by Marianna Mkrtchyan
Ara Shiraz, the renowned sculptor of Armenia, the son of the famous Armenian writer Hovhaness Shiraz died at the age of 73 overnight after long-lasting illness.
The sculptor was hospitalized on 22 February. He had been in the Intensive Care Unit since then.
Ara Shiraz was born in 1941 in Yerevan. In 1966 he graduated from Yerevan Theatrical Institute. He participated in different exhibitions in Armenia and abroad. From 1968 he was member of Armenia's Artists Union. His works were exhibited in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Tbilisi, Beirut, Los Angeles, Chicago, Montreal, New York, London, Paris. Ara Shiraz is characterized with his monumental sculptural works of art such as the monuments of Baruyr Sevag (Yerevan, 1974), Yeghishe Charents (Charentsavan, 1977), Alexander Miasnikyan (Yerevan, 1980), and William Saroyan (Yerevan's Pantheon, 1991).
In 1979 Ara Shiraz was awarded the State Award of Armenia for his ornamental sculptures decorating the facade of the Dvin Hotel in Yerevan. In 1977 he was granted the title of Meritorious Artist of Armenia. In 1987 he was elected the president of the Artists' Union of Armenia, and a member of the Secretariat of the Artists' Union of the U.S.S.R.
Ara Shiraz' most renowned works include the busts of Pablo Picasso, Yervand Kochar, Hovhannes Shiraz, and Vruir Galstian. Many of his sculptural compositions are in permanent exhibit in the Modern Art Museum of Armenia and the State Gallery of Armenia in Yerevan, the Tretyakov Gallery and the Eastern Nations Museum of Art in Moscow.
Ara Shiraz' paintings and sculptures are found in many private collections throughout the world: Moscow, St. Petersburg, Tbilisi, Yerevan, Beirut, Paris, London, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Montreal, etc. His father's (Hovhannes Shiraz) death-masque was made by famous sculptor Rafik Khachatryan.