BOSTON, Mass.—Project Save Photograph Archives is proud to announce photographer and artist Pavel Romaniko as its first Artist-in-Residence. Romaniko will spend three months browsing the archives’ vast and diverse collection of original photographs. He will then create a public work based on his engagement with photographs. In November, he will also be featured in the Conversations on Photography series.
Originally from Pereslavl-Zalessky, Russia, Romaniko moved to the United States as a teenager. He earned a bachelor’s degree in studio arts from Northwestern College in Saint Paul, Minnesota and a master’s degree in imaging arts from Rochester Institute of Technology. He currently teaches photography at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. Romaniko uses photographs, sculptures and video to explore gaps in archives and collective memory, drawing on imagery and symbolism found both in the public domain and in her own memory. In this way, his work seeks to reconcile his own personal nostalgia with attempts to reconcile his native Russia with its tumultuous history and difficult relationship with a rapidly changing present.
For her residency, Romaniko chose to focus on a specific collection of over 2,000 photographs from Soviet Armenia which were donated by Jack Torossian to Project Save. “Although in my works I often rely and reflect on a public repository of images, I have never worked with an archive before. It’s a wonderful opportunity,” Romaniko said.
“I am extremely happy to welcome an established and unique artist like Pavel to the Save Project,” said Executive Director Dr. Arto Vaun. “The aim of the artist and research residencies is to extend the reach and impact of the Save project,” he continued. “Pavel’s background and artistry make him an ideal candidate to be our first artist-in-residence.”
“I find Project Save to be a fascinating resource for a number of reasons, but the most intriguing part to me is the fact that there is this large archive of photographs covering the modern history of a culture and its very difficult,” Romaniko continued. “What intrigues me is how archives mix the personal and the collective. For example, family albums alongside political and historical situations,” he added.
Announced last month, the Project Save artist and scholar residency is the only such initiative launched by an Armenian cultural organization in the region. By engaging with artists and professional researchers, Project Save becomes a living archive, preserving the past while engaging with the present and the future.
With over 80,000 original paper photographs from around the world, Project Save is the largest and oldest archive exclusively devoted to images of the Armenian World Experience. “Project Save has been under the radar for far too long,” said Dr Vaun. “As we approach our 50th anniversary, it is time for Project Save to become one of the most important Armenian cultural organizations in the world and one of the most important photographic archives in North America,” he said. he adds.