Leyla Aliyeva attends inauguration of two exhibitions in the Azerbaijani pavilion within the framework of the 56th Venice Biennale

Inauguration of two exhibitions took place, May 6, with the support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and IDEA (International Dialogue for Environmental Action) Public Association, within the framework of the 56th Venice Biennale – an International Art Exhibition.

Vice-president of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Leyla Aliyeva attended the ceremony.

The Venice Biennale is considered the most influential and respected exhibition-action in the world’s contemporary art. Dozens of countries have built their pavilions in the exhibition, which will continue until November the 22nd. The Azerbaijani pavilion is located in the Lezze Palace related to the 14th century in Campo Santo Stefano - one of the busy places of the city. The exhibition arranged in the Azerbaijani pavilion is called “Beyond the Line”. Visitors coming here were presented dances accompanied by Azerbaijan’s national music. 

Addressing the inauguration of the exhibition, Leyla Aliyeva expressed her pleasure of participating in the 56th Venice Biennale. Leyla Aliyeva talked about the significance of the exhibition “Beyond the Line”, where  works by Azerbaijani artists are displayed: “The spirit of the artists that had remained in the shadow of the Soviet regime in mid-20th century are reflected in the works displayed in the pavilion. The pavilion brings us to a significant moment of Azerbaijan’s history, and as if it responds to the artists that had been silenced at that time, or ignored. In 1918, we first gained our independence and, in that period, women were granted a right to vote and  elected to parliament. First opera and ballet in the Muslim Orient were staged in Azerbaijan. Thereafter, a Soviet period, which added a new stratum to our complex and fascinating cultural system, started. Today, we can see here, for the first time,  some brilliant works of art made in that period. I indeed believe in creation of a kind of art that is not associated with time,  which does not keep up with today’s trends, and is rather associated with creation of works of art with sincerity and profound thinking. Although Azerbaijani artists, even those surrounding them, tried to stop them, they have continued their way for long years. I hope you will hear voices of these artists while walking around the exhibition hall and will agree that their art has stood the test of the time.”

Saying that the idea of the exhibition “Vita Vitale” organized in Venice was closely associated with protection of the environment, Leyla Aliyeva talked about the significance of conveying environmental challenges through the language of art, and said she was delighted with organization of this exhibition by IDEA laboratory. Talking about IDEA’s activity and projects it has implemented, Leyla Aliyeva underscored the actions taken towards keeping the environmental balance in Azerbaijan.

Curator of the exhibition Simon de Pury said he had the honour to work with the Heydar Aliyev Foundation on this new project. He said works by Azerbaijani artists participating in the exhibition “Flight to Baku” organized at the Foundation’s initiative in various countries recent years are now well-known in the world: “The exhibition “Beyond the Line” greatly contributes to rediscovering the artists that had lived and created in the 60s, 70s and 80s of the last century and been forgotten”. 

Participating in the Venice Biennale – an International Art Exhibition – for the fifth time, Azerbaijan is represented in the pavilion with works by seven artists - Ashraf Murad, Javad Mirjavadov, Tofik Javadov, Rasim Babayev, Fazil Najafov, Hussein Hagverdy, and Shamil Najafzadeh. Open to wide audience through the Venice Biennale, these works reflects the spirit and love for freedom of the artists that had remained in the shadow of the 20th century repressive Soviet regime, as well as of their works. 

The Heydar Aliyev Foundation has been implementing projects to support development of contemporary art and young artists since 2004. One of them is Azerbaijan’s participation in the Venice Biennale.

Then inauguration of the international exhibition “Vita Vitale” within the framework of the “Venice Biennale” took place.   

Jointly organized by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and IDEA, this exhibition brings together artists from around the world, reflecting concern for the destiny of the planet. The exposition includes works by artists from Azerbaijan, USA, Austria, Great Britain, Canada, France, Italy, Netherlands, Pakistan, Switzerland and Uzbekistan. Works by Edward Burtynsky, Mircea Cantor, Loris Cecchini, Tony Cragg, Laura Ford, Leyla Aliyeva, Aida Mahmoudova, Andy Warhol other famous artists are exhibited at “Vita Vitale”. This exhibition describes views of artists campaigning against environmental challenges.  Here are demonstrated the views of artists on social and environmental issues that define the past, the present and the future of not only Azerbaijan, but also the whole planet.

In the Azerbaijani pavilion called “Ornaments” at the 55th Venice Biennale last year, six artists had represented our country. 89 countries with their pavilions and 44 exhibitions joined this year’s event.