By Aram Arkun
WATERTOWN — Ani Babaian held her first solo exhibition of paintings in New England, called “The Spectrum of a Legacy,” at the Adele and Haig Der Manuelian galleries of the Armenian Museum of America. The opening took place on May 15, and the exhibition will continue until July 3. There were 35 works (in all 45 pieces) displayed. Approximately 60 people were present at the opening, including visitors from New York and Montreal.
Babaian gave a brief talk at the opening, and spoke about her interests as a painter. She declared that growing up in New Julfa, a suburb of Isfahan, Iran, she was surrounded by mosques, synagogues, churches and temples, as well as gardens and mansions. These surroundings, she said, “to me represented a dialogue among civilizations.”
Babaian obtained a Master of Fine Art degree from Alzahra University in Tehran, where she wrote her thesis titled, “Mutual Influences: New Julfa and Isfahan Mural Paintings of the 17th Century.” In Iran she worked on many restoration projects, including that of the murals of St. Amenaprkich Vank in New Julfa, and studied and taught art history. She moved to Massachusetts in 2010 after marrying Saro Khachikian and in 2013 joined the staff of the National Association of Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR). She is responsible for the cataloguing of the NAASR Mardigian Library.
Babaian has participated in solo and group exhibitions of her paintings in Iran, Armenia and the US (Lowell, Lexington and Watertown in Massachusetts). The most recent one prior to this exhibition was in New York. It was called “Animating the Word: The Legacy of Iran’s Minority Calligraphic Traditions,” at the Tally Beck Contemporary Gallery. Her works appeared last year in the group exhibits “Pursuing Justice through Art 2015” at the Whistler House Museum of Art in Lowell and “The Armenian Genocide: A Silent Testimony” at the Armenian Museum of America.