and grandson of survivors of the 1915 Armenian Genocide. A studio art major at Massachusetts College of Art, Barsamian went on to receive his M.A. in 1971 from the State University of New York at Albany. After moving to Dallas in the early 1980s, he first came to prominence for his paintings and drawings of figures in swimming pools, characterized by beautifully rendered effects of light and water.
University of North Texas musician Kayla Liptak will perform on the semantron, an ancient instrument used in Eastern European and Orthodox Catholic monasteries to call monks to worship. While semantra predate bells, churches and monasteries in the Ottoman Empire reverted to them when the ringing of bells was outlawed under Islamic rule, thus making the simple, wooden planks an unassuming symbol of subversion and perseverance. The instrument can also be seen as a source of healing through connections with music, prayer, and culture.