This little big woman

This time, Berge Arabian fills our hearts with his dearest mother Markrit Arabian. This is the story of love, compassion and affection between a mother and a son.

Karin Karakaşlı

Berge Arabian

Though he is always at his work quietly and humbly, I always keep in mind that the person sitting at my elbow is a real photograph artist. His work is his word and cosmos. Berge Arabian gives himself away through his work. He brings his soul, puts his passion and blesses the honor of existence of the others. And when it comes to his own family, the story he tells is not only about himself. It is about the endless migrations, exiles, taking root all over again and falling apart of Armenian people, who can never die in their homeland. After all, Berge Arabian went to Lebanon from Syria, then to Canada and finally came to Turkey. He is the master of lost and preserved belongings and the memories that are forgotten and etched in soul. In his works, each person is both unique and universal; since love, faith, hope, longing and pain is common, if you are able to feel them.

This time, Berge Arabian fills our hearts with his dearest mother Markrit Arabian. His mother's health was deteriorated in 2000 and she wasn't able to leave home; while Berge Arabian had been photographing her during the various moments of her daily life, he really defined the illness period as a phase when the love was shared in its purest form. We are introduced with this woman's faith, gratefulness to life and soul emanating from her tiny body. This introduction is so intimate that we can swear that we have been knowing Markrit Tantik for years. She is like a dear aunt, a grandmother and a woman of earth for us. We begin wanting to hear her benediction every morning. We are sure that she is able to protect us from all evil with a single breath, despite all of her fragility. For mothers can create miracles if they want. And the life doesn't end with death. With death, it gets deeper and takes hold stronger than ever.

This is the story of love, compassion and affection between a mother and a son. There is no way to thank the one who shared this story with us...

                                                                                                                                                                Karin Karakaşlı

She loved the backyard and the plants that my brother planted there. She used to go to the backyard every time she feel bad, though it was too far to walk for her.


Berge Arabian

This woman,

who blessed the mornings of my youth with her tender kisses,

who turned our kitchen into an altar and the side tables into shrines,

who burned her candles and incense for all the masses that she missed at the church,

who, after 25 years of sickness could still say, ''thanks be to God that it’s not worse''

This tiny woman

who never forgot to pray to the souls of all the dead, ours and everyone else’s,

who filled her purse with handwritten prayers and saints,

who showed me how sacred love is

who was my mother of mothers

This little-big woman

who in the end closed her eyes in peace. Her face serene with gratefulness to this life,

to this last day with her children around her, to a god who was taking her away from all the pains of so many years.

She was very ill. I was waiting in the clinic corridor. The door opened and she came out. Walking towards me, she looked so tiny in the deep hallway. So fragile, so delicate she looked , wrapped in her coat and scarf. She was in pain and yet smiling because her son must not know how bad she felt.I knew then that one day she will leave and not return. And I would miss her immensely.That's how I started to photograph her. And one day she left. And I waited for her return for a long time. I thought angels sometimes come back...

(on the left) The Saturday church in our kitchen. Since her hands were shaking because of Parkinson's, we used to help her to light the candles. (on the right) My angel mother visiting a grave.

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