Liverpool exhibition showcases Birkenhead-based artist who fled war in Ukraine

Eurovision is everywhere at the moment and one venue in the host city is keen to remind us why the contest is in this country in the first place.

Birkenhead-based artist, Aram Manukyan, was happily living in Ukraine until 2022, when suddenly Russia invaded and the country was thrown into turmoil.

Aram was born in 1964 in Tbilisi, the capital city of Georgia. His father, Alexander was a metal artist and encouraged his son’s creativity from an early age, first teaching him to draw and then how to create art from metal.

The skills Aram picked up in his formative years have always stayed with him and still influence him today.

In 1980, Aram entered Tbilisi Academy of Arts, before continuing his studies at the Stieglitz Academy in St. Petersburg, where he stayed for seven years. During that time Aram mixed with many inspiring creatives. The famous film maker Sergei Parajanov and the artist, Gayane Khachaturyan were at the centre of his social circle.

Aram describes how important Gayane’s friendship in particular was to him, “She thought creatively and was a very strong artist of that time and the most famous in our region. Friendship with her greatly influenced my work, she opened up to me a kind of painting that is not taught anywhere.”

Many of Aram’s friends had spoken about Ukraine being a wonderful place for artists to be and in 2011 Aram decided to relocate there.

Aram was content for eleven years but when Russia invaded all that changed. Thankfully Aram and his wife Roksi escaped the war safely and are now currently living in Birkenhead, a place they’ve warmed to very quickly.

Aram has always enjoyed being outdoors and explained, “As a student I often worked outside, observation and study of nature teaches the artist a lot.” Perhaps that’s why he likes being so close to the River Mersey which runs past his new home?

Aram also loves Birkenhead Park, famously the inspiration for Central Park in New York and currently in the running for UNESCO world heritage status and, following a Birkenhead News campaign, progressing towards being twinned with Central Park.

Despite how hard the last year must have been, Aram is now creating new work and remains positive and is grateful to be where he is.

Optimistically, he’s looking forward to what the future holds and to exploring the area, saying, “I have no doubt that there are many beautiful places in the Wirral that I have still to discover”.

Aram has enjoyed much success during his career and has exhibited all over the world. His next exhibition will take place Arts Bar Hope Street in Liverpool.

The venue’s curator, Laura McCann explains why showcasing Aram’s work is so important to her, “We’re honoured to be working with such an accomplished artist as Aram. With Eurovision coming to the city we felt the timing was very important too, as we wanted to support an artist who had been directly affected by the war in Ukraine”.

The Exhibition will run daily over the weekend of May 5-7 12-5pm, with a launch event on the evening of Friday the 5th 5-6.30pm. Entry is free and all are welcome. Please see for more information.

Image: Aram Manukyan. Credit: Laura McCann

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