On November 6, 2018, at the event hall of the Ministry of Diaspora in Yerevan, Armenia, acting Minister of Diaspora Mkhitar Hayrapetyan Officially presented The portrait of Fridtjof Nansen painted by the “Peace of Art” organization’s founder, Daniel Varoujan Hejinian to the Honorary Consul of Norway to Armenia, Timothy David Straight.
Ambassadors of Denmark, Sweden, Finland were present at the event too.
“I am honored today, to receive today this wonderful painting of the Norwegian humanitarian personality and explorer Fridtjof Nansen by US-based artist Varoujan Hejinian. The painting expresses gratitude for Nansen’s support for the Armenian nation, the blue stripe on the Armenian flag going through Nansen’s hand and into the blue stripe on the Norwegian flag,” Mr. Straight said.
The painting represents the great humanist Fridtjof Nansen’s selfless attitude towards the Armenian people, his caring and support, as a result of which hundreds of thousands Armenian refugee survivors of the Genocide received a Nansen passport. It conveys also a gratitude to the Norwegian government for providing humanitarian assistance during the 1988 earthquake in Northern Armenia.
On his opening ceremonial remarks, RA Minister of Diaspora Mkhitar Hayrapetyan noted that Nansen was one of the first to condemn the Armenian Genocide and helped tens of thousands of Armenian refugees find refugees in Armenia and other countries. He also recalled missionary Bodil Katharine Biørn, who worked as a nurse in Western Armenia and saved thousands of homeless and ill children.
“Shortly after the 1988 earthquake, the tents of the Norwegian Red Cross were deployed in Spitak, Lori Region, which became one of the first operational aid points for earthquake victims. Later, in March 1989, the Norwegian Red Cross was built and put into operation by the Spitak Hospital. Today, on behalf of the Armenian people and especially all the people of Lori on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the earthquake, I express our gratitude for supporting Armenia in a difficult situation”, said the governor of Lori region Andrey Ghukasyan.
Daniel Varoujan Hejinian, the creator of the artwork said: “I have looked at the future through the eyes of hope and with determination to keep the humanity away from misfortune. For this purpose, I founded the Peace of Art organization in 2003, which uses art as an educational tool to bring awareness to the universal issues and promote peaceful solutions to different conflicts”.
Varoujan also expressed his thanks to the acting Minister of Diaspora Mkhitar Hayrapetyan for presenting him properly and evaluating his work, he added that he is the youngest minister in Armenia and the presence of the young minister is important for Diaspora youth to be inspired and contacted with their homeland.