WIESBADEN, Germany — Nona Gabrielyan is the proud representative of an Armenian family that has produced four generations of artists (so far). Not only; in Germany, where she has lived with her artist husband Van Soghomonyan for the last quarter of a century, she has also been midwife to a generation of German artists. On November 24, she presided over the vernissage of an exhibition of works by a group of her students. Held at the Haus der Heimat (Homeland House) in Wiesbaden, the show entitled “Exhibition 1 + 9” features the creations of 9 of her students together with some of her own. It is the third such show of works done by several of the 55 aspiring artists who have taken lessons from her over the past twenty years in her Wiesbaden atelier.
As she explained in her welcoming remarks to a large group of guests at the festive inauguration, “Some of the students have become independent, others still come to classes because they think they still have something to learn. The art world is big and multifaceted, larger than our actual world. Everyone can find a place there. One needs only talent, courage and of course basic training. And I have tried to provide this for them.”
For Gabrielyan, there are no language or cultural borders separating one national art form from another. “Art is a universal language, especially painting and music! Everyone can understand it, without translation,” she said.
In her work in Wiesbaden, she has not only functioned as an art teacher, but also as a mediator of cultural dialogue, learning more about Germany through her students, and introducing them to her homeland. “All the young women whose works are exhibited here are not only my students but also my friends, for me and my whole family. Formerly I knew Germany through its literature and art history. Now I love Germany through my students and friends. And they, through me, have been able to know and love my country Armenia. Some of them visited, with their husbands.”
In fact, as she explained, in 2016 they organized a photo and graphics exhibition, which flanked a solo exhibit of hers at the Museum of Modern Art in Yerevan. “And it was very successful, I must say,” she noted. On the second floor of the showroom in Wiesbaden, there were photo montages hanging on the walls, with pictures of the trips made with her students, to Tuscany, France and Armenia.
At the opening ceremony, Vera Maier of the Haus der Heimat welcomed guests, noting that her association is a place where artists from all over the world come to paint. In attendance were local officials, including from the Hesse Ministry for Social Affairs and Integration, and the Hesse Association of German Refugees (after World War II). As Gabrielyan had said, not only art but also music is a universal language. To illustrate this were several offerings by soprano Irina Sokolovsky, former soloist at Odessa opera, now at the Mainz opera. The exhibition will continue until December 19, and at the closing, Gabrielyan, who is also an author, will read from two of her works in German and Russian.