Portray the World on an Egg
On Easter of 1963, Yakov Zargaryan, an Armenian pianist, professor, and artwork collector, acquired a go to from his neighbor — a neighborhood boy named Nikol, who got here to ship Yakov’s mail and proposed they play a standard sport of egg tapping. The Nineteen Sixties noticed the peak of the house race, so Nikol painted a rocket, together with an astronaut in a swimsuit, the solar, the moon, and Mount Ararat on his Easter egg utilizing solely three colours: black, pink, and white.
Regardless of the prohibition on celebrating non secular holidays within the Soviet Union, egg tapping remained a cultural custom, particularly in nations like Armenia, the place Christianity was an vital a part of nationwide identification.
Zargaryan was so impressed with Nikol’s portray that he requested if he might hold the egg. Though Nikol didn’t give it to him, it was this expertise that impressed Zargaryan to start out his assortment of painted picket eggs. Six months after Nikol’s go to, Zargaryan ordered a spinning prime for his son, Arno. Whereas on the woodturner’s studio, he noticed picket eggs and ordered a pair for himself. Recalling Nikol’s painted egg, he requested his artist mates to color them for him.
“My brother Henrik by accident noticed me after I was popping out of the studio and advised we go to a store to purchase basturma [seasoned, air-dried cured beef],” Zargaryan writes in his catalogue, revealed in 2013. Nonetheless, for the reason that store was closed, Zargaryan and his brother determined to go to the close by home of Martiros Saryan.
Zargaryan gave Saryan a picket egg and requested him to color it. Based on Zargaryan, this request led to a philosophical dialog with Saryan, throughout which he requested him to depict life on the egg.
“Then, I’ll paint Armenia. For me life is Armenia,” Saryan responded. A few days later the egg was prepared.
Zargaryan’s assortment, which started with Saryan’s egg, now includes about 1,200 eggs painted by 940 artists from greater than 100 cities in 52 nations. The eggs have been painted by well-known Soviet-Armenian artists like Minas Avetisyan, Armine and Harutyun Kalents, Alexander Bazhbeuk-Melikian, Dmitri Nalbandyan, and Yervand Kochar, in addition to different artists from everywhere in the world — for example, Japanese anime screenwriter and artist Kazunori Ito and Latvian painter Uldis Zemzaris.
I visited the house of Yasha Papik (Grandpa Yasha, in English, as everybody within the neighborhood known as Zargaryan), the place his son, Arno, and his grandson, Aram, presently dwell. There, Arno confirmed me his father’s assortment and informed me about his father’s life and the way the gathering got here into being.
A museum-like high quality permeates the condominium, which is full of work on the partitions, miniature sculptures, and different handmade items product of glass, clay, and wooden. Arno defined that these have been principally gifted by his father’s artist mates. Zargaryan designed a lot of the condominium’s areas himself to accommodate his assortment. He additionally transformed his piano right into a desk, the place he saved his instruments and household photographs, including to the house’s inventive really feel.
“My father was a really artistic particular person. He preferred to make every part himself; he designed the entire condominium and made it really feel like a museum or an artwork gallery. Most of his mates have been artists like him. Our condominium was like an artwork hub, they all the time partied right here,” Arno mentioned.
Yakov Zargaryan was shut mates with the well-known Soviet-Armenian painter Minas Avetisyan. Arno informed me that his father was happy with this friendship. He performed a major function in selling Minas’s works, and the artist even painted Zargaryan’s portraits and gifted him a number of work. Sadly, because of the financial disaster of the Nineties, the household was compelled to promote a few of these work.
Zargaryan meticulously catalogued and organized his egg assortment, tagging each with the artist’s title and the date. The eggs are displayed in chronological order, beginning with Saryan’s within the bed room and progressing into the lounge.
The gathering includes principally oil work on picket eggs, although some works are on precise eggshells. Along with mediums equivalent to gouache, tempera, ink, watercolor, felt-tip and ink pens, and pencil, a number of items use wooden carving, ceramics, marble, and embossed supplies. Together with the small eggs, the gathering contains round 150 massive items. Some artists included screws, nails, cogwheels, bolts, materials, and even silver into their designs.
Zargaryan’s assortment has been exhibited twice in Yerevan. For the events, he designed glass shutters with a singular mechanism that allows the eggs to rotate 360 levels, offering an entire view of them. Throughout a 2018 tv characteristic on his assortment, he expressed his dream of opening a museum in Yerevan that may showcase distinctive artwork collections in the identical vein as his personal. He famous Ruben Anghaladyan’s assortment of plates painted by well-known Armenian artists, together with different such collectors.
“These days they take Yerevan’s outdated homes and construct motels and cafes. Armenians are usually not going to shock the world with motels or cafes, however such a museum can [surprise people],” Zargaryan mentioned.
Yakov Zargaryan handed away in 2020 on the age of 94. Arno Zargaryan informed me that he doesn’t intend to promote or give away his father’s assortment, however he would think about displaying it in a museum if the chance arises. Because the assortment is housed in a personal residence, it can’t be opened to most people. For now, the household has hosted many visitors to see these distinctive artworks.