If in 1980 somebody asked Nairi Safaryan – the newly graduate from Yerevan Polytechnic Institute – what are
his knowledge and efforts in the career he is so fond of.
At that time, however, no one would have guessed that Nairi’s “first love” was woodcarving. His childhood
together with the memories and stories regarding those wonderful years had remained in Shushi for in 1973
Safaryan family have moved to Yerevan.
Here nobody knew that young boy from Nagorno Karabakh was famous there with his wooden toys, chalk
sculptures, and drawings. Well, this was then and in Shushi, a beautiful place which is located in the
Karabagh region of Armenia, where Nairi Safaryan was born in 1958. Now, in 1980, in Yerevan, after receiving
his degree and diploma as an engineer, after being appointed to a promising position in prestigious
enterprise, where, by the way, he meet his future wife Anahit (also Yerevan Polytechnic graduate), Nairi was
ready to start a new life.
In 1987 Nairi Safaryan became a member of the Art Fund which gave him a chance to show his works. He
displayed one vase and one jewel box. Both found admirers and buyers. Once again Nairi was reassured that
his hands are capable of creating fine pieces of art.
Nairi decided to show his work at Vernisage (outdoor art fair in the central region of Yerevan). It was
September 21st 1991, the day of Liberty Quorum, when he first time appeared in Vernisage with one of his
work, a jewel box. He did not have his own display table, so he placed the jewel box on the ground in a corner.
The box that was made of a single block of pear wood from a local Armenian orchard, carved several layers
deep with vine leaves and fruits – each leaf so thin and light, each tendril so fine and sinewy, the fruits so
remarkably natural immediately caught people’s attention who wanted but would not dare to touch the box as it
seemed to be so delicate. Maybe this was the reason why everybody was stunned when congressman F.
James Sensenbrenner, Jr., being accompanied with Armenian’s future Minister of Foreign Affairs Raffi
Hovhannesyan, approached Nairi, reached to the ground with obvious astonishment and took the box in his
hands. He paid the price and joyfully went away. Nairi, walking away himself, sadly but proudly said goodbye to
his work, while people still were talking about the box and saying that it was wrong of him to sell such a
beautiful creation as the next one might not come out so perfect. However, Nairi knew “my next one will be
Nairi did not go to Vernisage for next several months. He was working day and night. Combining his technical
knowledge together with his artistic talent, he was designing and carving to the limits of the wood’s strength,
achieving extraordinary levels of thinness and refinement of the material. Nairi Safaryan envisions the finished
design before beginning.
In 1996, after being demonstrated in two shows at Yerevan’s Folk Art Museum, Nairi was named a Folk
Master. Besides being unique as a performer, in his case master woodcarver, Nairi’s work has a specific
charm because of his deep devotion to his roots and understanding of his national heritage.
Now world class carver and artist Nairi Safaryan’s.
2010 The Grand Prize Winner, Carving Artistry Contest sponsored by PFEIL “Swiss Made” Carvin Tools
and Woodcraft Supply
2010 del Mano Gallery, Santa Monica, California
2009 Orange County Carvers Show and Competition, Four Entries – Four 1st Places, Tustin, California
2009 Santa Anita/Smoky Hollow Show, Best of Show, Arcadia, California
2009 Woodcarving Show, Romana Country Carvers, Two First Places, San Jacinto, California
2008 Del Mano Gallery of Contemporary Crafts, Los Angeles, California
2007 Personal Exhibition, Naregatsi Art Center, Yerevan, Armenia
2006 Museum of Folk Art, Yerevan, Armenia
2006 Opening of Year of Armenia in Russia, Moscow, Russia
2005 International Exhibition, Kazan Republic of Tatarstan, Russia
2002 California’s “Spirit of Wood”, California State Fair, Sacramento, California
2002 5th Annual Cambria Wood Show, Cambria, California
Best of the Best Competition – took Best of the Best
2002 Wood Fair 2002, College of the Redwoods, Eureka, California
Large Vase – First Place
2002 International Woodworking Symposium, Provo, Utah
2002 Smoky Hollow Chapter of CCG, in La Crescenta Park, Glendale, California
Large Vase – First Place and Best of Show
Rose Jewelry Box of Boxwood – People’s Choice
2002 Exhibition and Display of work, Clark County Fair, Logandale, Nevada
1999 Exhibition, Taminah Gallery, Park City, Utah
1996 Declared as Armenian Folk Master in Carving
1996 Exhibition, Folk Art Museum, Yerevan, Armenia
1988 Folk Art Festival, Stepanakert, Karabagh, USSR
2007 Official periodical of “Oukht Ararati” LTD Yerevan, Armenia. May-June
2007 “Afisha” magazine Yerevan, Armenia. April 2-15
2007 “Azg“ newspaper Yerevan, Armenia. April 7
2007 “Golos Armenii” Yerevan, Armenia. April 17
2005 Book by Yakob Zargaryan. ISBN 99930-4-47-7 Yerevan, Armenia
2003 “The New Era” magazine. Las Vegas, Nevada. December, Volume 33. N12
2003 “Golos Armenii” Yerevan, Armenia. December 13
2002 “Chip Chats” magazine of National Wood Carvers Association Cincinati, Ohio. September - October
2002 “New Armenia” newspaper. Glendale, California. March 8
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