Two British contemporary artists, Nicholas Joubinaux and Tim Ridley have been chosen to travel to Azerbaijan from the UK in April 2019 to create new artworks. Taking inspiration from the similarities and differences between the UK and Azerbaijan’s cultural heritage, the artists creative investigations have already started to take shape.
Ridley’s ‘Parrots in the trees’ is symbolic of the types of animals found in Azerbaijani and Persian traditional painted ‘miniatures’ whilst as the same time reflective of his own societal interests as a vegan artist. Ridley’s art practice predominantly explores our human interaction with animals, and the ways we often personify nature as humans. Tim is very much looking forward to exploring Azerbaijan’s rich and diverse fauna and flora and it’s local residents within.
Nick Joubinaux will be exploring a very different Azerbaijan. One of rich prosperity and modernity. He will be expanding on his project Camera / Regarder, a series of images that Joubinaux, a photographer, has been creating since 2016. Working predominantly in central London, Nick creates works that capture the fleeting moments of a city through ‘camera obscure’, a processing technique that was used at the turn of the 20th Century. The quality and context of using this technique in a futuristic city such as Baku is that you can capture the juxtaposition of the traditional and modern. Nick is excited to think that this technique may have been used as standard photography process during the Oil Boom in Baku and as western Europe had its own connections with Baku during this time can feel a real connection between London and Baku society here.
Joubinaux and Ridley will be spending their residency week, and will be supported by, five other members of The NO Collective, a youth arts organisation from London. This cultural residency programme was initiated as a unique evaluation project for a web-information portal. InAzerbaijan.co.uk is a website dedicated to educating young people about Azerbaijan and its history and culture. It is supported by CSSN Azerbaijan, which funds innovative projects by international NGOS.
Natalie, the co-founder of THE NO COLLECTIVE and project manager says:
“As we came to the end of our project we were due to create an evaluation. It was overwhelmingly evident to us that throughout our working in Azerbaijan the thing that has been most poignant in research is the depth of culture and richness of society here. We had written enough quantitative facts on the website so for our website, we wanted to provide something unique to display that gave information about the intangible experiences that we have encountered in Azerbaijan. We felt that giving the opportunity to artists to make unique artworks that explore this experience would create such intangible information and in turn portrait the union and spirit between our two cultures’.
When the artworks are complete, they will be showcased on the InAzerbaijan website for years to come, and for young people to use as educational case studies. InAzerbaijan is the only website in the UK dedicated to sharing information to residents in the UK and has been written by young people for young people through first hand research in visits to the country.
The artist residency will begin in early April and will include a live exhibition of works that will be displayed in the historic area of Baku’s Icherisheher on Thursday 11th April. Named ‘Light Remnant to reflect both artists works – the show will welcome guests and members of the public in Baku to join the event. The exhibition will then travel to London and then Penzance in Cornwall to a variety of new UK audiences.
During the exhibition, Tim Ridley hopes to show a number of miniature works created from found materials and oil paint -depicting animals in a traditional style. He has been working with an array of materials, including oils paint, pencil and gold leaf. Joubinaux plans to turn a hotel room in Icherisheher into a living camera; inviting audiences into a space where they can physically watch how a photograph is made inside of a giant camera facing out into the cityscape of Baku. He will then display the photographs created in Baku to the London and Cornwall audience.
For more information about the artists and their works, please visit www.inazerbaijan.co.uk/light-remnant
Nick Joubinaux is an award winning photographer working in London for over 20 years. He plans to create a Camera Obscura installation in Baku – utilising old processing technology in a fabulously modern city. Displaying hand printed works of both London and Baku he hopes that audiences will be able to see the depth of materiality in the personally processed works and a timeless essence of the fleeting moments that he captures.
Based in Penzance in rural Cornwall, Tim Ridley is a mixed media artist who creates works on found materials, about a human response to animals and our links to nature. Fascinated by Azerbaijani and Persian miniatures, Ridley plans to make works exploring nature in similar styles to the historic pieces. He hopes to display drawings and paintings in miniature form during the exhibitions
A web project a collaboration between The NO Collective and CSSN Azerbaijan (Council on State Support to NGOs under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan). This information portal website project aims to improve contemporary communication between Azerbaijan and the UK and through doing so has used young people from both countries in the heart of its creation.
THE NO COLLECTIVE
A youth arts organisation which is the creation of Londoners Joe Easeman and Natalie Bays, who’s main priorities are to educate and expand horizons of young people through creative means and cultural connectivity. The Collective is made up of young professional members specialising in producing artwork, and teaching through creative means. Based in London, they work on a local, national, and international scale.
The CSSN Azerbaijan
The Council on State Support to NGO’s under the Auspices of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan
The CSSN assists in the development of the independent Azerbaijani statehood and continued fostering of democracy. As Azerbaijan extends its path of democracy, transformation of society is a socio-political necessity. The public sector has been enriched and developed, and international experiences have been carefully studied. The CSSN was approved by a Decree signed by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr. Ilham Aliyev on 27 July 2007 and after key discussions were held in response to this, the Republic of Azerbaijan was established upon the Decree of the President (dated 13 December 2007) and the Regulations of the Council were approved.
text by Natalie Bays