Arif Aziz – Art from Azerbaijan

03/07/2015 – 03/29/2015

Arif Aziz is one of the most important Azerbaijani painters of his generation. With the artistic wealth and versatility of his work, he decisively shaped the development of Azerbaijani art. In his extensive and multifaceted work, the national artistic heritage of Islamic pictorial tradition is combined with stylistic elements of Western contemporary art in a unique way. His art thus impressively testifies to the fruitful cultural exchange between the Orient and the Occident.

Arif Aziz, who was born in the Azerbaijani capital Baku in 1943, graduated from the state art school there from 1957 to 1962. He then studied graphic design at Stroganov University in Moscow from 1966 to 1971. In 1973 he was awarded the second prize of the Youth Union of Azerbaijan in Baku and the first prize of the international graphic competition in Vilnius, Lithuania. In 1978 he received the first prize of the Moscow International Exhibition. During his artistic activity, Arif Aziz earned a high reputation: He taught for a long time as a professor at the State University for Art and Culture in Baku and was pro-rector in the field of painting and applied arts there in 1991. In 1992 the Azerbaijani government appointed him a national artist. The artist found great inspiration on his many study trips, which not only took him to Africa, but also to Moscow and Paris, Turkey, India and many other countries around the world. The culture and nature of Senegal as well as the famous Parisian variety show “Moulin Rouge” seem to have left a special impression on Arif Aziz. These places appear again and again in his pictures. His works have been exhibited worldwide for decades, including at the Senegal Embassy in Moscow in 1984 and at the Beyogly Munchipal Art Gallery in Istanbul in 1996. In 1985 he was represented, among others, in the Caucasion Biennial in Dagestan and in 2002 in the Asian Art Biennial in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Many of his works are now in important museums and collections, such as the Azerbaijan State Museum of Art in Baku, the Moscow North Art Museum, the Senegal State Art Museum and the Tebriz Shaxriya State Museum in Baku.