Summer 1999 (7.2)
They say artists often anticipate revolutionary movements in society. This certainly was the case with Farhad Khalilov who was elected Head of the Artists' Union in 1987. It was the first time the position had ever been elected, and the first time a non-Party member, much less one deeply opposed to the Soviet system, had ever filled it. Khalilov stills heads the Union today after the USSR has disintegrated. He was extremely helpful in facilitating our work on this issue.
So little anecdotal material has been published about the lives of artists in Azerbaijan but Ziyadkhan Aliyev, art historian and critic, makes their stories come alive through research and because he personally knew many of them. Ziyadkhan heads one of the consultative departments at Baku's National Museum of Art. He wrote the articles on some of the giants who are no longer with us-Sattar Bahlulzade, Azim Azimzade and Bahruz Kangarli.
Sevda Aliyeva is a philologist educated at Baku State University. These days she lives with her family outside of Washington, D.C. Sensitive to what it means to be living outside her homeland, Sevda interviewed Akbar Behkalam, an Azerbaijani from Tabriz, Iran who has been living in Berlin for the past 25 years. She prepared the material about this immensely talented artist in an article entitled "Uprooted" in Azeri (Arabic script on page 93).
"Paint what you see!" was
the Soviet mandate so Rasim Babayev (1926-2007) did just
that and everything came up looking like divs (devils) painted
under the guise of Primitivism. Yesterday, he was disgraced;
today, he is one of Azerbaijan's most respected artists and is
gradually becoming known internationally. Thanks goes to Rasim
for his artistic judgment in shaping many of the pages of this