Karush Akopian (1926 - 1982)

– sculptor & graphic artist

Karush Akopian was one of the a well known names in the arts community in Latvia and Armenia on 1960-1980. He was a student of the most famous Latvian sculptor professor Theodor Zalkaln at Latvia Academy of Art in Riga in the middle of 1950. Karush had a wide range of solo and group exhibitions in Latvia, Armenia, Russia. There were also several publications about him in Hungary, Mexico, Norway. The artist was extraordinary inventive, productive and excessive. He worked primarily with sculpture (bronze, sjamot, clay), but also with graphic art (lino print, own created technique as well as hand-colored silk-screen printing). Akopian`s artworld could be described as metaphorical symbolism.

Often he used the allegorical objects: sun, earth, bread, love. He stood out from all the art directions at the time. The artist has been inspired by Picasso. The artworks created by Karush Akopian are completely unique compared to the official art style 50-80`s. Socialistic realism was the accepted art movement in Soviet Union.

Karush was born in Soviet Armenia in 1926 in a small village. Under Stalin’s regime at 1930`s authority arested his father by reason that he was a «dangerous political opponent». From this time disappeared Akopians father forever. Authorities never gave answer to the family about what they’ve done with him.

On 1950`s moved Karush to Latvia to study at the Latvian Academy of Art in Riga. He lived and worked in Riga until his last days. He was a member of the Latvian Artists organiasajon. But it was not easy for free-spirited artists in the authoritarian regime, where artists could not express own viewpoints verbally or visually. They were forced to choose the theme and form of expression which was «approved» by the communist party. But this way was not aksptabel for Karush at all. He never compromised to choose this way. Compare to the «obedient» artists, he sacrificed his own artistic career and his life. He defied the communist censorship and was honest, strong-willed artist and person. He never gave himself spite masssiv political brainwashing and attempts to destroy him. In the late 70`s under Breznev regime decided Karush to leave Soviet Union. But several times he was rejected by the authorities. Not only that, they began to made more problems to him and his family – because of his free mind and because of a desire to leave homeland. He was arestert without reel officialy justifications and without explanations. Authorities came at night time, rummaged his apartment and threw him in to the Riga jail on isolation cell, where he was beaten by prison staff. After several days, injured and humiliated, physically and mentally was Karush released. It never came explanation or apologies from the authorities. This incident has added a deep impression on his life. Health of Karush became weaker and weaker. A few years later by 56-year age died artist. But artworks created by Karush Akopian are very relevant and modern still today. They continue to live on in peoples hearts around the world.

© 2015 by Lena Akopian

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"Karush 90" (Georg Straznov, 8.01.2016)