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Gagik Aghbalyan

Visiting Artists Sculpting Symbols of Peace in Artsakh

In memory of HakobGyurdjyan, a famous sculptor from Shoushi, sculptors from various countries have traveled to Artsakh to participate in the 4th International HakobGyurdjyan Symposium.

The visiting sculptors are to be seen in a town park next to the Fine Arts Museum working away, beneath the flags of their countries, on their pieces.

Craig Asher from New York  Asher at work

Sculptor Craig Asher, from New York, says he’s at a loss for words to describe the beauty of Artsakh. “It’s a very lyrical and beautiful place. But I’m sad that it’s in a war,” says Craig.

Manch Gao’s gift to the museum

Mr. Asher is sculpting a piece symbolizing peace, hoping that it will convey tranquility and fraternity to all who view it. The young artist says it an honor for him to participate in the symposium.

He says that the people of Artsakh are free and that it’s simply up to the rest of the world to recognize that right of theirs. “After arriving here, I understood that the problem facing the people is just one of status. They have everything else.”

Manchu Gao, a sculptor from China, uses one word to describe Artsakh – heaven. His sculpture deals with peace and culture. He has yet to name it.

“I want people to imagine the meaning of my work in their own way. But there are fundamental details; clouds and a dome. The dome rises to the sky, to the light,” says Gao.

The young Chinese artist got the idea for the sculptor after arriving in Artsakh. “Before arriving, I didn’t know anything about Armenia or the NKR. I learnt a few things on the internet. When I arrived, I was influenced to create this piece,” says Gao.

Gao isn’t worried that by visiting Artsakh, he is now on the “black-list” when it comes to travelling to Azerbaijan. “I knew about this before coming here. I am happy to be here. It’s worth it to wind up on a black-list just to see Artsakh.”


Manchu Gao

Mihran Hakobyan was born in Stepanakert, Artsakh’s capita, and fought in the liberation war. He’s the son of NKR People’s Artist Armen Hakobyan, who was killed in 1990. Mihran lives and works in Poland.

Mihran Hakobyan at work

For the 1st HakobGyurdjyan Symposium, Mihran sculpted a work called “Beginning”, that has been installed in Stepanakert.

The symposium kicked off on August 4 and will run till August 30. The park that now serves as a workshop for the sculptors will be officially opened that day.

The park is now adorned with some of the 42 works sculpted by visiting artists during the past three symposiums. The others are to be found in the Fine Arts Museum and throughout the country.

Shoushi Fine Arts Museum Director DonaraHaroutyunyan says the park is a veritable open-air museum.

Once the symposium ends, the artists will then visit Armenia and Georgia

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