LOS ANGELES—Tufenkian Fine Arts will present, “Last Images from a Lost Paradise,” a special charity exhibition of artworks by Yerevan-based artist Ararat Sarkissian. Net proceeds from the event will benefit the American University of Armenia and New Bird’s Nest Project to assist students, children, and families affected by the recent wars in Armenia and Artsakh. The exhibition will be on view Friday, November 4th and Saturday, November 5th.
Sarkissian’s practice is grounded in the retention of experience, identity, and cultural memory. The artist is interested in exploring the ambiguities of Armenian identity and providing a new lens through which to view the experiences of trauma, war and loss. Having survived a major obliteration of collective memory – the 1988 earthquake which destroyed his beloved city of Gyumri – Sarkissian tries to preserve and evoke a vanished past in that hope that it may illuminate our collective future.
For “Last Images from a Lost Paradise,” Sarkissian will present a selection of oil paintings from the artist’s “City of Shushi” series. These paintings not only capture the city’s exotic scenes, but focus on the invisible, the hidden, and the mysterious side of what might appear. In this series of work, Sarkissian emerges as a contemporary artist in the context of his experiences as a survivor and a witness articulating the impact of trauma on his art. In “Last Images from a Lost Paradise,” the questions of cultural memory and translation stand at the center of Sarkissian’s work. Through his paintings in “Last Images from a Lost Paradise,” the artist not only chronicles images of a lost city, but the psychological devastation that has affected Armenians since the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war.
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. He is the father of contemporary artist, Arshak Sarkissian.
Tufenkian Gallery is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia and affiliated with the University of California. AUA provides a global education in Armenia and the region, offering high-quality, graduate and undergraduate studies, encouraging civic engagement, and promoting public service and democratic values.
The New Bird’s Nest Project is a non-profit social enterprise in Armenia that intends to employ proven social strategies aimed at significantly improving the lives and well-being of the children affected by war and historical injustice in Armenia.