Rita Kevorkian

Armenian-Egyptian Artist Rita Kevorkian Truly A Rising Talent

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By Maydaa Nadar

Special to the Mirror-Spectator

CAIRO — Her father and grandfather were born in Egypt. Her great-grandfather fled to Egypt, escaping the Genocide. She is the fourth generation of her Armenian family. Meet Rita Kevorkian, the Armenian-Egyptian artist whose paintings depict the richness of both countries at their finest.

“Armenia represents my roots. At the same time, Egypt is my home country, where I was born and raised, and the place where I live and where I wish to spend the rest of my life,” articulated Rita in this regard.

Rita Kevorkian at Fayoum’s Caricature Museum in Egypt

At the age of 8, Rita started painting. Her family and school noticed, and moreover, praised her talent. They have been continuously motivating her to develop. Her paintings relate vividly world events and the topics that affect society.

The young artist tackles violence against women

“My artwork focuses on what serves humanity, what improves society, and on showing the beauty in everything God created. I try my best to spread optimism and hope and to convert negativity to positivity,” says Rita. She recently composed more than 20 paintings that revolve around the COVID-19 topic, for instance.

Rita Kevorkian’s creative way to battle coronavirus

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“I believe that art is a magical weapon, an effective one that is able to battle plenty of dilemmas. It is the soft power of all time,” she said. Some of the young artist’s paintings address violence against women.

In addition, many of her paintings attest to her passionate attachment to her origins. A vivid example is her desire to depict Armenian musicians, such as Aram Khachaturian, Charles Aznavour, Komitas and Makar Yekmalyan. “I tend more towards Komitas, taking into consideration that he discovered, collected and registered Armenian folk music,” she adds.

The remarkable artist Martiros Saryan depicted by Rita Kevorkian

Speaking about artists, her role model is Michelangelo, who was “so good at painting icons on the walls of the church and his works remained among the best artworks for years.” Her Armenian shining examples are the remarkable Martiros Saryan and Armenian-Egyptian cartoonist and caricaturist Alexander Saroukhan.

Alexander Saroukhan depicted by Rita Kevorkian

Rita said she is very influenced by Saroukhan (1898-1977), one of the most distinguished caricaturists in the Arab world. His works were published in Arabic and international newspapers and magazines. “How I wish I had met him, so I would have been able to express how much I admire his intelligence, thoughts, the beauty of his artworks, and his foresight with regard to political events,” exclaims Rita, adding that “His family were always generous in providing me with the information that helped me know him closely.”

She is keen on participating in Ramadaniat, an annual exhibition that takes place to celebrate the holy month of Ramadan. In this respect, it is worth noting that she magnificently portrayed Ramadan’s ambiance as well as influential figures of Egypt, such as the Muslim scholar and jurist Muhammad Metwalli Al-Shaarawi and the musician Sayed Mekawy. “I feel delighted to be one of the artists who capture the beauty of the Egyptian heritage,” comments Rita.

The Muslim scholar and jurist Muhammad Metwalli Al-Shaarawi in a work by Rita Kevorkian

Her works of art adorn many of the celebrations of the Armenian community in Egypt. Last year for example, Rita took part with ten acrylic paintings in celebrating the 90th anniversary of the founding of Saint Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Church in Cairo. Her artworks included representations of the church itself, the Holy Family’s journey to Egypt, and important figures of the Armenian Church. The young artist also magnificently revived old iconography. “I was very happy with the trust the church and the Armenian community put in me, as they allowed me to play a role in this great event.”

Saint Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Church in Cairo painted by Rita Kevorkian

Not only did she compete at international contests, but she was actively present as well. A case in point was her winning the first prize at the Tolerance Competition organized by the United Arab Emirates (UAE). “I took part because the contest’s theme grabbed my attention, I liked it a lot. I also was eager to do so out of my love for Prince Mohamed bin Rashid as a person and for the UAE.”

Singing is Rita’s second hobby and she decided to invest her beautiful voice in joining the church’s and the school’s choirs. “God granted me a sweet voice, a one with which I can serve my church, the place where my love for Saint Gregory the Illuminator commenced. There I also started to read about the church’s history and Saint Gregory’s life.”

Rita Kevorkian celebrated International Women’s Day

Music serves as a positive inspiration for Rita while she paints. “A habit of mine is listening to classical music before and during painting. It inspires me and creates a happy and serene atmosphere.”

“I avoid working on meaningless topics,” Rita concludes. All the best, and better is yet to come for Rita Kevorkian!

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