By Nigar Orujova
Azerbaijan opened its pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale - International Art Exhibition with two exhibitions on May 6.
Vice-President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Leyla Aliyeva attended the opening ceremony of the exhibitions held with the support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and IDEA (International dialogue in the name of environmental protection).
Venice Biennale is an event eagerly awaited by all workers and art lovers. It is considered the most prestigious and representative exhibition and action in the modern art world.
The event, which runs until November 22, presents pavilions of dozens of countries.
Azerbaijan is taking part in the Biennale for the fifth time. The national pavilion is located in one of the most crowded places in the city - the Palace Lezze XIV century in Piazza Santo Stefano. The exhibition, organized by the Azerbaijan pavilion is called "Breaking Borders."
The visitors were presented national dances accompanied by Azerbaijani national music.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Leyla Aliyeva greeted all guests and expressed satisfaction with Azerbaijan’s participation in the 56th Venice Biennale.
She touched on the significance of the exhibition "Breaking Borders", which presents works by Azerbaijani artists.
"The works exhibited in the pavilion reflect the spirit of the artists who have remained in the shadow of the Soviet regime. The pavilion brings us to an important moment in the history of Azerbaijan, and we seem to hear the artists' voices, which at the time were either silenced or not recognized,” she said.
Aliyeva went on to add, that in 1918, when Azerbaijan first got its independence and when women were granted the right to vote, women have been active in the country's institutions on all levels. The first Muslim East Opera and Ballet was created then in Azerbaijan. After that, the Soviet period added a new layer to the diverse and exciting culture of the country.
“Today, we can for the first time see some of the great works created during this period. I really believe that art is timeless, and not in step with current trends, it is connected with works created with sincerity and deep thoughts. Azerbaijani artists, even though, others have tried to stop them, for many years, created such a product. Hopefully, getting acquainted with the exhibition, you will hear the voices of these artists, and agree that their art passed the test of time," Aliyeva said.
Noting that the idea of the exhibition “Vita Vitale” in Venice is closely linked to the nature of this conservation, the vice-president mentioned the importance of showing the environmental problems we faced, that is to say, the language of art.
She expressed satisfaction that the exhibition was organized by the IDEA Laboratory. Informing about the activities led by the IDEA and its ongoing projects, Aliyeva also spoke about the measures taken to preserve Azerbaijan’s ecological balance.
Exhibition curator, Simon de Pury said that for him it was an honor to work together with the Heydar Aliyev Foundation on this new project.
He noted that the works of Azerbaijani artists, who in previous years took part in the exhibitions of "Fly to Baku", held in different countries on the initiative of Heydar Aliyev Foundation, are known throughout the world.
The curator said that the show "Breaking the Borders" allows to rediscover works by artists who lived and worked in Azerbaijan in the 60s, 70s and 80s , but who were forgotten.
Azerbaijani artists "Breaking Borders"
The exhibition "Breaking Borders" presents works by seven artists - Ashraf Murad, Javad Mirjavadov, Tofig Javadov, Rasim Babayev, Fazil Najafov, Huseyn Hagverdiev and Shamil Najafzade.
Presented to a wide audience through the Venice Biennale, these works reflect the spirit of the freedom-loving artists who remained in the shadow of the repressive Soviet regime - twentieth century - and their works.
While exhibitions of artists who opposed the communist ideology and expressed ‘rebellious’ position were not organized, they could not leave the country. The exhibition "Breaking Borders" demonstrates the invincible spirit of those artists who remained in the shadows.
The Venice Biennale creates a great opportunity to discover the works of contemporary art, demonstrate their creativity, meet with artists and discuss modern trends.
The Heydar Aliyev Foundation implements projects that support contemporary art and the work of young artists since 2004. One of them is a project of participation of Azerbaijan in the Venice Biennale.
Art describes fate of Earth
Following, the opening of the exhibition “Vita Vitale” was held. The exhibition, jointly presented by the Foundation and IDEA, gathered the works of artists from different countries, which expressed concern for the fate of the planet.
“Vita Vitale” includes works by artists from Azerbaijan, USA, Austria, Great Britain, Canada, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Switzerland and Uzbekistan. Thus, the exhibition presents works by Edward Burtynsky, Mircea Cantor, Loris Cecchini, Tony Cragg, Laura Ford, Leyla Aliyeva, Aida Mahmudova, Andy Warhol and other famous artists.
The exhibition expresses the views of artists struggling with environmental problems. It highlights artists' refelctions associated with social and environmental issues that define the past, present and future of not only Azerbaijan but also the entire planet.
Laboratory IDEA, which fully meets the ideas of the exhibition “Vita Vitale”, is a space for ambitious and long-term projects aimed at building our future relations with nature. Encouraging ongoing research, this space contributes to a number of important initiatives.
Last time, at the 55th Venice Biennale, Azerbaijan was represented by the works of six artists in the Azerbaijan pavilion "Ornaments". This event was attended by 89 countries with 44 national pavilions and exhibitions.
Nigar Orujova is AzerNews’s staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @o_nigar
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