'Yenovk der Hagopian: The Untold Story of An Armenian American Artist'
Filmed and edited by Andrew White
The Untold Story of an Armenian American Artist consist of 20 plus works including paintings on canvas, metal engravings, wood carvings and an album. The exhibition opened on the centennial anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Der Hagopian was a painter, sculptor and singer who pulled from his experiences in Armenia for his compositions. This event will be Yenovk’s second posthumous solo exhibition. His work, which serves as a history lesson on Armenian culture, is displayed for all to see nearly 50 years after his death. The Armenian General Benevolent Union first exhibited his work in 1967, a year after his untimely death in 1966. Born on May 24, 1900, in Ishkhanikom, Western Armenia, Yenovk der Hagopian was the son of an ordained priest and lifelong confidante to the famed “Father of Abstract Expressionism”, Arshile Gorky. His artwork and musical recordings serve as a visual and audible autobiography as well as an account of Armenian life and tragedy. One can see, hear and feel the torment of the mourners, excitement of the immigrants, and the bittersweet pain of the survivors. The Armenian General Benevolent Union stated, “There is an honesty and deep emotional feeling in these early carvings of mourners, immigrants and survivors of the masscacre of the Armenians” . Yenovk was said to have created his pieces of Armenia in its exactness from memory. Proud to be an American, Yenovk migrated to Massachusetts in 1923, where he reunited with Gorky and continued his art studies. It was also in America that he recorded Armenian folk songs and started a family. He married Nevart Kalarchian on August 28, 1948. Yenovk’s artwork was discovered by his wife’s granddaughter, after her family decided to renovate their home. She was intrigued by the musings held in storage for decades, and decided to explore the life of this artist. On learning more about his work she exclaimed, “I was connecting with a country I knew little about, while educating myself and my family on the greatest American art movement of the 20th century.” One of Yenovk’s greatest gifts was to replicate the structure of Armenia’s churches. He created seven large wooden churches, each several feet tall, which were to serve as part of an installation, on a four acre parcel of land purchased by der Hagiopian and his wife in Cornwall Bridge, CT. However, on March 15, 1966, Yenovk passed away from a heart attack, leaving the seventh church, a replica of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, unfinished. The discovery of Yenovk’s work has inspired the Kalarchian family to start a fund in his name. Aimed at preserving the works found in their grandmother’s storage, the family also hopes they can raise enough funds to continue to have Yenovk’s art teach of Armenia’s rich culture around the world. To donate supporters can visit http://www.yenovkderhagopian.com/donations. Erwin John and Steveson Dunn, owners of the Bishop Gallery insists, “no longer will his pieces be condemned to a storage closet. His work speaks to the history and legacy of a people. A history deep rooted in pain; a pain that served as a catalyst for his creativity. We understand this pain and can relate first hand with the importance of preserving your roots. Although we are a Black owned gallery, we think it’s important to highlight and showcase the work of a vast array of artists and cultures. After learning about this artwork through artist and historian Carlos Pinto, we thought it was imperative for the work to be shown, particularly because the arts play a significant role in preserving cultures that were completely or nearly extinct due to genocide.”
For more information click here