Soraya Sarah Nazarian
Soraya Sarah Nazarian is an Iranian-born, Los Angeles-based artist who, in her more than 25-year career, has become a master in the medium of direct carving in stone. Her work carries themes of motherhood, family, spirituality, and Iranian culture.
In 1979 Soraya immigrated to the United States with her husband and four children. In the late 1980s, she began to study sculpting. She established her own studios soon after in the United States and in Italy during her early stoneworking trips. 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 and showcasing its strength, power, and beauty; 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 education and 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, when she began visiting Italian quarries and establishing studio space, 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. Cultural institutions in the United States and Israel have commissioned large-scale sculptures. 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; and Wings (2014) at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 2011, Strength Revealed, a comprehensive retrospective exhibition of her works was presented in at Gallery 817 in West Hollywood, California. She lives and maintains a studio in Los Angeles, California.