Charity Exhibition-Sale of Syrian-Armenian Photographer Vahe Shahinian Opens in Yerevan

Organized and sponsored by the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), and with the blessings of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, Syria in My Memories, a charity exhibition-sale of well-known Syrian-Armenian photographer Vahe Shahinian opened at the Hovhannes Tumanyan Museum on September 30, with over 300 people in attendance. Special thanks to longtime AGBU member and supporter, Syrian-Armenian Sarkis Kazanjian who contributed to the success of the event. All proceeds from the sale will be used for programs assisting Syrian-Armenians who have moved to Armenia as a result of the conflict. Syria, confronted with war and desolation today, was presented in all its previous charm and beauty. Through more than 150 photographs, the artist presented a selection of his work over the last 30 years. He confessed that, because of the war, he has not even touched a camera in the last three years. “I would like Armenians here (in Armenia) to know that Syria is not a country of war. There was peace in Syria, but now Syria has gone backwards 50 years. Syrian-Armenians that moved to Armenia now must learn to adapt and live here. About 20-30,000 Armenians are still in Syria. But living in Syria today is a matter of fate; you do not know what will happen next. I reject war and believe in a promising future for Syria,” said Shahinian emotionally. The exhibition opened with the blessings of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians. Shahinian presented a photograph of His Holiness to the Catholicos and thanked him for his pontifical care and enormous help towards Syrian-Armenians, before touring the exhibit and describing the photographs to His Holiness. “The devastated Syria is everyone’s pain. Vahe’s pictures have immortalized an entire civilization, one which is particularly familiar to Armenians,” said His Holiness Karekin II. With his opening speech, AGBU Central Board Member Vasken Yacoubian noted, ”Our country of birth, now in the claws of war and destruction and being drowned in blood, is reflected in Vahe Shahinian’s exceptional art and beautiful photographs presented in this exhibition. In our memories, Syria will again be resurrected as one of the world’s cradles of civilization with its rich historic monuments, beautiful Christian and Islamic holy places, but especially with its peaceful way of life.” Vahe Shahinian, born in 1956 in Damascus, completed his elementary education at AGBU Sahakian-Gullabi Gulbenkian School, before continuing his studies at local state colleges. As early at the age of eight, Shahinian was fascinated with the world of photography. In 1981, Shahinian co-founded the Syrian Photography Club, of which he has been a member since. He has held many personal exhibitions in Armenia, Russia, Syria, the United States, and throughout Europe. He has been awarded with numerous certificates and prizes. For many years, Shahinian has been a committed and active member of various committees of AGBU Damascus and AGBU-AYA. For many years, he has also been an active trustee of both the AGBU Sahakian-Gullabi Gulbenkian School and the Damascus Holy Translator School. It is already 15 days that Vahe Shahinian has moved to Armenia with his family. He will probably stay here forever







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