“Fly to Baku: Contemporary Art from Azerbaijan” exhibition, organized and supported by Heydar Aliyev Foundation and the English edition of “Baku” magazine, opened in London, January 17.
First Lady of Azerbaijan, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva and Vice-President of the Foundation Leyla Aliyeva attended the event.
This is the next event Heydar Aliyev Foundation holds to support Azerbaijan’s international promotion. “Fly to Baku: Contemporary Art from Azerbaijan” exhibition organized and supported by Heydar Aliyev Foundation and the English edition of “Baku” magazine at Phillips de Pury & Company Art Gallery in London once again shows that the promotion of the national culture is a priority to President of the Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva and Vice-President Leyla Aliyeva. The idea of the exhibition belongs to Leyla Aliyeva. The event is coordinated by well-known art consultant Herve Mikaeloff.
Head of Phillips de Pury & Company Simon de Pury said last summer his wife visited Baku for the first time. During her visit, she was struck by the brightness and life passion, quality and originality of works by Azerbaijani artists. This promoted the decision to hold the exhibition.
Attended by representatives of the London elite and lots of modern artists, the exhibition demonstrates a huge interest of the British capital in the Azerbaijani art.
Speaking in the opening ceremony, Head of Phillips de Pury & Company Simon de Pury pointed out importance of the realization of this grand event in London and at his gallery.
He thanked Heydar Aliyev Foundation for its support to the organization of the exhibition and hailed Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO and ISESCO, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva`s and Vice-President of the Foundation Leyla Aliyeva`s activities towards popularizing Azerbaijani art and culture.
Mrs Leyla Aliyeva, Vice-President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, delivered a speech.
Speech of Leyla Aliyeva
Ladies and gentlemen!
Thank you for attending the exhibition "Fly to Baku" tonight. As you can see, we are surrounded by really admirable and inspiring works of art. Dynamism and creativity demonstrated here reflect much of what is happening in my country - Azerbaijan. My country is experiencing an unprecedented period of development, and this is more evident in the field of contemporary art.
Independent Azerbaijan is a relatively young country. Last year we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the restoration of our independence. Despite the fact that our country is so young, we have an ancient history. Azerbaijan is the first country in the Muslim East, where women gained the right to vote in 1918, where the first school for Muslim girls was built in 1901. Azerbaijan is also the first country in the East to stage opera and ballet.
Thus, we have a country of many undertakings, and we are committed to this philosophy today. Last year we became first in Eurovision Song Contest. We are looking forward to hosting Europe in Baku, where the contest is due this year.
However, contemporary Baku promotes popular culture not only through music. By walking around Baku, you can see the signs of rapid development everywhere around you- from a masterpiece by Zaha Hadid to prospectuses, to new shops, restaurants and hotels, the boulevard on the shore of the Caspian Sea! It is a city that is changing before your eyes. Architecture of Baku combines antiquity, as reflected in the Maiden's Tower of the 9th century, and novelty, and also embodies the East and the West, temples of Zoroastrianism, and modern buildings, the French urban planning culture since the oil boom of the early 20th century.
As you know, art is the sphere which I favor. For all my life I have been enjoying modern art, both while being at the Tate Museum in London and analyzing the works demonstrated at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Baku. I also love painting and I bow before the artists who put their heart and soul into their works.
Therefore, I am so anxious that I also contributed to the demonstration of these wonderful works for the international audience by the end of January in London and then throughout Europe. Most of the works which you see here are the works of the young but famous artists, a greater part of them was created for this very exhibition which is why they are demonstrated for the first time.
I have a great feeling of pride that hundreds of the works by 21 artists from all parts of Azerbaijan are demonstrated here. I suppose that you will agree that Baku has a bright world of contemporary art.
I am very happy to have organized this event under such wonderful conditions. Michaela and Simon provided a great support to the implementation of this project. Their gallery here in Howick Place is a phenomenal area. When half a year ago I visited the exhibition organized here, I decided for myself that this will become the venue for the current exhibition. I think that the space and art are undoubtedly supplementary to each other.
Herve Mikaeloff, Emin Mammadov and their teams gathered these different artists to arrange an inspiring exhibition which combines all forms of contemporary art from paintings to installations, videos, photos and performances.
Dear guests, I am grateful to you for participation in the exhibition ‘Fly to Baku’ tonight. This event is of great importance for me. I am happy that today this exhibition opens in such a wonderful city as London. I would like to express my special thanks to all of our organizers who spent their time and efforts and of course to the talented Azerbaijani artists. I hope that you will have a nice evening. Thank you so much.
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Curator of the exhibition Herve Mikaeloff noted the exposition in the exhibition is rich and works displayed here are original. He said that Azerbaijani art has deep historical roots and such events help popularize the country.
First Lady of Azerbaijan, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva, Vice-President of the Foundation Leyla Aliyeva and guests saw the exhibition.
Visitors saw a performance created by young artist Ali Hasanov about the difficulties human being faces from the birth till the death.
The exhibition also features a number of works such as “Pomegranate”, “Pomegranate Tree”, “Life Goes On” by Heydar Aliyev Foundation VP Leyla Aliyeva, which raised great interest among the participants. Her illustrations of fairy tales will be published in Russian and English in a fairy tale book “Once Upon a Time”.
Original in idea and style the works by young artist Aida Mahmudova also attracted attention of the visitors.
The exhibition features works of painting, graphics, sculpture, photography and video by 21 authors, including Altay Sadygzadeh, Enver Esgerov, Mirnadir Zeynalov. Dominated by vanguard style, these original works indicate to the specificity of modern art of Azerbaijan. Reflecting the untraditional technologies of expression, the exhibition beings together artists having represented Azerbaijan in Venice Biennale, young painters living in foreign countries, art people whose works have been exhibited in influential international events. Works in the exhibition prove once again that the opportunities of art are unlimited and infinite. Azerbaijan has raised a lot of young talents in the past years and it is sourced from the governmental care to the youth, as well many successful projects Heydar Aliyev Foundation implements to discover gifted youth. Azerbaijan has made irreplaceable contributions to the universal art. Arranging such events for the promotion of Azerbaijan plays an exceptional role also in the promotion of young artists of the country. Works by Azerbaijani authors in this exhibition leave wonderful emotions in the majority of the visitors.
The guests were presented the next issue of the English edition of “Baku” magazine.
Huge interest from the very first day in the works displayed here says the exhibition, which will last from 17 to 29 January, will be a success and arise interest of the London public.
The exhibition demonstrated a huge care and attention in Azerbaijan towards culture, art and artisans, the favorable conditions for the development of culture, the actions taken to provide free creativity opportunities to representatives of culture and art. And along with the government, Heydar Aliyev Foundation plays an exceptional role here.
Visitors much appreciated the exposition.
Simon de Pury, Head of Phillips de Pury & Company: “We are very pleased for organizing this exhibition in London. This exhibition clearly demonstrates the different aspects of works done in Baku and Azerbaijan. Very interesting works of art, videoart, statues are presented here and they reflect a living color existing in Azerbaijan. Of course, the role of Heydar Aliyev Foundation is huge in the organization of this exhibition. Leyla Aliyeva was a moving force in this project from the very beginning.”
Lord Fraser, Chairman of England-Azerbaijan Society: “Friendly relations between the UK and Azerbaijan are on the high level, however they can further be strengthened. I aim to strengthen these relations in cultural, political and other spheres. What amazes and interests me most is that huge works have been done in Azerbaijan in the past time.”
Andrei Arshavin, famous footballer: “Events arranged by Heydar Aliyev Foundation are always very interesting. I loved the works of modern art of Azerbaijan brought to this exhibition. I visited your country last summer and I was moved so much by that trip.”
Herve Mikaeloff, curator of “Fly to Baku: Contemporary Art from Azerbaijan” exhibition: “This exhibition is an amazing event, since it gives a full idea of modern art in Azerbaijan, shows diversity of art in your country. And people took great interest in this exhibition. I think, Heydar Aliyev Foundation has done a lot in this.”
Mammad Mustafayev, artist from Azerbaijan: “Holding this event in London opens new doors to the fine art of Azerbaijan across the world. Azerbaijani fine art is promoted all over the world. Heydar Aliyev Foundation plays huge role in this field too.”
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Thus, the exhibition in the capital of England was the next opportunity to demonstrate the unique culture of Azerbaijan. The relevant exhibitions will be held in Berlin, Paris, Rome, New-York, Moscow, Baku and other cities.