Minas Avetisyan

b.1928, d.1975

Minas Avetisyan was born in the village of Jajur, Soviet Armenia. His mother, Sofo, was a daughter of the priest from Kars. His father, Karapet, was a smith from Mush. His wife was Gayane Mamajanyan.
The main theme of his works was Armenian nature, the nature of Jajur, the religion, poor people, mountains, fields etc.[1]
Avetisyan emerged as an artist at the “Exhibition of Five” in Yerevan (1962). Numerous specialists and visitors to the exhibition appreciated greatly his work. Avetisian’s method differs from the method of plain-air painting which was once widespread in Armenian art. For him working form nature is no more than a preliminary stage. The main portion of the work on the canvas was done in his studio.[2]
In 1972, while Avetisyan was in Jajur with his family, his studio and many of his canvas were burned down. Some of the burned pictures were later reproduced from photographs taken earlier.
In his paintings, Avetisyan uses bright and unmixed colors that are juxtaposed with each other to form bold shapes that are clearly defined. A very popular person in Armenia and Soviet Union, Minas was an art dissident who used national elements in his painting style.
In 1975, Minas Avetisyan died under the wheels of the car, which stopped off at the sidewalk.[3] According to some sources, he was murdered by the KGB.[4]
It has been a common misbelief among Armenians that one of most respected and loved artists of the nation was assassinated because of his political views. The death of the artist was tragic; however, it was an unfortunate accident. The name of the driver of the car was Jora Sedrakyan. Beside the driver, there were three more passengers, a woman and two children. From the accounts of eye witnesses and the relatives of the driver: this is the untold story behind the death of the artist.
Jora was a man of weak health. “He was diagnosed with stomach infection and in few years before the incident had surgery where the doctors removed part of his stomach”. At the day of the incident, when driving on the rode, he was stopped by a woman with two children, who were late for their school. The woman was in a hurry and begged the driver to go faster. The driver had epileptic seizure which caused him to lose control of his car. As a result, the car went off road and hit the artist.”
“The driver was taken to custody and was imprisoned for 9 months in jail. His health worsened during those months. A year after his release the driver died”.