The Y&S Nazarian Family Foundation, which is dedicated to the promotion of education as the most important catalyst for societal change, announced that its co-founder and acclaimed sculptor, Soraya Nazarian, received the Shamsi Hekmat Achievement Award, 2017 from the Iranian Jewish Women’s Organization of Southern California.
“I am truly grateful to have received this recognition from such a prestigious and important organization and congratulate my fellow award recipients,” says Nazarian. “My work is so important to me because I express my feelings and vision through each piece. I am honored to be able to donate select pieces to valuable organizations, and to be able to give back through my foundations and initiatives to causes that support education and art.”
With roots in Iran, the Iranian Jewish Women’s Organization of Southern California was founded in 1976 in Los Angeles. Its mission has been to protect the dual identity of the Iranian Jewish community in Los Angeles, as well as to recognize the impact and role of Iranian Jewish women in society. The Shamsi Hekmat Achievement Award recognizes women who are making a significant impact on the Iranian Jewish community.
“Soraya is an inspiration to women around the world for her dedication to her art as well as her efforts in supporting her community through her charitable work,” says Sam Nazarian, her son and Founder and CEO of sbe, the leading lifestyle hospitality company that develops, manages and operates award-winning venues globally.
Nazarian is an Iranian-born, Los Angeles-based artist who is a master in the medium of direct carving in stone. Her work carries themes of motherhood, family, spirituality and Iranian culture. In 1979, Nazarian immigrated to the United States with her husband and four children and began to study sculpting in the late 1980s.
In 2000, she co-founded the Y&S Nazarian Family Foundation in Los Angeles, California, with her husband Younes Nazarian. In 2003, they established the regional office in Tel Aviv, Israel, under the name of the Ima Foundation. The Foundation is driven by the core belief that the promotion and support of education is the most important catalyst for societal change.
The Foundation’s charitable giving is focused on supporting educational causes through a multipronged approach. This includes the academic setting, the public policy arena, targeting the community as well as through artistic realm.
“Soraya has given so much back through her philanthropic efforts, and emphasizes what our organization stands for,” says Shahla Javdan, President of the Iranian Jewish Women’s Organization. “We are delighted to have had the opportunity to honor her.”
In collaboration with her 2011 retrospective exhibition, Nazarian also launched the Soraya Sarah Nazarian Artists Initiative, a program designed to assist emerging artists with obtaining studio and exhibition space in the Los Angeles area.
Nazarian’s artwork is held in numerous private collections. Cultural institutions in the United States and Israel have commissioned large-scale sculptures; commissions include Sound (2002) at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance; Reflections (2007) at Sapir College, near Sderot, Israel; Legacy (2009) at the University of Haifa, Israel; Identity (2010) at Saperstein Middle School in Los Angeles; and Wings (2014) at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 2011, Strength Revealed, a comprehensive retrospective exhibition of her works was presented at Gallery 817 West Hollywood, Calif.
In 2000, Younes and Soraya Nazarian founded the Y&S Nazarian Family Foundation in Los Angeles, California, and in 2003, they established the regional office in Tel Aviv, Israel, under the name of the Ima Foundation. The Foundation is driven by the core belief that the promotion and support of education is the most important catalyst for societal change. The Foundation’s charitable giving is focused on supporting educational causes through a multipronged approach in academia, public policy, and the arts.