By Nigar Orujova
Azerbaijan’s contemporary artists Faig Ahmed and Aida Mahmudova are displaying their talent at the exhibition Exploring Inward underway at Louise Blouin Foundation in London from January 28.
Neither Europe nor Asia, Azerbaijan is a country of diversity, rich culture and contrasts. The historic mix of ancient empires and the emerging contemporary nation are producing a fascinating cultural scene.
Baku, the cosmopolitan capital's contemporary art scene is booming with numerous galleries opening across the city, Museum of Modern Art, the Yay Gallery and the Yarat contemporary Art Space.
The exhibition was organized by Buta Arts Center as part of the 2nd Buta Festival of Azerbaijani Arts.
The opening night was attended by Leyla Aliyeva, Vice-President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and Arzu Aliyeva.
Farah Piriyeva, curator of the event, highlighted the activities of talented artists whose works attracted great attentions in the world.
The works of young Azerbaijani artists Aida Mahmudova and Faig Ahmed radiate the same spirit and the same mood of exploration. Mahmudova is showing a monumental landscape with a 17-metre-long canvas and Ahmed’s installations deal with traditional Azerbaijani carpets.
Piriyeva said that both artists explore from within, both share the explorer’s curiosity with a constant journey to discover what is inside.
Nasib Piriyev, Director General of Buta Arts Center briefed the participants on the events to be held as part of the 2nd Buta Festival of Azerbaijani Arts.
The festival, which runs until February 6, will present the Azerbaijani art, reflecting the unity of the ancient historical roots and modernity.
BUTA Arts Festival is displaying everything from the ancient skills of Azerbaijani carpet making to the creative works of the country's contemporary photographers, the unmistakable sounds of its jazz musicians, rarely heard orchestral works and the excitement of live performances in the medium of modern immersive theatre from October 2014 to November 2015.
In addition to the exciting musical schedule, the festival also involves cutting edge contemporary art exhibitions at the Saatchi Gallery and Louise Blouin Foundation and artists from the Yarat Contemporary Art Space will display their work in public locations across London.
The Buta Festival 2015 will provide a window to the Azerbaijani Arts in London offering unique insights into a country that is arousing our curiosity.
Faig Ahmed, who was shortlisted for the Jameel Prize in 2013, a biannual award supported by London's V&A Museum, exhibits his experimental work with Azerbaijani carpets. For the Baku-based contemporary artist, tradition is merely a starting point, his works subvert the genre. It's impossible to stroll through the lanes of lcheri Sheher, Baku's medieval quarter, without encountering people selling traditional carpets.
Their intricately woven patterns have been at the root of Azerbaijan's visual arts for centuries, with each region creating its own distinctive styles.
Faig Ahmed was one of 10 artists from the Islamic world nominated for the Jameel Prize and his works were included in an international touring exhibition. He was also among 12 artists chosen to represent Azerbaijan when the country made its first appearance at the Venice Biennial in 2007.
A graduate of Central St. Martin's College in London, Aida Mahmudova, is one of the driving forces behind Baku's burgeoning contemporary art scene. She runs the contemporary art space Yarat, a non-profit contemporary art collective in her hometown, staging intriguing exhibitions since 2011 and is increasingly active in bringing the best of Azerbaijan's young artists to an international audience.
Mahmudova's own art is also worthy of attention. Like many people, she has been struck by Baku's position at the crossroads of East and West, while much of her work has drawn her to explore the contrasts between the city's fast-modernizing landscape and its semi-derelict hinterland. That world, half-forgotten and caught between eras, evokes the sense of longing that informs much of her work.
Mahmudova's artwork has been shown in important exhibitions in Europe, including the MAXXI Museum in Rome, in the Multimedia Art Museum in Moscow and at Philips de Pury & Company in London.
Nigar Orujova is AzerNews’s staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @o_nigar
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