07.03.2015 – 29.03.2015
Arif Aziz is one of the most important Azerbaijani painters of his generation. With the artistic abundance and versatility of his work, he decisively influenced the development of Azerbaijani art. His extensive and multi-faceted oeuvre combines the national artistic heritage of Islamic pictorial tradition with style elements of Western contemporary art in a unique way. Thus his art impressively testifies to the fruitful cultural exchange between Orient and Occident.
Arif Aziz, who was born in 1943 in the Azerbaijani capital Baku, graduated there from 1957 to 1962 from the state art academy. 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 Design Competition in Vilnius, Lithuania. In 1978 he received the First Prize of the Moscow International Exhibition. During his artistic career, Arif Aziz built up a high reputation: he taught for a long time as a professor at the State University of Art and Culture in Baku, where he was prorector for painting and applied arts in 1991. In 1992 he was appointed national artist by the Azerbaijani government. The artist found great inspiration on his many study trips, which led him not only to Africa, but also to Moscow and Paris, to Turkey, to India and to many other countries in the world. The culture and nature of Senegal as well as the famous Paris Varieté “Moulin Rouge” seem to have left a special impression on Arif Aziz. Thus 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 at the Caucasion Biennale in Dagestan and in 2002 at the Asian Art Biennale in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Many of his works are now in major museums and collections, including 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.