TODAY.AZ / Arts & Entertainment

Soltan Soltanli's exhibition opens in Baku

18 February 2019 [16:02] - TODAY.AZ

By Azernews

By Laman Ismayilova

What is the purpose of art? How can we address philosophy in painting? As a self-taught artist and trained philosopher, Soltan Soltanli seeks to use art for the humanity by exploring the existential questions of human life and social behavior through his work.

An exhibition of an Azerbaijani cartoonist and graphic artist Soltan Soltanli solemnly opened at YAY Gallery on February 15.

Soltan Soltanli is a self-taught artist. His father was against his son's wish. That is why Soltan drew his paintings secretly.

During his childhood in a village in Azerbaijan’s Agsu region, he developed a personal philosophy about the role of humanity in the world around it. 

Defining his style as "surrealism", he seeks to express universal truths through evocative iconography, landscapes and portraits evoking memories. In his works, messages of universal experience, empathy and optimism are read.

Soltan Soltanli enthusiastically studies classical Azerbaijani literature, poetry and philosophy, including the works of Nizami and Nasimi.

Soltanli’s artwork is a contemporary representation of the ideas they put forth about beauty and truth.

In his practice, he explores both aesthetic realism and primitivism to capture the essential nature of his subjects. Using vibrant colors and imaginative perspective, he paints people, animals and landscapes that symbolize pure emotion and a higher purpose.

He references themes such as love, labor, death and human relationships, titling the artworks to give insight into his intention, revealing his own nuanced understanding of life. While his work may seem to have a surreal quality, he rejects this label – he paints to reveal relationships between things by using illusion, but he does not seek to deceive. His messages are straightforward –the artist illuminates universal human truths to serve and inspire humanity itself. 

On the first floor of the gallery, paintings of fantasy landscapes and rural life explore the natural world as a source of beauty and wonder but purpose and labor.

In Soltanli’s depictions of animals among a forest of trees and ponds, the works suggest a paradise of natural harmony. In his paintings of shepherds, gardeners and peasants, nature is perceived as a generous source of abundant means of subsistence.

Soltanli is also a celebrated graphic artist and has won a number of international awards for his work.

A collection of graphic works and watercolors, including studies for larger paintings and portraits in his signature style blending caricature and realism are also presented.

On the second floor there is a collection of portraits expressing humanity’s connection to nature and to itself, representing the complexity of the myriad relationships between people and the world around them.

There is also a series of works showing the nuance and intimacy of family life.

With a sense of humor and irony, Soltanli invites viewers to see the inner beauty of living for themselves.

The event curator is Lesley Gray.

The exhibition will last until April 1.


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