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A powerful theatrical sense and an innate playfulness fill this world of wandering circuses, colorful bazaars, and artists’ lives
Mais Mkhitaryan creates elegant court scenes with a Surrealist twist, where, for example, beautifully gowned ladies may carry on their coiffures ribboned hats containing exotic birds and fish. It is not surprising to learn that Mkhitaryan has been active in film as an art director and that his works were featured in V. Chaldranyan’s “The Silence Symphony.”
Mkhitaryan himself has been the subject of two documentary films: 1997’s “Mais Mkhitaryan,” directed by Nora Muradyan (who in 2003 followed this with a video on the artist), and “Mon fils sera Armenian,” made in Canada in 2002 by Hakob Kutsusyan.
Born in 1962 in Tbilisi, Georgia, Mkhitaryan moved to Yerevan with his family in 1966. In 1992, he was named winner of the Vardan Ajemyan Prize. He is a member of the Armenian Artists Union and UNESCO. Since 1983, Mkhitaryan’s paintings have been exhibited in a number of exhibitions and art-expos. Many works never exhibited are in private collections in Armenia, Georgia, Russia, the United States and a number of European countries. “Spring Melody,” “Encounter” and “The Clown” are in the World Bank MC Atrium and Preston Auditorium in Washington, D.C.
Mais Mkhitaryan is a painter who brings to the ancient Armenian culture a new way of thinking. His paintings are a multifaceted unity of his birthplace, Tbilisi, different ethnicities, everyday life that resembles wandering circuses, Armenian theatre and artisans, colorful baths and bazaars — a culture rich with sun-burnt mountains, bent but still standing temples, priceless rock images, Bronze Age carvings and parchments. In Mkhitaryan’s canvases, all this lies behind a theatrical (and, on many occasions, grotesque) surface. Two seemingly contradictory cultures are in harmony in these paintings. The result is a unique world where man is the main actor, the principal judge, and the prime research target.