Fowler Talks: An Artist’s Journey with Soraya Sarah Nazarian
Join us for an intimate conversation with renowned Iranian Jewish artist Soraya Sarah Nazarian and her daughters, Shulamit Nazarian, Founder of Shulamit Nazarian Gallery, and Sharon Nazarian, Senior Vice President of International Affairs at Anti-Defamation League. They will recount Soraya’s extraordinary journey as an immigrant, artist, and philanthropist. The program will be moderated by Marla C. Berns, Shirley and Ralph Shapiro Director, Fowler Museum at UCLA.
This program is presented by Dortort Center for Creativity in the Arts at UCLA Hillel, in partnership with Y&S Nazarian Center for Israeli Studies and Fowler Museum at UCLA.
Soraya Sarah Nazarian is an Iranian-born artist who immigrated to the U.S. in 1979 with her family. She is a master in direct stone carving. Her work explores themes of motherhood, family, spirituality, and Iranian culture. Hillel at UCLA is proud to have a bronze mezuzah by Soraya at its entrance. Soraya established the Soraya Sarah Nazarian Artists Initiative at the American Jewish University to provide emerging artists with studio and exhibition space in Los Angeles. She lives and maintains a studio in Los Angeles, California.
Shulamit Nazarian has been an advocate for artists, art education, and the creative community in the United States and abroad for over 20 years. She immigrated to the United States from Iran with her parents and siblings; studied architecture and worked as an architectural graphic designer; and began a successful career as a gallerist with the opening of the Shulamit Nazarian Gallery in 2012. The Gallery features a diverse program of emerging and mid-career artists and has achieved International recognition for its groundbreaking approach.
Sharon Nazarian, Senior Vice President of International Affairs, heads the Anti-Defamation League’s work of fighting anti-Semitism and racial hatred globally, including in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and at the Lague’s Israel office. She is also President of the Younes & Soraya Nazarian Family Foundation and founder of the Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), whose Advisory Board she chairs.
Marla C. Berns is the Shirley and Ralph Shapiro Director of the Fowler Museum at UCLA and has been in this position since 2001. She received her Ph.D. in Art History at UCLA, specializing in African art. Her publishing and curatorial work have concentrated on women’s arts of Northeastern Nigeria, encompassing ceramic sculpture, decorated gourds, programs of body scarification, and issues of gender and identity. Among the many projects she has overseen at the Fowler, the most recent was the 2018-20 international traveling exhibition, Striking Iron: Art of African Blacksmiths, for which she was co-curator, co-editor and contributing author to the accompanying publication. In 2013, Berns received the medal of chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters of the French Republic.
The Fowler is honored to be a convening place for conversations and lectures that explore the many ways art creates meaning and defines purpose for people across the globe.
Image credit: Soraya Sarah Nazarian in front of her sculpture Legacy. Photo courtesy Soraya Sarah Nazarian