“Meditation,” oil on canvas, 180x180cm, 2015 (photo Armen Yengoyan)

Painter Soghomonyan Repatriates from Germany and Exhibits in Yerevan

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YEREVAN — When artists Van Soghomonyan and Nona Gabrielyan moved back to Yerevan in 2022 after thirty years’ activity in Wiesbaden, Germany, some may have thought they were going to retire. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Suren Safaryan, left, presents certificate to Van Soghomonyan (photo Armen Yengoyan)

From March 1-10, the Grand Hall of the Artists’ Union of Armenia hosted a solo exhibition of Soghomonyan’s works, a “most joyful way to usher in the Spring,” as his daughter Lilit put it. The 73 works displayed included all the paintings from his recent years, the collection brought from Wiesbaden and, which is most remarkable, the works created since his return to Yerevan. These most recent creations, Lilit said, “are saturated with special light and life affirming power, which, frankly speaking, makes us very happy.” Although his works have been displayed over the years in the Armenian capital, this show takes on special significance, as it marks his return to the homeland. The concept behind the show was: “Each work is a unique story, a message, another opportunity to relate to the world.”

The exhibition was opened by Suren Safaryan, the President of the Artists’ Union of Armenia, an association that Soghomonyan and Gabrielyan have been members of since 1971. Both were born in Tbilisi, Georgia, Soghomonyan in 1937 and Gabrielyan in 1944. They met as art students in Yerevan, and married in 1965. In the 1970s and 1980s, they exhibited in many countries of the Soviet Union as well as Western Europe, and in 1992 moved to Wiesbaden, where they opened an atelier that was to become a meeting place for art lovers and a workshop for students. They continued to exhibit in Germany and other European countries. Soghomonyan gained recognition and awards for his sculptures, ceramics, and paintings. Many of his works reflect tragic and brutal developments of the 20th century, experienced by Armenians of his generation and others. In 2022, they moved back to Yerevan (https://mirrorspectator.com/2022/02/24/armenian-artists-return-home/).

A view of part of the exhibition (photo Armen Yengoyan)

The tradition is being continued in the family. Daughter Lilit Soghomonyan and her husband Gagik Ghazanchyan are both artists, their son Guy as well. In a 2021 exhibition at the Modern Art Museum in Yerevan, Guy Ghazanchyan offered reflections on the brutalities of war in Artsakh, through a series of portraits of young combatants (https://mirrorspectator.com/2021/12/16/pictures-at-exhibition-raise-profound-issues/).

Three generations of artists, from left, Lilit Soghomopnyan, Araqs, wife of Guy Ghazanchyan, Guy Ghazanchyan, Nona Gabrielyan, Van Soghomonyan with granddaughter Gabi, Van’s niece Mariuna, Gagik Ghazanchyan (photo Armen Yengoyan)

Colleagues, family members and visitors at Van Soghomonyan’s return appearance in Yerevan remarked on the optimistic mood pervading the atmosphere, especially emanating from his most recent paintings, full of light and life. This precious feedback is sure to inspire Soghomonyan to gain new strength for continuing his work.

Van Soghomonyan (photo Armen Yengoyan)

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