Arts Council Azerbaijan serves as int'l art hub for artists [EXCLUSIVE]
Arts Council Azerbaijan is independent international platform unites cultural and art figures, who aspire to enrich the art world.
Founded in 2006, the non-governmental organization is actively engaged in the promotion of Azerbaijani culture and art.
For many years, multiple projects have been implemented under the auspices of the Arts Council Azerbaijan.
In an interview with AZERNEWS, acclaimed artist Dadash Mammadov spoke about the organization's main goals and activities.
Q: How did you come up with the idea to establish Arts Council Azerbaijan?
A: In 2002, I returned from my studies in Germany full of creative ideas and inspiration. However, I faced the fact that there is no opportunity for young artists to present their art works.
To organize an exhibition, it was necessary to stand in a long queue. And then the idea was born to create an independent art platform, where artists could showcase their masterpieces and promote the Azerbaijani culture and art.
I rented a site at the current Chambarakand, where I hosted a number of exhibitions, art evenings and mini-festivals. The place was called "Art Villa", which immediately attracted the attention of creative community and diplomatic missions. Furthermore, I bought up nearby garages and turned this place in art quarter.
Together with our partners, we carried many projects involving music, fashion, fine and decorative arts, cinema. Since I studied abroad, I have personally known many cultural and art figures from different countries. I proposed the idea of the Arts Council to them, and most of them supported it. Now, Arts Council Azerbaijan is an international network, which includes Latvia, Lithuania, Colombia, Moldova, Ukraine and other countries. We actively cooperate and help each other. Recently, the Arts Council Azerbaijan became a member of the World Crafts Council Europe, a project that brings together representatives of arts and crafts from European countries. Thanks to this, our artists have the opportunity to exhibit their art works in Europe. Arts Council Azerbaijan actively cooperates with government agencies, diplomatic missions and media. The organization implements nearly 3-4 art projects each month, which means that we have something to offer every week and not only in Azerbaijan, but also abroad.
Q: Could you name several projects you found particularly impressive?
A: Among the largest projects, where Arts Council Azerbaijan acted as an organizer or partner is worth highlighting From Waste to Art International Environmental Art Festival (2011), Decorative Art Festival (2011), an exhibition "My Way" (2012) dedicated to the 80th anniversary of well-known Azerbaijani artist and cartoon director Nazim Mammadov, "From Khojali to Srebrenica, Prevention of Genocide and Ethnic Cleaning" International Conference and Exhibition (2013), Duet Symposium Azerbaijan-Moldova (2016), H.E. Art project (2017), Astana Art Fest (2017), UN's SDG Goal Promotion Water Park (2021), Water Savers Educated Eco Comics books (2021), ArtFest Nizam (2021), "My Heart is in Garabagh" exhibition and concert project (2022), EU's EuroVillage (2022), FantazEU Cultural &Heritage Festival (2022),Moldova-Azerbaijan International Dialog (2022), World Crafts Council's European Crafts Days by World Crafts Council (2022), "Khojali Scream" book presentation (2023), Art & Wine event within Baku Piano Festival (2023).
Q: Arts Council Azerbaijan also raises awareness about environmental issues. What can you tell about the Kura II project, as well as other projects in this direction?
A: Arts Council Azerbaijan is always ready to support the work aimed at solving urgent problems. First of all, I would like to note my eco-art project H.E.Art (Heath Environment and Art), focusing on greening Baku city. Metal barrels from oil products are waste, their disposal is expensive. We came up with the idea of painting these barrels and planting plants in them. It turned out both artistically attractive and useful from the point of view of ecology - small spaces can be used for landscaping. This project creates an opportunity for their ecological use and development of creativity. Container gardening plays an increasingly important role in the design of public areas with limited space and lack of extra land. The versatility of landscaping from art barrels is determined by several factors: it allows you to use even small spaces for landscaping, the artistically designed barrels will attract tourists and locals alike, it is suitable for the incubation period for trees. The initiative can later be used for landscaping different places in any country. The mobility of barrels allows to quickly move them to new locations. We also stood at the origins of the festival "From Waste to Art". Apart from that, the organization has also produced comics that touch on current topics and their solutions in a humorous way.
In 2021, Water Park was laid at the Gala State Historical and Ethnographic Reserve. The opening of the park was timed to coincide with World Earth Day. With an area of 100-150 square meters, the park was created with the aim of educating the public on efficient use of water resources.
The park houses art objects and metal barrels painted by Azerbaijani artists during a workshop organized by Arts Council Azerbaijan. All art works are devoted to efficient use of water resources. Recall that the metal barrels perform both ecological and design functions at the same time. So, the event participants planted seedlings of the medlar tree in barrels.
Q: What can you say about projects organized within Heydar Aliyev's Heritage Festival?
A: At the beginning of this year, Arts Council Azerbaijan has launched the festival timed to the 100th anniversary of National Leader Heydar Aliyev. Workshops for sculptors and artists on UNESCO heritage, Nazim Mammadov's exhibition as well as Children's exhibition "Our independence is Timeless".
In conclusion, Dadash Mammadov said that Arts Council Azerbaijan will continue to implement numerous projects, aimed at promoting Azerbaijani art and culture.
Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @lmntypewriterrr
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