Through the Eyes of Armenia’s Children

img_0739.jpgLate last month, a friend (and part-time co-worker), Tamara Shahabian (in photo on left), organized an art show of children’s art from various schools in the Republic of Armenia. A passionate fundraiser, Tamara put her heart and soul into the task and procured a small Tribeca gallery for the exhibition that hoped to raise thousands for the underfunded Armenian schools.

I am usually skeptical of the artistic talent of child artists but Tamara did a wonderful job of combining an assortment of children who portrayed the world in a very personal way. The interesting paintings were not the typical Armenian stock images of maidens with long locks or still lifes with pomegranates but the scenes of everyday life through youthful eyes.

birthday-party.jpgOne painting of a birthday party (left)–birthday’s being VERY important things to children–is rash and modern, full of energy and quirky details. Adults are marginalized, and their heads poke off the frame, to make more room for the children in the foreground. The floor is a rich carpet of colors and textures and the artist has found great interest in postures and mundane details that poetically veer from the subject at hand.

city-center.jpgIn one wonderful city scene (left), the urban flavor of Armenia’s tuft-stone laden cities is captured with its great arches, shop signs and non-descript cars. The shadows of people and things have a life of their own, like shadow plays acting out a parallel drama on the yellow pavement. There is a staged quality to the work that is simultaneously iconic and playful–like toy figurines places in a diorama or tableau.

the-gallery.jpgTamara raised $10,000 for the four schools, and is considering moving to Yerevan to be closer to its land and people.

If the show is any indication, she has a passion for that place on earth that would be well-served by greater exploration…hopefully she’ll also continue to pursue her love of children and their curious world view.

For those interested in children’s art, you would be well-served to explore the Armenian Museum of Children’s Art in Yerevan, Armenia, which was established in 1970 and continues to display some interesting works from the nation’s kids (images)(article).

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