The PjCC is proud to be a part of the Initiative on Jewish Peoplehood presenting educational and cultural programs that explore Jewish heritage, identity, and community. This initiative is co-funded by the Koret Foundation, Taube Foundation for Jewish Life and Culture and other Bay Area funders.
The PJCC is currently accepting artist submissions for our upcoming gallery season.
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Cultural Arts Coordinator
PJCC Art Gallery Exhibits
The Art Gallery at the Peninsula Jewish Community Center is committed to showcasing the works of talented Jewish artists as well as presenting exhibits that explore Jewish values, themes and ideas. It is our hope that along with adorning our walls, the exhibits will serve to stimulate personal thought and lively conversations among our members and guests.
During your next visit to the PJCC stop by our gallery located in our lobby and in the Koret Learning Center hall. Exhibits are free and open to the public!
The PJCC Art Gallery presents
Elia Kahvedjian: The Invisible Photographer
April 4 – June 30,
About The Artist
Elia Kahvedjian was born in Ourfa, Turkey in 1910. In 1915 his entire family (including parents, eight siblings, uncles and aunts) was captured and killed during the Armenian Genocide. Young Elia was marched alongside his mother, who at the last possible moment, found an opportunity to save her son by giving him to a Kurdish man. Elia survived, but was not spared the memory of seeing his mother led away and executed.
The next chapter of Elia’s tragic but miraculous childhood included being sold as a slave for five gold coins However, when his “master” remarried, the new wife tossed Elia out and he found himself alone on the streets. Where exact years are unknown, Elia’s recollection of his time alone includes many harrowing events and near escapes. At around 10 years of age, Elia was transported to an orphanage in Nazareth where he began apprenticing for a photographer. When he moved to Jerusalem in his teens he began working at the photo shop that would later become his own.
In addition to becoming an accomplished photographer, Elia also amassed a collection of 1,400 photographs dating from 1840 – 1947.
Elia Kahvadjian died in Jerusalem in 1999, but his shop, Elia Photo Service (www.eliaphoto.com), continues to thrive thanks to his son and grandson. The shop is located in the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem.
About the EXhibit
The photographs in this exhibition of are of Pre-State Israel and date back to Kahvedjian’s earliest professional pictures taken in 1924. They depict the charm and beauty of some of the architectural, historical and cultural features from the early part of the 20th century. Some of his sessions were planned, but many of these scenes he stumbled upon with the camera at his side by happenstance. Kahvedjian was given the nickname The Invisible Photographer because of his ability to overcome both his shyness and cultural barriers and restrictions in accessing highly diverse subjects and landmarks.
The photographs in this show are on loan from the Kahvedjian family. The PJCC is grateful to Laura Dirtadian, Elia’s granddaughter (and PJCC member) who brought Elia’s incredible story and body of work to our attention, and to Astrid Markarian, Elia’s daughter, who helped provide insight into the historic significance behind several of the photos. Thanks also to Kevo Kahvadjian (Elia’s son) who has been an additional resource and has offered to process orders for prints seen in this show.
For inquiries or to order prints, please visit the PJCC administration office.
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