Oil on wood panel
23 x 43 in

This oil painting is of a memory I have that took place on the grounds of the AGBU (Armenian General Benevolent Union) Zahroukian School. It was a private school I used to attend up until the fourth grade. Despite the name, my experiences and memories of it were not that of benevolence. I remember being thrown to a table by one of my teachers for being late to class. Another would have students massage her in exchange for better grades. Another quit her job because students would ignore her efforts entirely and play during class. But the memory I painted in particular, is when we students were playing soccer (either before school started or during recess). It started as a game made of a group of two teams. But my teammates switched to the opposing team, and I was left alone to play against everyone. I wish I remembered the score. While I always wondered if my experiences at this school are what led me to have difficulties socializing with others, it is not an experience I regret, or feel sad about or want to forget. Because I do not remember a sad lonely boy, but rather a courageous one that inspires me to be more like him as an adult.

Now a Stanford International College, I had gone back to what used to be my school in order to collect reference photos of the building. Almost everything has been kept the same. I removed and stole bricks from both the wall and floor of the property. I then crushed them into fine pigments and mixed them with linseed oil in order to make my own paints for the work. The wall in the painting is made from the actual brick of the wall of the school. The floor of the painting is made from the actual brick of the floor of the school. Each face is painted in the likeness of actual students with the reference of old school photos.

The title of the painting is in reference to an Armenian military leader (c. 387 – 451).