Friday May 19, 2017

Kevork Mourad says art is 'the most natural way to be active'

Syrian artist Kevork Mourad speaking to Ali Hassan in the q studios, in Toronto, Ont., while drawing an improvised piece of art.

Syrian artist Kevork Mourad speaking to Ali Hassan in the q studios, in Toronto, Ont., while drawing an improvised piece of art. (Melody Lau/CBC)

Listen 13:11

Last year, when Syrian clarinet player Kinan Azmeh came into q, he talked about his collaboration with a kindred spirit: Kevork Mourad, a Syrian-Armenian visual artist. 

The two work together to create an immersive, multi-sensory experience. Mourad paints in response to the music Azmeh plays, and Azmeh improvises onstage as Mourad draws — all in front of a live audience. 

Part of their work will be shown as part of the Syrian Symphony exhibit opening at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto tomorrow. Today, Mourad joins Ali Hassan in the studio to discuss his experience growing up as a Syrian-Armenian, his fluid, changing style, and what he hopes art can do when it seems like all news is bad news. 

For more information about the Aga Khan exhibit, which runs to Aug. 13, head over to their website

Web extra: During the interview, Mourad created a spontaneous painting. See photos of his process below. 

Kevork Mourad

Visual artist Kevork Mourad drawing while talking to guest host, Ali Hassan. (Melody Lau/CBC)

Kevork Mourad

Syrian artist Kevork Mourad speaking to Ali Hassan in the q studios, in Toronto, Ont., while drawing an improvised piece of art. (Melody Lau/CBC)

Kevork Mourad

Visual artist Kevork Mourad and guest host Ali Hassan posing with Mourad's finished drawing. (Melody Lau/CBC)

— Produced by Ashley Mak