Cummings Foundation Grant Recipient

NAASR's Front Door ~ Created by Master Craftsman Mels Yeghiazaryan

#Mels #MelsYeghiazaryan #NAASRdoor #NAASRVartanGregorianBuilding

Hand carved in high relief, in dark walnut from Yeghegnadzor, Armenia and standing just over 8 feet in height, NAASR's exterior front door features artist Mels Yeghiazaryan's interpretations of traditional Armenian decorative motifs in meticulous detail. This stunning work of art, gift of K. George and Carolann S. Najarian, MD, invites one to open the door to learning and community.

Mels Yeghiazaryan explains that the ornamentation and designs incorporated in NAASR's front door are derived from biological and geometrical elements that have inspired the development and blossoming of the old Armenian miniature art that reached its peak in the 13th and 14th centuries. The centerpiece is comprised of three central modules that are stylized, intertwine with and embellish the equilateral cross (origins of the cross are from 6th century) in the middle. The symbolism behind the cross is to enlighten and reinforce the wisdom and power of the mind and spirit over the material world. During the 13th, 14th, and 15th centuries the regions in Armenia that produced the most amount of miniature art were Vaspurakan region's Vostan village, towns of Archel, Artske and Berkri, as well as Artsakh-Utik regions.

Mels Yeghiazaryan, the master craftsman who carved the stunning front door of NAASR’s new Vartan Gregorian Building, is a vital link in the chain of Armenian master woodcarvers, venturing into new stylistic territory while preserving the traditional techniques of his craft. His innovative approach has kept him artistically relevant at home and abroad for over fifty years.

Mels' carvings range from traditional Armenian khachkars to ornate wooden gates, mirrors and cabinets. He served as head designer for various public art projects in Armenia, including the interior of Posi Theater in Yerevan, the Writers Union Building in Tsaghkadzor, and the gates of the newly built Central Church of Armavir. His works have been gifted to visiting foreign dignitaries by Armenian presidents. The La Scala Theater in Milan and the National Opera House of Armenia each house one of his pieces. He worked as the head designer for Enkeboll Designs for nearly a decade, a Los Angeles-based firm specializing in custom architectural woodcarving, where his designs continue to be reproduced. 

Mels Yeghiazaryan currently resides in Armavir, Armenia, and offers apprenticeships in woodcarving and traditional Armenian calligraphy.

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