By Nigar Orujova
Young Azerbaijani artists are going to present their work at an exhibition in Amsterdam on May 21.
The exhibition entitled "Constructing Peripheries" is held as part of the GRID International Photography Festival 2014 and will run until June 12.
GRID is a biennial international photography festival for contemporary visual culture, offering a wide range of exhibitions by renowned international artists and emerging talents from all over the world.
Besides exhibitions, there is also an additional OFF GRID festival program by galleries and the creative industry. Relevant educational art projects, lectures, workshops, and competitions will also be held.
The theme of this year's festival is constructions. The artists explore the meaning of constructed environments in everyday life and their impact on the self-identification of their inhabitants at the exhibition.
The sixth edition of GRID will feature many international artists from all over the world. Azerbaijan will be represented by three young artists - Zamir Suleymanov, Emin Azizbeyli, and Nazrin Mammadova - who work across different media.
In a short film called Astar (2012), Suleymanov and Azizbeyli present the story of a young boy living on the outskirts of Baku. Presented as an open-ended narrative, the film explores the quotidian movements and interactions of its protagonist, both in public and private.
Blurring reality with fantasy, the film constructs an image of its main character Arzuman by navigating not only the constructed environment of his dwellings, but also the constructed environment of his dreams.
Suggested by his own name, Arzuman, an anagram of "man" and an Azerbaijani word for "dream", the film presents life on the peripheries of the capital, business, love, and reality itself.
In her new series of works, Mammadova traveled Azerbaijani regions and photographed roof patterns of private constructions populating the local landscape. Digitally manipulated and multiplied in her works, such as the Shirvan Series (2014), these patterns are taken out of their immediate context and presented as signifiers in their own right.
Easily available as means of not only protection, but also decoration, these steel roofs act as symbols of contemporary local architecture and the disconcerting uniformity of the seemingly individualized housings to which they belong.
Mammadova's work thus acts as a digital portrait of peripheral locales and their particular vernacular, combining old craftsman tradition with cheap materials and homogeneity engendered by a construction boom.
The exhibition is curated by Suad Garayeva and commissioned by YARAT, a non-commercial organization dedicated to nurturing an understanding of contemporary art in Azerbaijan and creating a platform for Azerbaijani art, both nationally and internationally.
Based in Baku, YARAT realizes its mission through an on-going program of exhibitions, education events, and festivals. YARAT facilitates dialogue and exchange between local and international artistic networks, including foundations, galleries, and museums.
The project is supported by Bank Technique within the framework of the "Artım" program.