Ararat Sarkissian’s City of Shushi Exhibit to Benefit War-Impacted Armenian Students at AUA

Ararat Sarkissian, Shushi 2020, 50x75cm, oval, oil on canvas

GLENDALE, CA — Friday, November 4 through Saturday, November 5, the Tufenkian Fine Arts gallery will be presenting Last Images from a Lost Paradise, a solo exhibition featuring artworks by artist Ararat Sarkissian. Known for his vibrant interpretations of experiences and cultural memory, this first solo show by Sarkissian will feature a limited number of oil paintings on canvas. Net proceeds from the event will benefit the American University of Armenia (AUA) and New Bird’s Nest Project to assist students, children, and families affected by the recent wars in Armenia and Artsakh. 

Ararat Sarkissian is an Armenian post-Soviet contemporary artist and printmaker based in Yerevan, Armenia. His works have been exhibited in the National Gallery of Armenia, the Singapore Armenian Heritage Gallery, the Jordan National Gallery of Arts and in various group exhibitions in Paris, Oxford, Chicago, Portland, Moscow, Kassel, Madrid and Tokyo. His art has been sold at charity auctions at Christie’s to benefit non-profit causes. He has also represented Armenia in the 2013 Venice Art Biennale international exhibition. He is the father of contemporary artist, Arshak Sarkissian. 

In his new collection, Ararat Sarkissian tries to capture exotic scenes from the beautiful lost city of Shushi, focusing on the invisible, hidden and mysterious sides of what is in view. His other works include urban scenes from his hometown Gyumri, and cities of Western Armenia which remain in the memory of Armenians as images of a ‘Lost Paradise’. What the artist attempts to capture in this collection are the “genius loci” of the lost Armenian city of Shushi, once the third largest city in the South Caucasus where culture thrived the most, after Tbilisi and Baku. After the 2020 Artsakh war, Shushi came under the control of Azerbaijan. In his creations, Sarkissian explores the contexts of identity offering a new lens to reflect on personal experiences of trauma, war and loss.

Ararat Sarkissian, Ghazanchetsots Street, 90x130cm, oil on canvas, 2019

In this particular collection, Sarkissian emerges as a contemporary artist who is articulating his experiences of trauma and grief as a witness to the destruction of Shushi’s cultural heritage. Having once survived loss from the 1988 earthquake in his hometown Gyumri, the artist tries to preserve a vanished past with the hope of illuminating and inspiring a collective new future. Through his paintings in the Last Images from a Lost Paradise exhibit, the artist portrays not only images of the lost city, but also conveys the psychological devastation felt by Armenians after the 2020 Artsakh war. “The questions of cultural memory and translation” are at the center of his new collection, Sarkissian says.

Left: Ararat Sarkissian, Homage to the Perished Defenders 2, 45x70cm, oil on canvas, 2016
Right: Ararat Sarkissian, Homage to the Perished Defenders 1, 45x70cm, oil on canvas, 2016

The exhibit will showcase over 20 recent paintings by the artist, all oil on canvas original creations that express his sensory response to the loss of Shushi. The works will be displayed at the Tufenkian Fine Arts Gallery for viewing and sale. All proceeds will go to AUA and the New Bird’s Nest Project to assist students, children, and their families affected by the Artsakh War. 

Gallery Address:

Tufenkian Fine Arts

216 S Louise St, Glendale, CA 91205

Hours: 11:00am to 5:00pm