Azerbaijan will be for the first time represented at the GRID 2012 International Photography Biennale

For the first time Azerbaijan will be represented at the GRID 2012 International Photography Biennale in the Netherlands. Supported by YARAT!, a non-commercial organization dedicated to promoting contemporary art in Azerbaijan, emerging photographer Ilkin Huseynov presents a new series of documentary photographs. The works will be curated by Suad Garayeva, who was Joint Coordinator of the Azerbaijani Pavillion at the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011.
Huseynov`s series depicts local wedding celebrations taking place on the outskirts of the Azeri capital Baku. The suburb of Nardaran, which is situated on the Caspian coast, is unique in its preservation of the indigenous culture and community. Centuries-old customs, such as marriage ceremonies separated
by gender, are still adhered to, meaning that this population contrasts sharply with neighboring districts, which are increasingly Westernized and progressive. Huseynov`s work therefore provides a unique insight into largely outdated but nevertheless persisting urban realities.
Eleven of the twenty resulting works, which Huseynov took at a local Nardaran all-male wedding ceremony, will be displayed at GRID 2012. Traditionally festivities are held in purpose built tents, which are only ever used for weddings and funerals. The juxtaposition of the two pivotal moments of a human lifetime here evoke a sort of a return to the basics of individual and social interaction, that are often overshadowed in the context of a busy and cosmopolitan urban life.
"We decided to show the series inside a similar tent to the one depicted in it in order to accentuate the importance of a tent as a basic dwelling structure," says curator Suad Garayeva, referring to Heidegger`s idea of living as dwelling. Huseynov`s installation, contrasting with the environment of a contemporary
city surrounding it, provides an immersive setting for the viewer to contemplate different facets of urban existence.
Founded in 2011 by Aida Mahmudova, YARAT! is a non-commercial, private organization dedicated to the promotion and nurturing of Azeri Contemporary art nationally and on a global level. YARAT!`s inaugural show On Soz took place in October 2011 and attracted 20,000 visitors in one month. Building on the success of this project, YARAT! launched the 012 Baku Public Art Festival in February 2012. A key objective of YARAT!`s is to form dialogue and exchanges with non-commercial art foundations both in Azerbaijan and abroad. YARAT! also aims to provide educational initiatives as well as an international art prize.
Ilkin Huseynov is an award-winning photojournalist, based in Baku, Azerbaijan. Over the past three years his reputation as a documentary photographer has grown, particularly through his work with organizations seeking social change in Azerbaijan and surrounding countries. Through his work he aims to empower the neglected areas of society by telling their stories. In 2011 his project Hometown was nominated as a photographer for the Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund. Huseynov`s work has been published by the Associated Press, InvisiblePhotographer, AFP, Reuters, Yahoo, CNN International, Globaljournalist and Media Paran.
Huseynov was a finalist of Winephoto, Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation competition and won a second place in the PowerHouse Books competition. He has also recently been selected for the Roberto Villagraz Schollarship and World Press Joop Swart Masterclass. He is also a finalist of London Photography Festival.
Suad Garayeva is a curator based in London. After gaining her masters in Philosophy and Public Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science, Garayeva had a successful career in finance working for leading investment banks. She made the transition into the art world by first studying collecting contemporary art at Central Saint Martin`s and then gaining a master`s degree in Modern and Contemporary Art from Christie`s Education/University of Glasgow. She currently works as a project manager at Sotheby`s.
The project is taking place with the support of the Baku City Culture and Tourism Administration.



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