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MICHAEL ARAM- The Artist…The Armenian
Internationally acclaimed sculptor and artist, Michael Aram, continuously broadens his creative talents all the while remaining deep-seated in his Armenian roots.

When most of us hear “Michael Aram” images of his metalware designs come to mind; albeit, our favorite piece or something new from his continuously evolving collections thoughtfully displayed in magazines and stores worldwide. Even as these collections keep growing, Michael has ventured outside the confines of metal and has collaborated with Waterford designing both china and stemware and more recently, Hartmann, creating beautiful, lightweight and practical luggage.

While all this creativity flows through Michael’s gifted mind and hands, in his heart is an astonishing Armenian advocate.

American-born and raised, Michael also grew up in a traditional Armenian household where the language was spoken and his family attended the Armenian Church frequently. Furthermore, Michael’s Armenian attributes have influenced his creativity as he grew up crawling on oriental carpets appreciating the intricate patterns, colors and richness as well as the detailed gold applications used inside the churches.

Most importantly, like all Armenians, Michael’s background was heavily influenced by the preparations and traditions involving food all the while surrounded by family and friends. It is this ritual of food that brings Armenians together—to laugh, to lament, to evolve, tell stories or merely “just be”…together.

Armenians are a tribal people who move forward in this modern-world bound to the richness of tradition and history. Michael is no exception. His grandparents were genocide survivors and later in life they shared their heartbreaking first-hand accounts to Michael. His grandfather, whose family members were farmers from Tadem (a village in the Kharpert region), enlightened Michael with stories about village life, the foods and various cooking methods. This distinctive identity transpires in Michael’s collections; two of which are the fig and pomegranate.

I love the images of the fig and the pomegranate as they are central fruits in our culture. The fig is a symbol of knowledge and plentitude while the pomegranate is a symbol of life, abundance, fertility and marriage. Pomegranate groves can still be found growing around ancient Armenian settlements. The first time I used the pomegranate image was, in fact, when I created the alter railing in the Westchester, NY church.

In April, 2009, Michael Aram contributed and helped the nonprofit, Save the ArQ, go public stating, “[t]he Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem has been an important cultural and religious living monument for the past 1700 years and requires international awareness as well as support in order to be preserved and maintained”.

Save the ArQ aims to create awareness of the significant religious, cultural, and historical presence of Armenians in Jerusalem and to encourage the revitalization of the Armenian Quarter in the Old City. As the Armenian community of Jerusalem continues to vastly dwindle, the current number of residents is 500 Armenians. The priorities of this nonprofit are: housing, employment and education in order to sustain a vital presence in this historical part of the world.

On October 21st, Michael Aram is returning to Chicago for a private reception held at Tabula Tua again benefitting Save the ArQ. He will personally engrave all items purchased and a percentage of the evening’s proceeds will go towards the nonprofit. Co-hosts for the event are: Mary Hoogasian, co-founder of Save the ArQ; Carrie Nahabedian and Michael Nahabedian, of NAHA restaurant; and Grace Tsao-Wu, owner of Tabula Tua.

Grace Tsao-Wu of Tabula Tua has carried Michael Aram pieces since her store opened in 1994. As this is Michael’s first appearance at Tabula Tua, Grace felt it should be a meaningful event that would benefit Chicagoans. It became an ideal situation to create a momentous occasion for both Chicago Armenians and non-Armenians alike.

Culinary creative force, Carrie Nahabedian—a winner of the nationally distinguished James Beard award—is joining fellow friend and artist, Michael Aram, to ensure the evening is a spectacular event. Carrie and cousin, Michael Nahabedian, both owners of NAHA restaurant in Chicago are providing Mediterranean inspired food and drink for the reception.

In addition to the reception, Michael has created a one-of-a-kind sculpture specifically for the Armenians. This meaningful piece is Michael Aram’s interpretation of the khatchkar—the traditional Armenian cross—crafted out of metal. The khatchkar is represented by an apricot tree with an open outer frame. The frame represents the historical attempt to diminish the Armenian people, but there is one tree limb that extends beyond the frame symbolizing their perseverance. This extended limb’s branches are the only ones with leaves to signify those who survived the Armenian Genocide as well as a symbol of life. A dove sits atop the highest branch representing hope and the Holy Ghost. At the base of the tree lay fallen leaves—representing all the Armenians who sadly lost their lives during the genocide. The leaves of the apricot tree are heart-shaped honoring all these Armenian souls. The sculpture is entirely dark bronze except the leaves attached to the highest branches which are a golden bronze while the dove is cast out of silverplated bronze. The dimensions are 33” x 22 1/4” x 12”.

It is a piece being made in honor and in remembrance of all those who perished and survived the Armenian Genocide.

This original masterpiece titled, Perpetual Perseverance, will be auctioned on ebay starting October 12th. The auction will finish the night of the event: Thursday, October 21st at 8:30 p.m. (CDT) with access to ebay for those attending the reception. Michael has so kindly donated this piece to Save the ArQ with all proceeds benefiting the nonprofit. In addition, Michael will be signing all pieces purchased this evening and Tabula Tua will be donating 10% of all proceeds to Save the ArQ.

The event at Tabula Tua:
1015 W. Armitage, Chicago (Lincoln Park neighborhood)
Thursday, October 21st, 2010 from 6-9 p.m.

RSVP (required) to 773.525.0816 or

For more photos of Michael Aram’s original sculpture, Perpetual Perseverance, please go to the Save the ArQ link at


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