Motherland byFrid Sogoyan, Bronze, 1990, Washington D.C. Dedicated in 1991, this gift from the Armenian people commemorates American Red Cross relief services after the devastating 1988 earthquake.

Sculptor Soghoyan, Creator of Armenian Monument near White House, Passes Away: Video Report

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MOSCOW – Sad news arrived from Russia: sculptor Frid Soghoyan (Sogoyan in Russian) passed away at the end of July. He was born in 1936 in the town of Gyumri (back then Leninakan).

Frid Soghoyan

As a schoolboy Soghoyan would often miss classes in order to go out onto the streets to see how master craftsmen were carving ornaments on stone. As an adult, having grown up to be a sculptor, he was invited to Moscow by the Academy of Fine Arts of the USSR in 1970. In Moscow and Kiev, Soghoyan was a part of groups that created famous monuments dedicated to World War II. Soghoyan received several awards from the Armenian, Russian and Ukranian governments. Works crafted by this prominent sculptor are displayed in the museums of Russia, Germany, United Kingdom, France, United States and certainly Armenia.

However, in America he is best known for the monument which stands in front of the American Red Cross’s national headquarters next to the White House. It symbolized the gratitude of the Armenian people to the Red Cross in particular and to the United States in general for the enormous humanitarian aid to devastated Armenia after the 1988 earthquake. “To the American people from grateful Armenian people,” the inscription on the monument says.

Soghoyan personally reflected on this: “I am from Gyumri and I did lose 32 close friends in the 1988 earthquake. During my visit to Washington, I realized how important U.S. aid was to the earthquake victims. I had to do something in appreciation for what the American people had done for Armenia.”

As prominent Armenian-American journalist David Zenian reported,  “…Soghoyan began work on a large statue depicting a mother with a child in her arms. Through his new American friends and the help of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow Soghoyan contacted former Senator Bob Dole and the American Red Cross and arrangements were made to transfer the life-size structure.”

The statue is made out of bronze and is 140 inches long. It exists on the Red Cross’s website.

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Rita Balian, prominent community activist from Washington, remembers the erection of the statue of gratitude which took place in 1990 in the following video.

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