After Armenian-American artist Richard Tashjian met the late Minas Avetisyan at a show, the two began a remarkable friendship. In this Yerevan feature, Nare Garibyan tells the story of the man who helped Richard get to know and love the real Armenia.
Minas Avetisyan was an insightful and dynamic storyteller. Anyone fortunate to have met him spoke of his eloquence and charm. He could tell the same story twice and each time the listener uncovered something new embedded in his words. His stories remain alive as his good friend from across the globe, fellow artist Richard H. Tashjian, continues to echo his wisdom.
During a 1969 exhibition in Armenia, at the Artists’ House Gallery, Minas Avetisyan stood in the corner of the gallery space and quietly observed the reactions of the viewers as they encountered his paintings. On this particular day, one of the viewers was an Armenian artist from America, Richard Hratch Tashjian, who was intently looking at one of Minas’ paintings. Upon seeing an unfamiliar face, Minas Avetisyan approached Tashjian and tapped him on the shoulder, engaging him in conversation about the painting, later revealing to him that he was the artist, and extending an invitation to his studio. From that moment on, Richard became one of the fortunate listeners of Minas’ kind and steady voice. Each breath, each syllable, each phrase became sacred texts for Tashjian and he recorded their conversations.