News > UAE Armenians > Chritch and Linda Stephanian participate in a group exhibition in Abu Dhabi
Chritch and Linda Stephanian, two Abu Dhabi based Armenian artists, participated in the "Fanaan" group exhibition, held in Ghaf gallery in Abu Dhabi, between 18th and 29th of January 2009.
Fanaan is a group of Abu Dhabi based artists established in 2008 with the purpose of bringing together and cultivating an artistic community in Abu Dhabi. The group currently comprises 10 artists from diverse backgrounds.
The opening reception of the exhibition took place on Sunday 18th January 2009 (see photo).
Azad-Hye took the opportunity to interview the two artists.
Interview with Chritch:
Chritch, you are an Armenian from Cairo, how often do you participate in exhibitions abroad?
It is true, I graduated from Cairo Fine Arts University and actually started my career in Egypt, but I also had the opportunity to share my work with the public in New York, Montreal, Toronto and several cities in Europe. Indeed, I settled in Paris in 1999, where I participated in several solo and group exhibitions.
I live in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the past few years, and I have so far participated in two group exhibitions. Besides, I have set up and conducted an artistic educational program for the French school about “Geometry in Art”. I also have been animating for several years a Classical and Modern Art workshop in my studio, where I really enjoy sharing my passion with my students.
Your work combines symbolism, cubism and abstraction. Which in your view has the most influence and can the visitor notice a dominant side in the outcome of the work?
I believe visitors usually first notice the cubist influence, as they follow the lines in my paintings, which intersect and intermingle to form a movement. But as important as the aesthetics and the transparency of the colours, certainly is the symbolic message. Behind the closed eyes of the figures which often occupy a central part in my paintings, along with each technique that I use, I always try to unveil the mask of appearances, to reach the true and complex nature of human soul, and to express a message.
UAE has a cosmopolitan environment, how has this affected your choices in selecting the artwork you wanted to display in this exhibition?
The wide diversity of the public present in the UAE, as well the diversity of my origins and the number of different places where I lived obviously play an important role in enriching my palette and techniques. However, I truly see the visitors as art lovers above all, irrespective of their origins, cultures or backgrounds. The message is the same for all, and I always try to capture their interest. For example, I always hope that my collages, gathering so many different shapes, colours and materials, such as sand, cardboard, paper, dried flowers, all put together with an objective of mutual enrichment, are an invitation to make efforts to live together in peace and harmony.
Abu Dhabi is booming in cultural and artistic matters, with lots of new exhibitions, museums, etc. Does this create any motivation for more exposure to the public here?
The current cultural boom in Abu Dhabi, and in particular major events such as Art Paris or the Picasso exhibition, definitely play an important role in supporting people to accept and appreciate different forms of Arts. Meanwhile, this also attracts many more contemporary artists from all around the world in a place where the number of galleries and places to exhibit are still insufficient. Artists living in Abu Dhabi will not be able to benefit from or participate in this boom, unless it is accompanied by a rapid growth in the number of places and events able to display and promote their artwork. And even more important is the creation of art schools for future generations.
What is your dream and your future prospects as an artist? Is there any particular project in your mind?
As an artist, I sincerely have many dreams. One of them is to participate in International Art Competitions, Art Biennales, where professional challenge and exposure do stimulate creativity, self questioning and improvement. Every artist constantly needs to refine his techniques, be innovative and renew his message. Art needs to be ahead of society evolutions, to make way for changes, and as such, does not leave room to artists for stagnation. I also wish to actively participate to enhance sensibilities and understanding for Art in the region, and to teach in UAE Art schools, as soon as they open. Hopefully soon …
Why have you chosen Chritch as your Artist name, since in Armenian, Chritch means a pen and is more related to literature than painting?
The combination of the first syllabus of my first and family names (Christine Tchaderjian) gave birth to my artist name Chritch. But actually, it first started at school, at the age of 15, as I was drawing with my pen the portraits of my teachers, among them Shant Avedissian and Carzou. Later, at the Faculty of Fine Arts, being taught by painters such as Hamed Nada, Salah Abd el Karim or Zakaria el Zaini, had a decisive influence in the choice I made for an artist’s life. Being an artist is really a life challenge, and being given artistic skills deserves devotion and commitment, but also requires permanent evolution and the delivery of messages and emotions to the public. The most rewarding gift remains the appreciation of visitors whose sensibilities have been touched by our Artwork, and this is precisely what is needed to sustain the flame of creation.
Interview with Linda Stephanian
In the Islamic world sculpture is not one of the prominent forms of arts. Was it easy for you to find your way out and reach to this point?
I started my career in Iran which is an Islamic country but I must say Iranians are quite mature in accepting sculpturing among the other forms of art. You can see so many sculptures in public places and masterpieces of Alberto Giacometti, Henry Moore, Parviz Tanavoli and others are exhibited in the Museums.
Personally I have not had any problem in terms of exhibiting my works in the UAE. On the contrary I have received quite impressive and encouraging feedbacks regarding my works from the Emirati visitors some of them even who purchased my works.
What medium is the most relaxing for you clay, plaster, bronze or any other medium?
Working in clay is the most relaxing though I’d like to have more pieces in bronze. Unfortunately, there is no proper bronze casting foundry in the UAE, hence in the past three years which I have been living in Abu Dhabi I had to travel to Tehran to cast my works which is not very convenient. However, I have heard that there will be a bronze foundry soon to be opened in Abu Dhabi, which I’m very excited and looking forward to it.
Do you have pieces in permanent exhibitions or halls or public places on display?
All of those who own my sculptures are private collectors. At present, I am modeling a trophy for an organization in Abu Dhabi. This will be my first work, presented in the public.
Could you be involved in the future in other forms of art such as painting, or would your devotion be always to the sculpture making?
I sketch my works before starting forming them and have thought of enlarging the sketches into bigger size paintings. Have also done number of paintings before I got involved in sculpting. In my opinion they kind of relate to one another. If you know how to sketch or paint, you will have more understanding of the 3D forms you are making. One can be a sculptor and a painter, however, I would rather remain faithful to my sculptures!
How significant you can consider this Abu Dhabi exhibition for your career from the feedback that you already received?
This is my 4th group exhibition in Abu Dhabi. Definitely each of those has had an important role in my career development. The exposure of works to the public, the press reviews and visitors’ comments have a significant weight in the evolution and improvement of my works. From my experience of exhibiting in Abu Dhabi I have found certain visitors interested in my works who are following my exhibitions seriously.
Furthermore, the interaction with the co-artists at each exhibition has an influence, for example in this exhibition we are 10 artists all together this means 10 different personalities, backgrounds, views, etc. which is also important in sharing different views.
See the exhibition invitation card here (English and Arabic, JPG format)
We would like to thank Maxime Miloyan and Razmik Simonian from Abu Dhabi for their contribution.
Contact details of Ghaf Art Gallery
Abu Dhabi, UAE
The above article (English, Armenian and Arabic) is sponsored by Mark and Shakeh Grogan (Dubai, UAE) as part of Sponsor an Article project.