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Azerbaijani artist joins International Platonov Arts Festival

By Amina Nazarli

Talented Azerbaijani artist Vusal Rahim, took part in this year’s International Platonov Arts Festival, named after one of the most influential Russian writers of the twentieth century, Andrey Platonov.

The 5th International Platonov Festival, which has become the leading cultural project in the region for the last five years, was held in Voronezh, Russia, between June 3 and 14. The Festival provided its audience with the unique opportunity to tap into the outstanding creative achievements in a variety of art forms, and is intended to affirm Voronezh as a leader in Russian culture.

The festival has been held annually and covers genres such as music, theatre, fine arts and literature. For four continuous years the Festival has been attended by prominent musicians, actors, artists and writers of our time. Meanwhile, within the World Music section the famous Azerbaijani musician Alim Gasimov, will perform to Voronezh natives.

The visual programme at the Platonov Festival, consists of masterpieces created by artists from a range of different countries belonging to the CIS. The exhibition space extends beyond the bounds of gallery walls to meet thousands of spectators on the street. Addressing themes of ancient cults, as well as the history and tradition of their nation, the artists rouse interest in the crossroads between different civilizations and the importance of careful and solicitous attitudes to cultural monuments.

In his works, Vusal Rahim deals with themes of ancient cults and Shamanism. For the Platonov Festival his works comprised of an outdoor performance named The Universe, and a sculpture entitled Woman of Fire. The idea behind ​​the performance was to place the artist at the centre of an ever diminishing circle from where he delivered female, male and animal sculptures (figurines) made from red or yellow clay.

As the artist notes: ‘My main inspiration for these figures were ancient religious statues discovered across different eras, not only in various regions of Azerbaijan, but all over the world. The selection of the colour sienna for the circles is linked to its semantics; sienna symbolizes the earth, the soil, where it all began. The artist becomes the Divine Being dressed in white robes, a symbol of purity and power of creation’.

Inspired by ancestral heritage, Rahim incorporates ceremonial female figures into his sculptures. He decorates them with patterns and compositions from the traditional art of carpet weaving. Azerbaijani carpets represent an integral part of the Carpet art of the East, and the artist’s use of these traditional techniques along with imagery of the female form, symbolic of fertility, date far back into Azerbaijan’s history. By unifying these different aspects of Azerbaijani culture, in Woman of Fire, the artist achieves a hyperbolic climax in his work.

Vusal was born in 1987 in Ganja, Azerbaijan. He graduated from the Azerbaijan State Academy of Fine Arts and received his artistic education within the studio of Kamil Najafzadeh, People’s Artist of Azerbaijan.

Vusal has participated in numerous exhibitions and projects in Azerbaijan and abroad. He held a solo show named Black Woman at Baku’s YAY Gallery in 2013, and he exhibited in conjunction with an American artistat DUET Gallery (USA) in 2015.


Amina Nazarli is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @amina_nazarli

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