Yerevan, Armenia – From June 24 to July 30, 2015, the American University of Armenia (AUA) will be showcasing watercolor paintings by AUA President Armen Der Kiureghian in the university’s Akian Art Gallery. The official opening ceremony will be held on Wednesday, June 24 at 6 PM. Proceeds from the sale of his artwork will be donated to the AUA Alumni Endowment Scholarship Fund.
The exhibition, titled “Reflections in Watercolor,” will feature 33 works of art by Dr. Der Kiureghian focusing on landscape imagery. Ranging in date from 1980-2015, the selection consists of watercolors from throughout the artist’s career.
Dr. Der Kiureghian’s work is a mindful play of color, mood, and light conveying the artist’s emotional connection with his environment. It seems the artist is testing and exploring to learn more about the natural connections that tie the landscape together with complexity, intricacy, and more importantly balance, which brings in the watercolors’ emotional content. He tends to work on distinct patches of color, avoiding layering of paint. Larger works are freer and bolder, while smaller pieces are more attentive to details.
Although he considers painting watercolors a hobby, he often received first place prizes for his art among his peer group nationwide during his high school and university years in Iran. “At one time I considered pursuing art as a university study and profession, but my interest in mathematics led me to engineering,” he said.
Dr. Der Kiureghian is the son of famous Iranian-Armenian watercolor artist Sumbat Der Kiureghian, about whom he published his 2009 book The Life and Art of Sumbat. His father was his main influence and teacher in art.
Since AUA’s inception in 1991, Dr. Der Kiureghian has been one of the most active and dedicated members of the AUA family. He is one of the founding fathers of AUA, founding dean of AUA’s College of Science and Engineering, former interim provost, and currently the president of the university.
In 2014, Dr. Der Kiureghian received the ASCE 2014 George Winter Award for his scholarly contributions to the fields of structural reliability, risk analysis, random vibrations, and earthquake engineering; for his numerous outreach activities with significant social impact; and for his contributions to fine arts. Of particular note were his contributions to the fine arts through landscape and still life painting.
Dr. Der Kiureghian is a noted scholar of international fame. He is the Taisei Chair in Civil Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley and an elected member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, the highest honor for an American engineer. He is also an elected foreign member of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia. He has served as Visiting Professor in universities in Slovenia, Japan, Italy, Denmark, India and Germany. Dr. Der Kiureghian is a member of many U.S. and international engineering societies with emphasis on structural and earthquake engineering, and has served on the editorial boards of the most prestigious journals in these fields. In addition to his exceptional academic credentials, Dr. Der Kiureghian has strong links with the Armenian diaspora in the United States.
Proceeds from the sale of his artwork will be donated to the AUA Alumni Endowment Scholarship Fund. The endowment was established in 2013 on the occasion of the 20th anniversary reunion of AUA’s class of 1993. This year, the classes of 1995, 2005, and 2010 will come together to celebrate their 20th, 10th, and 5th year reunions, respectively, and will make contributions to the Alumni Scholarship Endowment Fund. So far, $55,000 has been gathered, which has allowed for the funding of the first student scholarship. Dr. Der Kiureghian and his wife, Nelly, were among the first contributors in 2013.
You can view the collection at http://akiangallery.aua.am/current-exhibition/