TODAY.AZ / Arts & Entertainment

Azerbaijan's rich heritage showcased at Biennale of Islamic Art [VIDEO]

23 May 2023 [13:18] - TODAY.AZ
By Azernews

Laman Ismayilova

Azerbaijani pavilion has been set up at Biennale of Islamic Art held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The Biennale of Islamic Art is an international art exhibition which showcases a mix of ancient artefacts and contemporary art pieces, Azernews reports.

The large-scale event demonstrated 280 historical artifacts from different parts of the Islamic world. These artifacts included ancient Qur'anic folios. the 150-year-old Kiswa, which is the embroidered silken cover of the Kaaba, the first holy site in Islam.

The biennale visitors also enjoy contemporary installations and artwork commissioned by the Diriyah Biennale Foundation. The Biennale of Islamic Art took place at the SOM-designed Western Hajj Terminal.

The Azerbaijani pavilion demonstrated a collection of Islamic art provided by the National Art Museum with the support of the Culture Ministry. The curator of the contemporary art project was Konul Rafiyeva.

The pavilion displayed valuable exhibits from the museum's collection, as well as the multimedia installation "Varga and Gulsha: The Return", inspired by Ayuka's poem "Varga and Gulsha", the only complete manuscript of the 13th century, and illustrations by the artist Abdul-Momina Muhammad Al-Hoy.

A multimedia project called "Voices of Azerbaijan" was also presented as part of the Biennale of Islamic Art to promote Azerbaijan's rich cultural heritage.

Famous tar player and music producer Ibrahim Babayev and digital artist Teymur Amirkhan delighted the audience with "Echo of the Past" for the first time, while the sound artist Farhad Farzaliyev presented the audiovisual installation "Timeless Soundscapes".

The event was attended by Azerbaijani Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Shahin Abdullayev and Azerbaijan's Commissioner for Human Rights Sabina Aliyeva as official guests.

The audiovisual installation "Echoes of the Past", presented as part of a multimedia project, is a hypnotic journey through time and culture, introducing the ancient petroglyphs of Azerbaijan and the rich history and art of Islamic culture.

The installation draws inspiration from the unique artistic expression of both cultures and the deep connection between them.

The sound and visual elements are designed to take the viewer to another world, where they can experience the beauty and complexity of Islamic art and the mysterious charm of petroglyphs. The installation is divided into several sections, each representing a different aspect of Islamic art and petroglyphs.

The first section introduces the viewer to the world of Islamic art, showing its beauty, complexity and diversity. The second section takes the viewer back in time to explore Azerbaijan's ancient petroglyphs, revealing their secrets and mysteries. The third section bridges the two worlds, highlighting the links between Islamic art and petroglyphs and how they influenced each other.

The soundscape reflects the rhythms and melodies of Islamic music, creating a sense of movement and flow that reflects the complex designs of Islamic art. The visuals draw their aesthetic from symbol-rich petroglyphs, combining it with the symmetry and complexity of Islamic art to create a stunning visual harmony.

"Echoes of the Past" is a unique and unforgettable experience that showcases the beauty and complexity of Islamic art and the ancient petroglyphs of Azerbaijan.

"Timeless Soundscapes" is a live performance that weaves the musical heritage of Azerbaijani, Kazakh and Uzbek traditions with the cutting edge art of artificial intelligence. This innovative project uses Ableton Live and advanced algorithms to create an immersive audio experience that harmonizes technology and art. This evolving combination embodies the rich heritage of the musical traditions of these post-Soviet Islamic countries.

Focusing on the sonic experience, the minimalist approach encourages viewers to immerse themselves in the AI-created soundscape, highlighting the transformative power of sound and the ability of the AI algorithm to capture the essence of musical heritage.

The project draws attention to the close connection between technology and art, demonstrating how an artificial intelligence algorithm breathes new life into traditional art forms and offers a new look at the cultural treasures of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

The performance reaches its apogee in a grand finale where the essence of musical tradition is revealed, creating a unified experience that resonates deeply with the audience.

The biennale visitors also enjoyed Azerbaijani traditional dishes, which reflect the country's history and its connection with Islamic culture.

Note that the OMA-designed scenography divided the exhibition space into two complementary parts.

A choreographed trajectory through a sequence of newly built galleries allowed visitors a progressive sense of orientation as they moved from one room to another. Inspired by the concept of the Qiblah – the direction Muslims face when they pray – the exhibits manifested gradually in a journey from darkness to light, starting in a dimly lit room filled with 17th-century astrolabes – used to calculate the Qiblah – and concluding in the bright space hosting an installation which incorporates the First Saudi Door of the Ka'bah in Makkah, installed during the reign of King Abdul Aziz.

Under the terminal's canopy, a desert-like landscape alluded to the journey of Hijrah – Prophet Mohamed's journey from Makkah to Madinah. Slopes and slanted walls of various heights, arranged in relation to the geometry of the existing structure, were built to display the artworks, creating a sense of exploration throughout the visit. Two freestanding pavilions acted as reference points in the open landscape, exhibiting artefacts from Makkah and Madinah. In contrast to the rough atmosphere outside, the exhibits in the two pavilions were embedded in a bright, diaphanous screen wrapping the perimeter of the walls.

Independent from the theme of the Biennale, a separate gallery named AlMadar, or The Orbit, demonstrated the items from twelve local and international institutions including Kuwait's Al Sabah Collection of Islamic art, together with an exhibition that pays homage to the Hajj Terminal – both celebrating their 40th anniversary.


Print version

Views: 970

Connect with us. Get latest news and updates.

Recommend news to friend

  • Your name:
  • Your e-mail:
  • Friend's name:
  • Friend's e-mail: