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CHELEBI: Aida Mahmudova

Baku-based artist Aida Mahmudova works on projects which emphasise locality and are socially engaging. Mahmudova is the prominent patron of Azerbaijani arts and design, the visionary behind the brand Chelebi, specialising in collectible design, as well as the founder of YARAT Contemporary Art Space in Baku.

Within the expansive realm of her artistic practice, Mahmudova moves across a diverse landscape of mediums, from painting and installation to textiles, sculpture, and ceramics, unravelling the interconnection of memory, place, and belonging. Employing a nuanced language of materiality and object-making, she interlaces her creations with the contexts of Azerbaijan, delving into the interrelating realms of social and natural landscapes, autobiographical memories, and the momentum of time.

Central to Mahmudova's practice is an unwavering fascination with materiality, evidenced by attention to texture and form. As her paintings became increasingly more layered throughout her practice, her work expanded into the domain of three-dimensionality, infusing sculptures and textiles with the same depth and complexity that define her canvases. Each textured artwork serves as a repository of memory, with layers unfurling like chapters in the artist's personal chronicle, weaving together echoes of nostalgia and longing for the landscapes of Baku and the Absheron Peninsula at large, deeply rooted in the artist's ancestral heritage.

Mahmudova's first show in Milan during Milan Design Week 2024 is yet another example of the artist’s research into the cultural legacy of Azerbaijan through sensitive artistic exploration. Her practice extends beyond the confines of the studio as she actively collaborates with local artisans, infusing traditional Azerbaijani crafts with a contemporary sensibility. Through her artistic approach, age-old techniques are revitalised, while local methods of production and materials are imbued with new meaning, forging a dynamic dialogue between past and present.

Collaborating with Azeri female carpet weavers from Shamkir, Aida Mahmudova re-thinks and re-interprets traditional crafts in the newly created artwork From the Landscape Series, 2024, integrating her layered painting practice. An accompanying short film was produced in order to document the genesis of the From the Landscape Series, capturing every facet from initial sketches to the final stages of weaving the large-scale carpet. This documentary not only highlights the symbiotic relationship between the weavers and the artist but also illuminates the narratives interwoven within, and is a tribute to the collective memory embedded within their shared efforts.


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