Works of Armenian sculptor Yervant Gojabashian come to Fresno State

Artist Yervant Gojabashian with one of his sculptures.

Entering the St. Etchmiadzin Cathedral complex, the seat of the Armenian Apostolic Church, the faithful pass through the gate of St. Gregory the Illuminator. In the middle of the large stone archway are the bas-reliefs of King Tiridates III and St. Gregory, whose hands nearly touch at the cross. The relief signifies the conversion of Armenia from paganism to Christianity in 301 A.D., making Armenia the first state in the world to embrace Christianity. 

Artist Yervant Gojabashian, one of Armenia’s most prominent sculptors and painters, created this modern gateway to the centuries-old spiritual center. Internationally renowned, Gojabashian’s exhibits have appeared in major cities worldwide, and now, the community is invited to experience some of his works that will be on display at Fresno State.

The Armenian Studies Program presents the Gojabashian: Blessed Hands of the Armenian Heritage art exhibition, Monday, April 10, through Sunday, April 30, at the Leon S. Peters Ellipse Gallery, on the second floor of the Fresno State Library during library hours. An opening reception with Gojabashian will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 13, in the gallery. The reception and the exhibition are free, and the public is welcome.

Gate of St. Gregory the Illuminator at the entrance to St. Etchmiadzin Cathedral. Photo courtesy of Mike Bashian.
Gate of St. Gregory the Illuminator at the entrance to St. Etchmiadzin Cathedral. Photo courtesy of Mike Bashian.

Born in Aleppo, Syria, Gojabashian moved to Soviet Armenia with his family at an early age. In 1966, he graduated from the Yerevan Art and Theatre Institute and in 1981, he moved to the United States and established residence in Montebello, California. 

Gojabashian has been featured in several significant exhibitions in Boston, Detroit and Los Angeles. His works, including marble and tufa figures, have been exhibited at Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre Gallery, Pasadena Armenian Center and the Downey Museum of Art. 

The late art historian Henrik Igitian said, “Armenia is a land of stone, and it is not unnatural that it would produce a generation which was influenced by modern-day life, would give new form to these stones. In the hands of Yervant Gojabashian, the stone is revitalized.”

In addition to the entrance to St. Etchmiadzin Cathedral, his bas-reliefs decorate the facades of the Hotel Ani and the Yerevan House of Cinematography. Scholars say his reliefs are distinguished for their complex ornamental composition and their variety of national motifs, figures and plants. 

“Among the prominent artists of Armenia, Yervant Gojabashian should be singled out,” art critic Poghos Haitaian said.

“Gojabashian: Blessed Hands of the Armenian Heritage” is sponsored by the Thomas A. Kooyumjian Family Foundation and the Armenian Studies Program at Fresno State. The exhibition is organized by Lucy Erysian, Mike Bashian, Hazel Antaramian, and Prof. Barlow Der Mugrdechian and curated by Steve Ruppel and Chris Lopez.  

A parking code for lots P30 and P31 is available by contacting the Armenian Studies Program.

Posted by

Fresno State College of Arts and Humanities Communication Specialist

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