Armenian Jerusalem
This project has been supported by the Gulbenkian philanthropic Foundation, the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and members of the worldwide Armenian community. Reproductions of the genealogical documents [domar’s] are courtesy Photo Garo, Jerusalem. Copyright © 2007 Arthur Hagopian
            Realism   has   been   the   driving   force   in   the   life   of Apkar Hagopian,   a   native   of   Jerusalem,   who   is   holding   his   first public   exhibition,   Portfolio   2000,   in   the   beloved   Old City of his birth.                Despite   the   lack   of   academic   schooling   in   art,   he   has succeeded   in   nourishing   and   nurturing   the   artist   in   him with   skilful,   patient   care,   enabling   him   to   speak   with   us heart   to   heart,   in   the   universal   language   of   line,   shade and color.                     A    solid    background    in    draftsmanship    has    been instrumental    in    providing    the    discipline    needed    for      absolute   control   over   his   brush,   so   that   no   stroke   is superfluous or flippant.                His   youthful   exercises   in   then   staid   Jerusalem   were, he   unabashedly   admits,   charcoal   nudes,   copied   from   art books.    Even    then,    the    bold    realism,    the    faithful attention   to   detail   that   mark   his   work,   allowed   nothing to escape the eye.                Apkar's   art   lies   in   the   skill   and   vision   with   which   he transforms   a   static   or   inanimate   object   into   a   vibrant expression   of   his   interpretation   of   the   life-force   that informs even the tiniest piece of stone.                Each   of   his   paintings   speaks   not   to,   but   with   us, evoking   memories   and   rekindling   desires,   transporting us   for   a   brief   eternity   into   a   realm   where   it   is   yet possible     to     dream     of     goodness,     gentleness     and compassion.      It   is   the   man's   inner   joy   of   life,   tempered   with   the   imprint   of   his   gentle   personality,   that   stamps   his paintings with his unique watermark.                 There   is   an   unostentatiousness   here   that   is   more   than   appealing,   the   egolessness   and   lack   of   self-aggrandizement enriching our experience beyond expectation.                  But   a   perceptive   viewer   cannot   help   detecting   traces   of   a   creeping   melancholy   lingering   at   the   periphery   of   his vision,   evident   in   the   dark   colors Apkar   employs.   For   realism,   also   means   truthfulness,   and   no   one   can   escape   the   fact that the joy of life is tempered by its inescapable corollary, an undertone of sadness.               Yet,   in   the   tortured   alleys   of   immortal   Jerusalem, Apkar   has   made   it   possible   for   us   to   rediscover,   albeit   for   a   brief moment, the courage and strength to reinforce our faith in ourselves, and our creator.               Apkar   lives   in   the Armenian   Quarter,   in   Jerusalem   with   his   wife Anna   and   daughter Anoush.   His   son Apo   lives   in   the US.
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