Internationally renowned Azerbaijani artist Faig Ahmed is among a new wave of contemporary creatives expanding the conventional notion of craft. Ahmed is best known for utilizing the traditional decorative craft of carpet-making to create contemporary sculptural works of art. He explores fresh new visual forms that challenge our perception of traditions through iconic cultural objects.
Oriental rugs are often covered in symbols, narrating the stories of their particular cultures through form and pattern. In Ahmed’s creative practice he deftly navigates the traditions and rituals of these cultures. “Patterns and ornaments can be found in all cultures, sometimes similar, sometimes very different. I consider them words and phrases that can be read and translated to a language we understand.” says Ahmed.
By expanding the notion of what these traditionally crafted works of art look like, Faig suggests new ideas about the nature of reality and the limits of human perception. Through his work the observer understands the tension between the stability of traditional carpet designs and the rigidity of our perceptions.
Ahmed’s creative skills not only rest in craft but span varied mediums such as installation, video, and embroidery, all of which can be seen in his solo exhibition at PCA&D. Through these differing mediums he expands his exploration to themes such as social rites of passage, human equitability and commercialization of art.
“I love being a hostage [to tradition]”, Ahmed shares, “because it’s a quiz and you have to take it to set yourself free. I think we are never completely free anyway, but you should exactly know where your own cage ends.”
Faig Ahmed (Baku, 1982) lives and works in Baku, Azerbaijan and graduated from the sculpture department of Azerbaijan State Academy of Fine Art in 2004. He represented Azerbaijan at the nation’s inaugural pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2007 and participated in the show “Love Me, Love Me Not” in 2013.
Ahmed has exhibited his works worldwide including group and solo exhibitions in New York, Paris, London, Berlin, Rome, Dubai, Moscow and the UAE. In 2013, the artist was nominated for the Jameel Prize 3 at Victoria and Albert Museum in London. His works are in public collections including Los Angeles County Museum, Palm Springs Art Museum, and Seattle Art Museum, and in private collections such as West Collection, Philadelphia, Microsoft Art Collection, the collection of Beth Rudin DeWoody, New York; Galila’ Collection, Brussels; Ranza collection, Rome; Jameel Foundation, London and H.H. Sh Zayed bin Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, UAE.
In 2016, Ahmed’s work is being exhibited in several museums including the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), Los Angeles County Museum, Bellevue Art Museum, Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, MOCA (Cleveland), Museum of Old and New Art (Tasmania), Powerhouse (Australia) and others.