SAFAA-75th anniversary: A jubilee exhibition at Artists’ Union of Armenia
In order to get higher education in fine arts, Armenian youth used to leave for Russian cities, mainly Moscow or Leningrad and Georgia, Tbilisi as well till 1945, but that continued until the decree to open Fine Arts Institute in Yerevan on 29th of June of the same year. It was not a coincidence that the role of arts education raised immediately after the World War II, the period when the society was on depression after so much loss and art development was one of the effective means to fight it.
75th anniversary of SAFAA was to be marked the previous year. However it wasn’t celebrated because of COVID19 situation and the war that broke out later that year.
Yesterday, on November 11, the exhibition opened at the Artists’ Union Hall after Ara Sargsyan was a jubilee. Suren Safaryan, president of the Artists’ Union, who is also a graduate of the Academy, mentioned at the opening of student exhibition at Albert and Tove Boyajyan Gallery a few hours later that the warmest memories of his life were connected with his study years. Here, in his congratulatory speech, he recalled the people who had been putting their efforts and still continued to do so in favour of the Academy’s development.
The Rector of the Academy, Aram Isabekyan has devoted most of his life to the Academy itself, first as a student, then as vice-rector, later as Rector. Since Independence, particularly throughout 90’s it was due to his friends’ and his personal efforts that made it possible and saved the existence of the institution. Later on those efforts were directed to the reconstruction and renovation of the building, acquisition of new branches and developing new educational programmes. All those themes and people contributing it were mentioned by the Rector; the latter also spoke about two main figures standing at the roots of the institution’s establishment, namely Ara Sargsyan and Martiros Saryan.
The Rector also spoke about the establishment of SAFAA in 1945 that was firstly named Institute of Fine Arts and the Institute of Theatre that later joined the former. These two institutions of course separated later, functioning as two separate HEIs.
“The previous years were fruitful to us, we restored the existing building, opened two branches, one in Gyumri, the other in Dilijan, opened exhibition hall and hall that we didn’t have before. We enhanced the educational programmes, cooperation with European institutions, and participation in 10 Tempus (now Erasmus+) projects, two of which were coordinated by our institution that is subject of appreciation. As a higher education institution on art, our Academy is the only one.”
The Rector also introduced the participants of jubilee exhibition. They were both the Professors and students of SAFAA also graduates of recent years, a part of them having been participated in the war in September. He also remembered about the war victims, thirteen students of SAFAA and asked those present to preserve a minute of silence in their memory.
Deputy Minister of Culture, Ara Khzmalyan also made a congratulatory speech outlining the utmost importance of the Academy not only in education but also in culture.
“In these very difficult times artists have a mission to fill the life with hope and inspiration, joy and happiness that was felt from the very first minutes of entering the hall.” The exhibition was really impressive and full of wonderful works. Many of them conveyed aesthetic pleasure; particularly the works that were created on the rhythm and pulse of today’s life.
Two works of Sahak Poghosyan were among them. Vahe Gasparyan’s “Metamorphosis” was very interesting. Aram Isabekyan’s abstract works were outstanding, full of inner thoughts, different, Edik Vardanyan’s bright paintings- the projections of the artists’ inner vision, the pictorial artistic realization of Arthur Hovhannisyan’s daily life. The small sculptures of Garegin Davtyan, Ashot Gevorgyan, Getik Baghdasaryan and Tariel Hakobyan were very imprerssive.
Translated by Naira Stepanyn