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This is part of the story of my grandmother’s sister, Mariam Harpootian. We called her Morcor, the Armenian word for aunt. Her husband, depicted floating away, had been taken away by Turkish soldiers in their hometown of Malatya, and killed along with many other Armenian men (see “Pails”).
Morcor always loved melons. During the “relocation” march, she watched her two year old daughter die because the Turkish soldiers, supposedly accompanying the deportees to protect them, would not let her carry her toddler daughter. When she herself lay dying in the Syrian Desert, a Turkish family, at great risk to their own lives, took her in and nursed her back to health by feeding her melons.
Over the years since I made this print, I’ve come to see the image of the melons as having a double meaning. I see it as a feminine symbol of strength: the womb-like outer shape holding in three moons which represent the three stages of a woman’s life.
Handpulled, drawn and printed by Cynthia Motian McGuirl
TITLE: “Morcord’s Melons”
MEDIUM: Intaglio: hardground, softground, aquatint, chine colle
IMAGE SIZE: 5 7/8” x 7 7/8”
PAPER: Soft White Pescia, Rives BFK 250 gr / Japanese Moriki (chine colle)
PAPER SIZE: 11” x 15”
INK: Gamblin Portland Black
TOTAL IMPRESSIONS: 29
WP Working Proofs: 1
x/x Arabic Numbered: 6
TP Trial Proofs:
II x/x Series #2 Edition:
CTP Color Trial Proofs: 3
AP Artist Proofs: 5
VE Variant Edition: 14
S1 State 1:
S2 State 2: