Levon Lachikian Exhibit to Benefit Hintlian School in Armenia


By Florence Avakian

Special to the Mirror-Spectator

BAYSIDE, N.Y. — Datev Monastery in Goris; Hovhannes Shiraz Museum in Gumri; a Meghri backyard with old wooden houses on stilts; Baalbek Temple in Lebanon; the Bridge of Sighs in Venice; the Empire State Building in New York.

These are a few of the more than 50 unique, delicate and descriptive pen-and-pencil drawings by Yerevan artist Levon Lachikian, which were on display at the Holy Martyrs Armenian Church during a special exhibit and reception on Friday, December 2, sponsored by the Constantinople Armenian Relief Society (CARS). The proceeds from the sale of the artwork will benefit the Hintlian School in Armenia.

The Hintlian School is a project that was originally initiated by the Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR) in Istanbul. Since the school no longer exists there, the project having shifted to Armenia where CARS is now sponsoring and funding it, with FAR organizing and managing it. CARS also pays the cost of transporting the children to the school, as well as the daily lunch free of charge to 60 of the most vulnerable students.

In addition, CARS provides scholarships to needy as well as academically able students. Currently, the school has 150 students, and is just two hundred meters from the Azerbaijani border.

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The special art preview attracted close to 150 people. Among the special guests in attendance was Vasken Baron, the Deputy Mayor of Shishli, an old and wealthy neighborhood in Istanbul. Baron, who has held this post for more than 12 years, is the first Armenian to hold such a high position.

Also present were several members of the CARS organization, including its President Tamar Kayserian who welcomed the guests, and former presidents Frank Kabarajian and Berj Araz. Officials from FAR in attendance were Arto Vorperian, Andre Berg and Noune Soukiassian. Besides devoting his talent to his art, Lachikian holds the position of Press Secretary at the FAR office complex in Yerevan.

In his remarks of appreciation, Lachikian with a dose of humor and wisdom, related that he had titled this exhibition “Armenian World” because everywhere in the world there are Armenians. “A bird needs two wings to fly — Armenia and the diaspora,” he continued. “The Armenian world has no borders. Armenia has such magnificent scenery, but such a desperate economic lifestyle, with close to half the country in poverty. It’s crucial that the talent stay in Armenia and not leave. And for this, the people must have work.”

Lachikian revealed that there are 1,400 children in orphanages in Armenia. Out of this figure, a very small percentage have no parents, he said. The rest come from families who cannot support them. “The student population is decreasing because of immigration and the low birth rate, and this results in teachers also being out of work,” he added.

Showing photos and video of the Hintlian School, he declared that it is “very important to have our people on the Armenian-Azeri border so we don’t lose the territory and also to relay inspiration. Therefore it is vitally important for diasporan organizations to support schools on the borders,” he stated with emphasis. Ending

on a positive note, he related that the Hintlian School is the only one that is increasing in population.

Lachikian was born in Gumri (then called Leninakan), in 1955, and studied philology at Yerevan State University, attaining a PhD in aesthetics. He taught at both Yerevan State University and the Yerevan Conservatory, then went on to work at the Azg daily newspaper as an art critic. Combining culture with media work, he became head of public relations at the Opera and Ballet National Theatre. Currently, he is press secretary at the Yerevan FAR office.

An author of four books, he has held personal exhibitions in Yerevan, Gumri and Goris, and is a member of the Artists Union and the Journalists Union in Armenia.

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