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Azerbaijan stages first art festival

New public art works will be installed in, and inspired by, the ancient city Baku

As Azerbaijan races to build the world’s tallest building on the Kazar Islands, the country’s art scene is also experiencing a rapid transformation. On 24 February, Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital city, will serve as the backdrop for the 012 Baku Public Art Festival—the first such event to take place in the city.

Twenty local artists, working alongside historians and archaeologists, are choosing locations throughout the ancient city as the basis for a newly commissioned public work. The projects are due to be unveiled every Friday until September. “Particularly at this time of development and transformation in Azerbaijan, it is important to embrace Baku’s heritage. The city’s history is being used to make contemporary culture,” says Aida Mahmudova, the founder and director of Yarat, a non-profit art foundation that organised the public festival. “People won’t have to go to galleries to see the work, which will raise awareness of the artists.” These include Rashad Alakbarov, Faig Ahmed and Farid Rasulov, who was also included in the recent “Fly to Baku” exhibition held at Phillips de Pury, London, in January. 

Bringing Azeri artists to a wider audience is one of the aims of the Yarat foundation, which was established in September last year and is based in Baku. Yarat, which is the Azeri word for “create”, currently works with eight artists, many of whom were involved in the foundation’s conception. “Azerbaijan has a very rich culture,” says Mahumdova, “it is on the Caspian Sea and borders Iran, Russia and Turkey; influences that all come together to create vibrant contemporary art.” 

The foundation’s next project will be a collaboration with the Baku Museum of Modern Art, which was designed by Jean Nouvel.

Source: The ArtNewsPaper
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