The European Azerbaijan Society –
ZANN: AN EXHIBITION OF PAINTINGS AND
DRAWINGS BY AZERBAIJANI ARTIST KABIRA ALIEVA
(from left) On the way to Novruz (mixed media on papyrus), At rest (mixed media on canvas), and Duality (mixed media on papyrus)
ZANN unites a collection of drawings and paintings by Kabira Alieva, the Azerbaijani artist, who brings her
second solo show in the UK to a wide London audience in a quest to visually engage, educate, introduce and
explore Azerbaijani identity, superimposed on a British cultural canvas. This exhibition is sponsored by The
European Azerbaijan Society.
As ever, Kabira’s work is charged with an ethnic undercurrent of stylised dynamic imagery, and vibrant play of
line, colour and texture. Paintings breathe with soul and messages, either the artist’s, or of something bigger
and more powerful. Relief surface textures tease the viewer with tactile sensations for the eyes, enhancing
engagement with the energy and meaning of the work.
Building on Kabira’s recent solo exhibition in Azerbaijan, which explored the theme of the Zoroastrian influence
on Azerbaijani culture, here Kabira presents drawings on papyrus and paper that hint at the mystical and
ancient beliefs that constitute integral elements of the distinctive Azerbaijani ethnicity.
ZANN or ‘zənn’ is a word sometimes used in the Azerbaijani language, but is arguably derived from Arabic.
Although generally used to signify ‘an inkling’, ‘guess’, or ‘presumption’, interestingly the Qu’ran describes it as
a presumption of truth in a charge, although the evidence does not necessarily amount to conviction. Entitling
this exhibition ZANN is a mild experiment: it is meant to evoke thought and enquiry, challenging the viewer
to draw meaning from the works that they see, given enough visual evidence or not, thus sometimes resorting
to their soulful inner selves. It is an experiment to see what ‘presumptions’ the British public will derive from
this ‘visiting’ artwork, and how Azerbaijanis living far from their home country will reconnect with anything
visually or emotionally familiar. ZANN will be accompanied by music from UnVeiled, the first record by the
Sabina Rakcheyeva Ensemble, with a booklet illustrated by Kabira.
Kabira Alieva was born in Baku, Azerbaijan, and started drawing from the tender age of three. Drawing became
an integral part of her life and has accompanied her studies in art and biological sciences. Kabira’s work was
also strengthened by various cultural influences, as her family moved from Azerbaijan to Turkey, and finally
settled in the UK. Kabira currently lives and works in London. Her work has been exhibited in Azerbaijan,
Turkey, Switzerland and the UK, and is kept in many private collections.
Exhibition: ZANN – An exhibition of paintings
Dates: 5–10 September 2011
and drawings by Azerbaijani artist Kabira Alieva
Monday, Wednesday–Saturday 1000–1700hrs
Venue: Mall Galleries, The Mall,
Private view: 5 September 1800–2100hrs
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