A picture paints a thousand words


Karolina Mangasarian

Second-place winner Karolina Mangasarian’s artwork.

After two and a half weeks of anxious waiting, the judges of the Armenian Independence Art Contest announced the winning art entries on April 26, revealing the three artists who most effectively displayed this year’s theme and artistic ability. The results unveiled Clark students as the overall champions of the contest with first place going to junior Manana Khashadoorian, second to junior Karolina Mangasarian, and third to senior Areil Hovsepian.

The path to victory however, was not effortless, with some students beginning their projects for the contest over a month ago, depending on their chosen form of media. While some students opted for artwork based on traditional 2-D media including colored pencils and acrylic paint, others chose to present their ideas through more modern means by including technology and designing their piece through Adobe Photoshop on school computers.

“It was brought forth by an organization called hamazkayin which I am part of,” said art and design teacher Yeranui Paronikyan, who introduced the contest to her classes months before. Hamazkayin, which is short for Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society, is a worldwide organization focused on providing opportunities to the Armenian diaspora in communities. “This organization puts together and organizes contests for students in grades K-12,” Paronikyan said.

In accordance with the contest rules, each entry had to adhere to the requirements of a canvas at least 9 by 12 inches, in addition to incorporating this year’s theme of “Freedom” to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Armenian Independence. The theme allowed for varied creative perspectives with some artists taking personal approaches to their artwork. “I have a passion for the Armenian community and I am active in organizations celebrating our culture such as AYF, so I decided to make a symbolic representation that resonated with my Armenian youth,” Khashadoorian said.

Other students based their artwork on family history that attuned with the contest’s theme, paying tribute to those they admire. “My grandmother used to be a dancer for her village, so I decided to make a dancer the focus of my art and to comply with the theme, I also drew doves in the sky which portrayed the girl dancing freely across Armenia,” Mangasarian said.  

After weeks of exhausting work and devoted time, students from all over Glendale arrived early Saturday morning, April 7, at Hamazkayin Armenian Cultural Association in Glendale to present their work. The competition featured contests in all forms of art including an essay composition in Armenian, dance and music. Among the approximate 20 participants in the art contest, ranging from ages 10-17, students prepared to impress the four judges who questioned each artist about their painting, its importance, choice of media and how well the theme was carried out. “This year’s judges were very tough,” Paronikyan said. “It was very stressful because they had to present in front of an audience, but it was also very touching.”

After the student’s presentations followed weeks of nerve-wracking anticipation until the results of the art contest finally arrived this past Thursday, announcing Clark students to have taken over the entire contest. The considerable win came as a immense surprise to everyone followed by proud sensations for all the winners and their inspirators. “I didn’t expect to win, but I’m glad that the judges were emotionally moved by my drawing which tells me my artwork is capable to move others in the community as well,” Khashadoorian said.