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NAIRI SAFARYAN

b. 1958, Shushi, Armenia

SELECTED COLLECTIONS

Folk Art Museum, Yerevan, Armenia

SELECTED EXHIBITIONS

2012 Turned Wood – Small Treasures, del Mano - A Gallery of Fine Contemporary Craft, LLC,

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2011 Sculpture Objects & Functional Art Exposition, Chicago, IL

Inside & Outside The Box, del Mano Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

Turned Wood - Small Treasures, del Mano Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

New Perspectives In Wood, del Mano Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

2009         Woodcarving Show, Romana Country Carvers, San Jacinto, CA

2007         Solo Exhibition, Naregatsi Art Center, Yerevan, Armenia

2005         International Exhibition, Kazan Republic of Tatarstan, Russia

2002         Spirit of Wood, California State Fair, Sacramento, CA

        5th Annual Cambria Wood Show, Cambria, CA

Wood Fair 2002, College of the Redwoods, Eureka, CA

International Woodworking Symposium, Provo, UT

Clark County Fair, Logandale, NV

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS

2007         Official periodical of “Oukht Ararati” LTD Yerevan, Armenia. May-June
        “Afisha” magazine Yerevan, Armenia. April 
        “Golos Armenii” Yerevan, Armenia. April 
2005          Book by Yakob Zargaryan. ISBN 99930-4-47-7  Yerevan, Armenia
2003         “The  New Era” magazine. Las Vegas, Nevada. December, Volume 33. N12
        “Golos Armenii” Yerevan, Armenia. December 
2002         “Chip Chats” magazine of National Wood Carvers Association Cincinnati, Ohio.

Sept. - Oct.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Nairi Safaryan was born in 1958 in the town of Shushi located in the Karabagh region of Armenia. Nairi’s childhood is filled with memories of carving wooden toys, drawing, and creating chalk sculptures. In 1973 he moved with his family to Yerevan. It was there that he attended Yerevan Polytechnic Institute and received his degree in engineering. Shortly after graduation he took a promising position with a prestigious company as an engineer. It was while working at his new position that he met his wife Anahit, also a graduate of Yerevan Polytechnic. Nairi began his life as an engineer.

Even with his duties at work Nairi always found time for his carving. In 1987 Nairi Safaryan became a member of the Art Fund. This gave him an opportunity to exhibit his work along side other artists. It was in this exhibition that he made his first sales as an artist. Fond admirers purchased a finely carved vase and jewelry box which he had created for the exhibition. Nairi was reassured that his hands were capable of creating fine pieces of art that people not only liked but would buy.

On September 21, 1991, the day of Liberty Quorum, Nairi decided to show his work at Vernisage, an outdoor art fair in the central region of Yerevan. He took one of his jewelry boxes to present at the fair. He didn’t have his own display table so he placed the box on the ground in a corner of the show. The box was fashioned from a single block of pear wood from a local Armenian orchard. Nairi had carved the box several layers deep with vine leaves and fruits. Each leaf was so thin and light and each tendril so fine and sinewy, the fruits so remarkably natural, it immediately caught everyone’s attention. Soon it was the talk of the show and people gathered around to see the box. Nairi was stunned when Congressman F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr., who was accompanied by Armenia’s future Minister of Foreign Affairs, Raffi Hovhannesyan approached him, reached to the ground and picked up the jewelry box gently in his hands. After a short conversation with Nairi, he purchased the box and walked away. Nairi sadly but proudly said goodbye to his work while people were still milling around talking about the box. One commented that he shouldn’t have sold such a wonderful box, as it would be hard to make another piece so beautiful. In his heart he knew better and said to himself, “My next one will be even more beautiful.”

It was several months before Nairi returned to the outdoor art fair in Vernisage. He was working day and night combining his technical knowledge with his artistic talent. He could envision the finished design for his next piece. He began carving to the limits of the wood’s strength, achieving extraordinary levels of thinness and refinement of the material. The next piece was truly even more extraordinary than the piece he had sold. Nairi begun to make a name for himself in the local art world garnering much respect and appreciation for his work from both his piers and local art critics.

In 1996, after being invited to participate in two exhibitions at the Yerevan’s Folk Art Museum, Nairi was honored with the title of Folk Master. This honor was bestowed on him not only because he had reached the level of Master Woodcarver, but because Nairi’s work had a special charm which always showed his deep devotion to his roots and a great understanding of his national heritage.

Today, as a world-class artist working in wood, Nairi Safaryan’s carvings can be found in many museums and private collections around the world.

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