The Armenian Studies Program sponsored a long awaited exhibition of Armenian-American artist Varaz Samuelian’s work at the second floor of the Fresno City Hall on Thursday, May 6, as part of the ArtHop.
Armenian Studies Program Coordinator Barlow Der Mugrdechian introduced the exhibit, curated by Fresno State graduate student Hazel Antaramian Hofman. The highlight of the exhibit was a collection of “Circus” themed paintings.
Samuelian, who signed his work as “Varaz,” was a prolific painter-sculptor, who willed most of his paintings and sculptures to the Armenian Studies Program. Born in Armenia in 1917, Varaz, a German prisoner of war in World War II, immigrated to the United States in 1946, moving eventually to Fresno, where he died in 1995. Varaz held exhibitions in Paris, Nice, Marseilles, Barcelona, Mexico City, and at several New York galleries, as well as exhibiting locally in Fresno.
Varaz’s oeuvre encompassed a wide range of media, including sculpture (bronze, stone), painting (oil, acrylic, watercolor), lithography, pen and ink, and pencil. The artist is well-known for his monumental bronze statue of legendary Armenian hero David of Sassoun, which stands in Fresno County Courthouse Park.
The Varaz exhibition at City Hall was made possible by the Armenian Studies Program, with the Fresno Arts Council, the City of Fresno, and the Armenian Museum.