After spending my winter holidays in Azerbaijan, where the line between me and the culture of my homeland gets ever thinner and even disappears, since the spirit of Azerbaijani talents usually consumes me while I’m there and I believe anybody who appears to be even a tiny bit emotionally off the scale (and here, do not get me wrong, I apply to those who let’s say feel art in the air, as this city radiates an unfathomable energy that affects almost everybody), I fell in love with Azerbaijani painting again.
An image of a big talent, with no support and harsh living conditions, is familiar to everybody; this so-called sad truth of life happens quite often, regardless of time and place. However, at some point, there in Baku, while looking at the walls of a very lovely private collection, I realized that as a matter of fact I’m facing an absolutely extraordinary generation, who managed to create their art in an artistic jail built by the primitive standards of the Soviet Union.
Artists are those free people, who were born free under the law of nature, those who would die without expressing their inner world, who would fail without audience and be forgotten without exhibitions. In the USSR they were deprived of their artistic and psychological freedom, refused by soviet societies, not allowed to leave the country. Although, artists such as Ashraf Murad, Javad Mir Javadov, Kamal Ahmed and Genadiy Brijatyuk (names I would definitely suggest you remember) were isolated from the world, and in fact, you can immediately notice this feeling of loneliness and abandonment in their painting, they refused to paint Socialist Realism, a style which was dictated by the communists; these artists desired to create something new, wild, and free, using national Azeri and ethnic motifs. It is something of a miracle that they managed to produce artworks filled with a spirit of freedom, suggest new ideas and express their thoughts, while living in a very difficult period of artistic embargo. They were not allowed to speak, but they spoke through art, their voices were placed on the surfaces of their canvases, the voices of a silent generation.
Ashraf Murad. Sorrow, 1978.
Ashraf Murad. Girl with the Black Glasses, 1975.
Mir Javad Mir Javadov. Absheron Scenes, 1974.
P.S. More paintings of Azeri artists will be selected and added to my very next post. Enjoy...