On a warm afternoon in late September, more than 200 friends and supporters paid tribute to a generous and talented woman and learned the stories behind dramatic stone sculptures at The Artist’s Garden – Celebrating the Art of Soraya Sarah Nazarian.
Hosted by the American Society of the University of Haifa at the Nazarian home in Holmby Hills, CA, guests strolled through the sculpture gardens to view the impressive pieces created by Mrs. Nazarian while volunteer docents provided insight into the thinking and creative process behind the sculptures.
Dr. Sharon Nazarian, Mrs. Nazarian’s daughter, a member of the University of Haifa Board of Governors and the Vice Chair of American Society, praised her mother for being a woman of the world and a talented artist.
Soraya and her husband Younes are ardent supporters of the University of Haifa. The Chairman of the Board of Governors of the University of Haifa, Prof. Alfred I. Tauber, and University President Amos Shapira were on hand to present a special award recognizing Mrs. Nazarian as an artist and philanthropist supporting young artists at the University of Haifa. All proceeds from the event will be directed to scholarships at the School of the Arts, the leading art institute in northern Israel, training students from the full spectrum of Israeli society in visual arts, theater and music.
In accepting two framed floating original prints made expressly for this occasion by Prof. Sharon Poliakine, Head of the School of the Arts at the University of Haifa, Mrs. Nazarian reiterated her belief that art is one universal language that sees no color, religion or politics. All student artists at the University of Haifa School of the Arts, she said, “can communicate together, they can express themselves and they can show what is inside of them to their genenertion and to new generations.”
The afternoon also featured light refreshments from sbe catering and music by Rachael Worby and MUSE/IQUE. In addition, Mrs. Nazarian autographed copies of a book about her work — Strength Revealed: The Art of Soraya Sarah Nazarian.
In her more than 25-year art career, Mrs. Nazarian has become a master in the medium of direct carving in stone. Her work carries themes of motherhood, family, spirituality, and her native Iranian culture. In 2011, Mrs. Nazarian launched the Soraya Sarah Nazarian Artists Initiative, a program designed to assist emerging artists with obtaining studio and exhibition space in the Los Angeles area.
One of her pieces, Legacy, (shown at right) which evokes the story of the Jewish People in Exodus and is a tribute to the Jewish “illegal immigrants” who sailed to Israel’s shores during the British Mandate White Paper era, stands at the entrance to the University of Haifa.
Mrs. Nazaran and her husband, Younes, founded the Y & S Nazarian Family Foundation in 2000. The Foundation is driven by the core belief that the promotion and support of education is the most important catalyst for societal change. As a result of the family’s vision and support, the Nazarian Library at the University of Haifa has become the second largest library in Israel, with over 2.5 million books and electronic research tools.
Contributions to scholarships at the School of the Arts at the University of Haifa can be made here. To purchase a copy of Strength Revealed: The Art of Soraya Sarah Nazarian, contact ASUH West Coast Director Sherri Morr at firstname.lastname@example.org or 818.203.1541.