Shushanik G. Zohrabyan
The importance of the art works of Vardges Surenyants is stressed especially by the fact that the painter being a contemporary of the Armenian Genocide of 1894-1896 and then 1915 has left for future generations many valuable pictures, drawings and photos reflecting the greatest tragedy of the Armenian people. They have great art and historic-documentary value. The Hamidian cruel massacres of 1894-1896 are depicted in the Surenyants paintings “Deserted” (1894), “Violated holiness” (1895), “After the massacre” (1895), “Come to me all well-deserved” and the paintings depicting Armenian refugees.
During the Armenian Genocide of 1915 Surenyants came to St.Etchmiadzin and together with great patriot Garegin Hovsepyan did his best to ease the refugees’ lot. At the same time he painted orphans and refugees in Etchmiadzin, Yerevan, Ashtarak, Oshakan where he took part in the opening of schools, got acquainted with everyday life of refugees. Barefooted men, women and children from Shatakh, Aljevazi, Vaspurakan, Karin, Sasun and Western Armenia’s other places in torn clothes but with smiles on their faces and deep consciousness of dignity are painted in his pictures. Gathered in Etchmiadzin refugees in colourful national costumes by their individuality and variety made the painter feel deeper the grief suffered by the people, who left native regions and brought with them a fragment of the lost Motherland’s fragrance and charms.