An Unprecedented Exhibition upon 15th Anniversary of Constitutional Court


By Hagop Vartivarian

Starting on February 4 to April 1, the halls of Constitutional Court remained open both for the public and staff. During this period works of Armenian artists have been exhibited there for the first time. This year is the 15th anniversary celebration of the establishment of the Constitutional Court, and on this occasion an exhibition has been organized upon the request of the Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court, Gagik Harutyunyan. We can say that this exhibition brought a breath of fresh air to the working atmosphere of the court employees, when Dr. and Mrs. Raffy and Shoghag Hovanessian from New Jersey, benefactors, art patrons and promoters of contemporary Armenian artists’ works from the motherland, accepted to organize it. Shoghag Hovanessian was entrusted the responsibility of curating this unique exhibition within the walls of the Constitutional Court.

Perhaps for some people the connection between constitution and art might seem unexpected and surprising. However, it should be indicated to them that this connection is the close inner expression of the Armenian persona emanating from our long history, where one can find excitement, tragedy, meditation, soulful expression and, along with these, surely justice. Finally, who should be the most righteous person, if not the artist, who is the disposer as well as the mirror of mankind’s complete feelings, and throughout that way of standards and universal values.

Especially in our case the Armenian artist, who created during the most unjust and turbulent period of our history, in spite of all pressures, insecurities, blockades and most elemental injustices.

For preparation of this exhibition Shoghag Hovanessian had in her mind three various phases from the current 20th and 21st centuries — works of art from immediate past, present and future. Thus works of 10 contemporary artists have been exhibited on the first floor: Arevik Arevshatyan, Ruben Grigoryan, Narek Avetisyan (son of eminent artist Minas), Sargis Hamalbashyan, Hamlet Hovsepyan, Moko (daughter of great artist Rudolf Khachatryan ), Vahan Rumelyan, Ararat Sargsyan, Arthur Sargsyan and Davit Kareyan. This is a beautiful bouquet of midcareer contemporary Armenian artists.

The walls of the Constitutional Court’s second floor were exhibited with works of the great artist at the end of the past century, Hakob Hakobyan, who is now already considered a classic. In spite of his advanced age, he continues creating. He is certainly the last of the Mohicans who comes from the old times.

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The past, in this exhibition is presented by the French-Armenian eminent late artist, Carneg Zouloumian, known as Carzou, which is exhibited in the hall of the Constitutional Court where serious deliberations take place. The 21 works have been loaned to the exhibition by the same curator — the aforementioned couple, who is very dear to us. Let us remember that Shoghag Hovanessian, who is known as Vicki in American circles, before moving to New Jersey, had been the chairperson of the Collectors’ Forum at the Contemporary Art Museum in Chicago. Already since 1995, she has played a pivotal role in presenting works of contemporary Armenian artists in her gallery, to the American museums, art galleries and private collectors.

On the day of the opening of the exhibition, the Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court, Harutyunyan mentioned that “this exhibition is an attempt to organize our state life in a meaningful way, to appreciate the professionals surrounding us.” On this occasion, Harutyunyan awarded Shoghag Hovanessian and Hakobyan with special appreciative certificates.

Prime Minister Tigran Sargisian, mayor of Yerevan Karen Karapetyan, general procurer Aghvan Hovsepyan, all the justices and other high officials of Armenia were present during the opening ceremony.

Indeed Shoghag Hovanessian will continue organizing similar exhibitions. Last autumn she organized another major exhibition of our contemporary Armenian artists upon the request of the dynamic rector Gohar Kyalyan dedicated to the 90th anniversary of Yerevan State Medical University after MekhitarHeratsi. Her love towards her motherland has no boundaries. She has the decades of experience promoting arts, inherited from her parents and from her current environment in Beirut, where she was born into an intellectual family who instilled in her a profound fondness and respect of the arts. We are looking forward to Shoghag Hovanessian’s new initiatives.

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