Azerbaijan Art Stations: MENA Experience
Jahangir Selimkhanov - Open Society Insitute - AF Azerbaijan
Radisson Habiba Hall
Azerbaijan Art Stations was established to spread contemporary art to more remote locations in Azerbaijan, where the community would not normally visit an art gallery. The project invites artists from abroad—most recently from Nordic countries with the Swedish curator Catrin Lundqvist—to produce durable and tangible works in close collaboration with selected communities. The aim is to engage local memory and heritage, as well as to raise a feeling of belonging and local pride. By establishing these points of interest on the country’s map, Azerbaijan Art Stations hopes to create a network of events that inspire people to tour between them. At March Meeting 2011 the organisation presented its wish to invite artists and curators from the Middle East and North Africa to participate in the project.
This project proposes to commission artists from MENA countries to create a series of site-specific community or public artworks within or around cultural venues across Azerbaijan. The project aims to establish long-lasting collaboration between these cultural centres and artists, organisations and communities in the respective countries. The artworks, along with the activities at the cultural centres, should become local tourist attractions and offer a means of involving the local community with the opportunity to meet with visitors.
Jahangir Selimkhanov has a professional background in musicology. He has contributed to numerous cultural events and projects covering various art disciplines and spheres of cultural action: cultural policy, music, theatre and museum work. His contemporary visual art activities include the International Art Forum, Thessaloniki (2002), the South East European Contemporary Art Nework, Ohrid (2002), the Venice Breakfasts Symposium (2003) and Home Works IV, Beirut (2008). Publications include the concept and coordination for Maidan: Perspectives on Contemporary Art & Culture from the Caucasus, Central Asia & Middle East (2007). He has acted as curator for exhibitions including La Vie en Rouge, CCA Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw (2009) and is a contributor to the Art Asia Pacific Almanac. He has lectured and spoken at international symposia, workshops and conferences across the world.