This Week in Armenian History

Death of Sargis Baghdasarian (June 19, 2001)

You may have visited Stepanakert or not, but you surely are aware of the symbol of Artsakh places in the outskirts of the cityalso in the coat-of-arms of the Republic—the monument called “We Are Our Mountains” (also known as “Karabaghtsis” or, in the most popular version, Grandfather and Grandmother”). You are probably less aware of the identity of its sculptor. 

The author, Sargis Baghdasarian, was born on September 5, 1923, in the village of Banadzor in the district of Hadrut (Artsakh). His family moved to Yerevan, and he continued his studies at the Pushkin School and the sculpture group of the Pioneers (Soviet version of the boy scouts) Palace “Ghukas Ghukasian.” He participated in the republican exhibition “Our Young Creators” and won the first prize. 

During World War II, Baghdasarian studied at the artillery school No. 1 of Baku (1942) and graduated with the rank of lieutenant. Afterwards, he fought valiantly on several fronts until the end of the war despite being wounded twice. He was decorated twice and also received several war medals and certificates of merit. 

After being discharged in 1946, Baghdasarian went into an artistic career. He studied at the Art Institute of Yerevan from 1946-1952. He started teaching at his alma mater in 1962 and became a professor in 1980. He earned the title of Popular Painter of Armenia in 1978 and won the State Prize of Armenia in 1985. 

Sargis Baghdasarian created We Are Our Mountains” in 1967. He was the author of various busts (Avetik Isahakian, Hagop Baronian, both in 1965) and monuments (David Bek, 1978), as well as the statue “The Thinker” in the Italian city of Carrara (1966). 

He passed away on June 19, 2001, in Yerevan.