Haig Kargayan is a Los Angeles-based artist and the owner of Karga Studios. An accomplished painter, Kargayan partnered with the American University of Armenia (AUA) to auction two of his works, Out of Homeland and Homeland in Mind, the proceeds of which will go towards establishing AUA student scholarships.
Kargayan’s passion for art was developed at an early age. At the age of nine, he attended the Sarian Academy in Aleppo, Syria, where he was introduced to the basic rules and theories of drawing. As a teenager and young adult, he was passionate about architecture, an interest that endures to this day and has been the source of inspiration for many of his pieces.
During his studies for a bachelor’s degree in business administration, Kargayan started making architectural scale models as a hobby, which soon evolved to a full-time career. In the decade that followed, he worked on several large architectural projects for renowned firms in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. In 1984, with the ongoing civil war in Lebanon, Kargayan emigrated to the United States. There, he established a new venture and continued his family business in silk screening, while keeping painting as a hobby. In 2018, encouraged by his family and friends and inspired by the art awards bestowed upon him in the past, Kargayan decided to focus on honing his talent and transitioned to working as a full-time artist.
Throughout his life, Kargayan has been a staunch proponent of education. “As a proud Armenian, and looking on to Armenia as my homeland, I want to support AUA as best as I am able to,” he says. He hopes that, in addition to receiving a quality education at AUA, students will be able to think more proactively, set ambitious goals for Armenia’s advancement, and shape a brighter future for generations to come.
Discussing the two artworks he is auctioning in this AUA undertaking, Out of Homeland and Homeland in Mind, Kargayan notes that both pieces are centered around the idea of the homeland. “There are different periods in artists’ lives that influence their inspirations and are reflected in the creative work they produce. Lately, I have been reflecting on my childhood memories.” His inspiration for these two works, Kargayan explains, stems from his life experiences: he was born an Armenian in Syria, spent his adolescent years in Lebanon where he witnessed war and destruction, and migrated to the United States as a refugee fleeing civil war. As a result of his experiences and through his paintings, Kargayan aims to convey what exactly “homeland” means to him.
Through his artwork in general, and these two paintings in particular, he hopes to inspire Armenians, especially those living in Armenia, to view art as a healing medium. “Art, especially surrealism, is capable of reflecting one’s thoughts and transferring one to a world seen through feelings that recognize the true identity hidden behind artificial curtains and perceive fake situations that are not meant to be good for one. Armenia needs to open its third eye and take control of its future,” Kargayan says, pointing out that we live in critical times requiring us to put our people and nation first, above anything else. He further iterates that Armenia belongs to its people, and that, collectively, we need to produce leaders who can guide the country towards progress. That, he affirms, can be achieved through education. “Keep our history in mind, and let it be your guide.”
To learn more about Kargayan’s paintings or place a bid, please visit the AUA art auction website at http://aua.cbo.io.