Artistic Licence Boris Yegiazaryan.
Andrei Kourkov
WHAT’S ON ¹10, 31-06 april 2000

Kyiv is famous for its prolific artists. What's On introduces some of the more interesting figures in the city's art world

Boris Yegiazaryan is one of Kyiv's best known artists, but he is not a Kyivite. His appearance immediately gives him away as an Armenian and that means he has to carry his passport with him alt the time, even when he pops out in his slippers to buy some cigarettes. If he forgets, his wife Ira can expect a call from the police station asking her to bring his documents for inspection. More than once, Ira has had to rescue her husband from the police. This is just another of the chores an artist's wife has to do if her husband happens to be Armenian (or Georgian, or Azerbaizhani etc...)

Still Yegiazaryan does not complain. He has never had what you'd call a boring life. He was a member of the "Karabakb" political committee which ted Armenians in the struggle for independence. Then, during the war he was the commander of the legendary Aparanski detachment which defended the Armenian-Azerbaizhani border, on the Karabakh border, against the Soviet army. While he was away fighting, his studio in Yerevan got burned down and almost all his early works were lost in the fire. Now that he lives and works in Kyiv, he goes home occasionally, where his friends have rebuilt his studio.

In 1990 he left politics behind him and, since then, biblical motifs have played an increasingly important role in his works. The three years of war changed Yegiazaryan as an artist and perhaps there is something providential in the fact that almost all his early works were destroyed by fire. The new Yegiazaryan is a very different artist: brighter, kinder to the environment. He is only interested in eternal themes: 'love, the family, the kingdom of joy' as he puts it.

His paintings are in the collection of the US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright and the Museum of Russian Art in Kyiv as well as in many other collections and museums.

A large selection of his works can be found at Gallery 36 (36 Andriyvski Uzviz). Gallery staff will be happy to arrange a meeting with the artist or a visit to his studio.