Onik
Like saint consummates in himself the passion's work, the poet consummates the creation's work, he takes part in divine balances, he moves the mystery around, he lives naturally together with the secret powers who amuse themselves around the universe.

Jean Cocteau

To talk about Onik's artwork it's to unlock the Prodigy's Explanation. To discover Alice's secret behind the mirror, the cat turning himself into a Smile, the narcissist Evil Queen (the perversion presupposition) who poisoned White Snow in her search for the unique Beauty, the faceless Madonnas of an overwhelming strength, the women metamorphosing themselves into butterflies, the watch alerting us for the flow of time. In summary, the other side of imagery's irreality or the reality of a fantastic imagination.

This way Onik takes part in divine balances, moving mysteries around, amusing himself with the universe secret powers and consummating the creation's work. Dalínian, he offers his own look at our "Portugueseness" with an interpretation of The Lusiads and the Discoveries so honorable to us. We can eventually enjoy his work musicality in Mussorgky's music for Pictures of Exhibition. A rare and magnified symbiosis reiterating how ubiquitous art is, fulfilling the wholeness genesis, which is Harmony, tangible and untangible.
I would like to thank Onik for his art, his look at Portugal and for having fall in love once with Lisbon's light, offering to the world the Aqueduto das Águas Livres.

Margarida Ruas Gil Costa
EPAL Museum of Water's Director
National Correspondent for European Forum and Council of Europe Museum

With lavish abundance, the heavens have bestowed the richest gifts on a single individual: Onik Sahakian. Onik, the son of a visionary inventor and a doting mother was born on 4 December 1936. With Russian-Armenian roots, Onik's family found in Iran a safe haven following the overthrow of the Romanov Dynasty in 1917. As a child, Onik's creative genius took form in music, in particular dance, and in mastery of the piano. He was first exposed to artistry at his parent's home, which was tastefully decorated with a vast repertoire of ornaments, paintings, and icons, richly influenced by the captivating colours and embellishments characteristic of Russian artwork. Vistis to Gregorian churches furnished with exquisite iconography and Orthodox lampadas bearing depictions and motifs in jewels and enamels, fostered in Onik an appreciation for intricate and the complex. These invaluable experiences were the source of inspiration in for example, Onik's renditions of the Madonna, on in his elaborate headpieces.

His capricious experiments with colour, space and technique earned him a grant at the prestigious Fine Arts Institute of Tehran. --

Guided by his art-conscious uncles, Onik's dabbling in sketching and paiting began at the tender age of seven. By the age of fourteen, he demonstrated ability to convey his passion for classical music in his charming, yet masterful portrayal of Beethoven. His capricious experiments with colour, space and technique earned him a grant at the prestigious Fine Arts Institute of Tehran (Honarestan Zibae Keshvar). Persian 'miniature' influences are depicted in 'Miniature' 1953, which also exhibits distinct surrealist undertones. Remarkably, Onik completed this painting at the age of seventeen, well before his encounter with surrealist master, Salvadir Dalí. By the age of fifteen, Onik was already skilled in drawing and painting but his original style continuously evolved throughout his long career, expanding the definition of what surrealist art represents.

In 1958, Onik met Dalí at the ritzy Sebou Salon in New York City, where Dalí was sitting with a large curling rolloers in his hair. Flamboyantly, Onik entered the salon with a grand-jeté, fourth position, attitude, and a couple of pirouettes, ending on his knees in front of he artist. Dalí rose from his chair and began praising Onik, 'Bravo! Bravo!' He then proceeded to 'knight' Onik with a tap from hi infamous cane. With his characteristic snarl, Dalí exclaimed, 'Onik, you're the most Dalínean person I have ever known in my life. You're completely and totally crazy, but… good crazy!' That day augured the beginning of a unique friendship that was to last twenty years.

Onik &
Dalí


During these years, Onik assisted Dalí with his collages, paintings and sculptures, including the well-known bronze bust, 'Nieuw Amsterdam' 1974. Onik also designed exquisite jewelry for Dalí and his wife, which they donned at the various galas. The two artists spent many years exploring form and structure that led to the development of Onik's unique spin on surrealism'.

In 1969 Onik moved to New York City from Los Angeles where he set up a consulting agency for art and jewellery design, known as 'Onik Designs Ltd'. He found critical acclaim after an exhibition of painting and jewellery at the Rockefeller Centre in 1971. Lasting a year, the exhibition attracted the public and a range of New York magazines and newspapers.

Onik's illustrious career has yielded fifty-five solo exhibitions up to 2006. These have taken place the world over, including the prestigious Museum of World Culture at Gothenburg, the Grand Palais in Paris, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow and the Contemporary Art Museum in Tehram. He is widely collected by galleries, art-collectors and amateur art-lovers alike. His artwork has him numerous academic distinctions, including a Masters Degree and Achievement Award from Chouinard School in Los Angeles in 1964; the 'Who's who in the World', Men of Achievement from IBC Cambridge, United Kingdom in 1986, and the Diploma de Academia Correspondente de Arts from the Academia das Letras e Artes in Lisbon in 1992.

Onik's paintings embody the intricate weaving of artistic technique and a range of subject matters and moods. --

Onik's paintings embody the intricate weaving of artistic technique and a range of subject matters and moods. His paintings are a complex exercise in artistry, yet they are strikingly simple and unpretentious in their effortless delivery of every day themes and emotions. Ingeniously, Onik unifies the fantastical imagery of the surreal with conventional content – a method that undeniably strikes a chord in the hearts of many. The fertility of his surrealist imagination breathes life into the everyday scene of the mundane.

Onik combines the dreams, myths and the unconscious fundamentals of surrealism with mystical, spiritual and serene elements. He infuses in the disjuncture of the surrealist imagination elements of hope, faith and comfort. Onik's talent lies in his ability to reconcile two disparate orientations bringing to his audience a sense of harmony and equilibrium.

Dr. Ghoncheh Tazmini
Award: Third Moscow International Festival of Art