SORAYA S. NAZARIAN
FOUNDER AND TRUSTEE
Soraya Sarah Nazarian and her husband Younes founded the Los Angeles-based Y&S Nazarian Family Foundation, with a regional office in Israel named the Ima Foundation. Soraya is an Iranian-born, Los Angeles-based artist who has become a master in the medium of direct carving in stone. Her work carries themes of motherhood, family, spirituality and Iranian culture.
Soraya immigrated to the United States in 1979 with her husband and four children. In the late 1980s, she began sculpting in the studios of the American Jewish University (formerly the University of Judaism), and established her own studio in Los Angeles soon after. Her work is distinguished by two major periods: a time of discovery and experimentation in the 1980s and 1990s, and a period of artistic self-confidence marked by the creation of large-scale works beginning in 2000.
Early in her career, she revealed parallel interests: first in mastering the female form; second in experimenting with abstraction, and third in exploring themes that spoke to her life experience. Most of her works are based on strong familial connections and a commitment to humanistic values.
In 2000, she traveled to an artist's workshop in Pietrasanta, Italy, a city made famous for its marble quarries by the Renaissance sculptor Michelangelo. The experience profoundly shaped her life, focused her technique, and enhanced her relationship with stone. Since her initial arrival, she has been one of the few women who have personally selected stone from Pietrasanta quarries.
Soraya's work is held in numerous private collections. Large-scale sculptures have been commissioned by cultural institutions in Israel and the United States. Recent 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; Wings (2014) at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Love Heals (2017) at Rambam Children’s Hospital in Haifa Israel; and Unbound (2018) at California State University, Northridge. Soraya lives and maintains a studio in Los Angeles, California.