Armenian alphabet sculpture unveiled at U.C. Berkeley

armenian alphabetAfter many long years, the Armenian Alphabet sculpture called “Three Apples from Heaven” has finally found a home in the Doe Library at the U.C. Berkeley campus, Asbarez reports.

The sculpture was donated by Richard Terzian, a 1951 graduate of U.C. Berkeley. Richard was born in New York City, attended schools there and only spoke Armenian until he was seven years old. In 1945 he was drafted into the army and

after his service came west to U.C. Berkeley, where he studied physics and decided to remain there. After his graduation, Richard moved to Los Angeles where he received a Master’s degree in Engineering from UCLA and worked for Hughes Aircraft, RCA and TRW.

Richard’s sister Annette who had commissioned an earlier alphabet which is housed at Mt. Holyoke College had dreamed of placing an Armenian sculpture at Richard’s alma mater, Berkeley. Unfortunately she passed away before the project began. And so Richard took over his sister’s dream connecting with the sculptor, John Ventimiglia. Richard enlisted the help of the UCBAA and appointments were set up for him to talk to the various Berkeley officials who liked the idea of the sculpture being donated to the library.

John Ventimiglia is Chair of the Sculpture Department of the Maine College of Art in Portland, Maine and had created two earlier alphabet sculptures. He began the Berkeley project in 2008, and it was completed in 2012. John said he studied old Armenian manuscripts and pictures to be able to draw the letters first on paper and then make wax molds, and then hot bronze to attain the finished product. It took many arduous hours to get the beautiful result we have today. If one looks closely at the sculpture, one sees pomegranates at the bottom of the piece. John feels that pomegranates are a common motif of Armenian fables. Also it was noted that John should have an “ian” added to his name to make him an honorary Armenian because of his long involvement with the Armenian alphabet.

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