NAASR Holiday Open House to feature illustrated talk by Ani Babaian

BELMONT, Mass.—Ani Babaian, Curator of the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) Mardigian Library and accomplished artist and art restorer, will be the featured speaker during the NAASR Holiday Open House on Wednesday, December 13, 2023, at the NAASR Vartan Gregorian Building, 395 Concord Ave., Belmont, MA.  

Babaian’s talk will be titled “Revealing the Murals of Amenaprkich Vank of New Julfa,” and will be the third and final program in the 2023 series on the art of Armenian church mural painting that has been supported by a grant from the Dadourian Foundation. Her presentation will begin at 7:30 p.m. and will be given in-person at NAASR and streamed live on Zoom (register here) and on NAASR’s YouTube channel. 

Presentation of Jesus at the Temple to Simeon (above) and Mary Magdalene washing the feet of Jesus (below), in S. Amenaprkich

The Open House will run from 4:00 p.m. until the conclusion of the evening’s programs.  Light refreshments will be offered prior to the 7:30 program. There will be a one-day-only 20-percent discount for in-store and online sales of all items in the NAASR bookstore.

Nor Jugha (New Julfa) played a unique and essential role in the history of the Armenian community of Iran. Surb Amenaprkich Vank (St. Savior’s Cathedral, 1664) is the seat of the Diocese of Isfahan and the southern part of Iran, and until the mid-20th century also for Armenians in India.

In this presentation, Babaian will talk about S. Amenaprkich Vank’s murals—the artistic styles, the artists, the projects to conserve the murals and new findings discovered during the conservation process.

The construction of this remarkable church began in 1655 and ended in 1664. The church is decorated with fascinating murals, which show scenes from the Old and New Testaments, the life of St. Gregory the Illuminator, the Last Judgment, floral ornaments and bands of ceramic tiles.

Babaian serves as Curator for NAASR’s Mardigian Library, where she has worked since 2013. She is also an independent researcher, artist and art conservator who holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Alzahra University in Tehran, where her thesis was entitled “Mutual Influences: New Julfa and Isfahan Mural Paintings of the 17th Century.” She has authored numerous articles on Armenian and Persian art, participated in conferences held in Iran and Armenia and given presentations on Armenian art in the U.S. She has contributed to the volumes Armenian Frescoes edited by Dr. Karen Matevosyan (2019) and Armenian Communities of Persia/Iran edited by Richard G. Hovannisian (2022).

A detail from the mural painting of Jesus with the Apostles at the altar of S. Amenaprkich

During her tenure at the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts of Isfahan, Babaian worked on numerous important conservation projects, including the murals in the gavit or narthex of S. Amenaprkich Vank, in Chehel Sotoun Palace and in the Museum of Decorative Arts of Isfahan. She has continued her conservation work for private collections and institutions, including Holy Trinity Armenian Church of Greater Boston and others.

Admission is free and all are welcome. The NAASR Center is located opposite the First Armenian Church and next to the U.S. Post Office. Parking is available around the building and in adjacent areas.

More information about the open house and programs is available by emailing



Founded in 1955, NAASR is one of the world’s leading resources for advancing Armenian Studies, supporting scholars, and building a global community to preserve and enrich Armenian culture, history, and identity for future generations.

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