Untitled Neon Signs for Bourj Hammoud

Vartan Avakian installed a red neon sign on the roof the previously unmarked gallery building spelling SFEIR-SEMLER in the Devangari script. Visible for miles it faces the Armenian neighborhood of Burj Hammoud, where the newly emigrated south Asian community has taken root. Inside the first room of the gallery hung two more signs by Avakian, one in Armenian and one in Arabic, one turned on and one turned off? both simply spelling out the name of the gallery, subtly demonstrating identification is always divisive, common ground displaced by property and languages neither neutral nor equivalent. Negar Azimi