and Azeri Artists Team Up
Summer 1999 issue dedicated to Azerbaijan's art [AI 7.2] reminded
us of our assignment in Baku [1994-1997] where we discovered
some of Azerbaijan's finest artists. We have just moved from
Bonn to Berlin which was declared Germany's new capital in March
this year. Nearly all government agencies and their employees
have had to move, so there has been a mass exodus to the old
Photo: May in the Westerwald
by Rashid Ismayil
Michael is still responsible for North America and the G8 but
occasionally, he is called upon to use his knowledge of Azerbaijan.
After investing so much energy in such an assignment, it would
be impossible to just leave and forget it - at least for us.
We packed three quarters of our belongings and put them in storage
because our new apartment is far too small, but we managed to
bring all of our Azerbaijan International magazines along. I
never really seem to finish any of them; they are so full.
I wanted to let your readers know about the artists' cooperative
"Birlikda" of German and Azeri artists. "Birlikda"
means "together". It all began when Ulla Windheuser
- Schwarz from Linz, Germany went to Soviet Azerbaijan in 1989
to attend the International Artists' Symposium in Baku. There
she met artist Rashid Ismayil. Ten years and numerous exhibitions
later, Birlikda represents a group of six artists whose works
encompass practically every artistic medium - painting, sculpture,
graphics and ceramics. The artists include Husein Hagverdiyev,
Rafael Muradli, Saida Hagverdiyeva, Rashid, his son Hikmat -
all from Azerbaijan - and Ulla.
Beginning in 1991, these artists have staged several cultural
exchanges each year both in Germany and Azerbaijan. Exhibitions
are now regular occurrences throughout Germany and come with
dolmas, lavash and Azeri wine. In 1996, the exhibition in Baku
drew some 200 guests to the beautiful second - floor library
of the Nizami Museum.
It's sometimes hard to decide which level-personal or professional
- of their collaboration has been the most fruitful, so complex
is the artistic symbiosis between these artists. Certainly the
lives of all of them have changed during the past ten years,
as they've learned from each other and from exposure to the great
museums of Europe and to the deep, often hidden traditions of
The latest Birlikda Exhibition opened in Koblenz, Germany on
September 24, 1999, precisely the date of that fortunate meeting
ten years ago in Baku. One can only look forward to their next
ten years - together!
Wife of Michael Schmunk, German Ambassador to Baku, 1994-1997
Editor: AZgallery features more than 1,000 art
works created by nearly 100 Azeri artists including those of
Birlikda. The Web site is a free venue for Azerbaijani artists
and was designed and produced by Azerbaijan International magazine.
It enables art lovers all over the world to contact the artists
directly via telephone or e-mail. Check out the "Featured
Artist of the Week" at AZgallery.ORG.
(7.4) Winter 1999.
© Azerbaijan International 1999. All rights reserved.
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