President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin presents the “Pushkin” Medal to Leyla Aliyeva
Whenever I'm in Vienna, London, Paris, or any of the world's most wonderful cultural capitals that I visit, I see BAKU magazine. It's confirmation of the kind of cultural diplomacy which Azerbaijan maintains.
I was talking about exactly that to Olga Sbilova – the documentary film-maker, and Director of the Multimedia Art Museum in Moscow – when I met her there at the opening of the new “Azerbaijan – Traditional & Contemporary” exhibition.
The exhibition features work by photographer Andrei Bronnikov, a long-time friend of BAKU Magazine. Bronnikov has long been an admirer of the beauties of Azerbaijan, and they're the subject of his exhibition at Multimedia Art Museum in Moscow – which opened on 27th October, with the support of BAKU Magazine.
Mr Polad Bülbülolgu, the Azeri Ambassador to the Russian Federation, gave an opening address at the exhibition – in which he thanked the Honorable Mehriban Aliyeva, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, for the financial support the Foundation has made in promoting Azerbaijan's art and culture. Mr Bülbülolgu noted that BAKU Magazine – whose Chief Editor is Mrs Leyla Aliyeva, the Vice-President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation – enjoys great popularity. “I would especially like to thank this young Russian photo artist, and wish him the best of success. Although born in the north, he has found inspiration in the southern beauty of Azerbaijan for this wonderful photo exhibition, in which he has succeeded in depicting the real soul of Azerbaijan”, the Ambassador said.
“I hope that when you look around this exhibition, you'll find my excitement and love for Azerbaijan in the pictures” said photographer Andrei Bronnikov. “I've worked for many publications. I've been working with BAKU Magazine for many years now, and the big difference when I work with them is the huge freedom of format which they allow me – which I don't get with other magazines. Over the last seven years I've travelled widely throughout Azerbaijan, and visited a great many places of interest there – including Lagich, Sheki, Lyankyaran, Shahdag, Ateshyakh, Gobustan, and other amazing destinations in these ancient lands”.
The places in Bronnikov's photographs include images of Baku, Gobustan, Sheki, Lagish, and Nakhchivan. In them we see both the landscapes and the people who live there – human toil and natural wonder, ancient traditions and modern innovation. In them, Bronnikov brings to subscribers of BAKU Magazine his own personal vision of Azerbaijan. It's an ability to see beauty in everyday life, and reveal that beauty in his work that stamps these photographs as real masterpieces. The ability to share that view with others is Andrei Bronnikov's artistic gift.
The opening ceremony for “Azerbaijan – Traditional & Contemporary” - an exhibition which runs through until 3rd November – was attended by many well known society personalities and politicians in Russia, along with well-known figures in the Arts world, members of the Azeri diplomatic corps in Russia, representatives of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation in Russia, and the Russia-Wide Azerbaijan Congress.
Andrei Bronnikov has been working as a photographer since 1995, and has taken pictures for numerous film projects on Russia's Channel-1 television. His pictures have been seen in exhibitions such as “The Golden Ring of Russia – Monuments of Ancient Rus” (2012); “Russian Album” (2013); and “Showcase of Author Photographs 2014” (2014). In addition to his work as a photograph, Andrei is also a geologist and traveller – he organised a number of different expeditions after graduating as a geologist from Moscow State University. A veteran of thousands of photo-shoots, his work can be found in museums and galleries in Russia, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Namibia, and Australia.