By Kyra Brenzinger

Exhibiting for the first time at the Art Shopping exhibition space at the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris last October, the Azerbaijani artist Ziba Aliyeva presents us with her paintings, unveiled before a well-informed viewing public.

What is the significance of your coming to Paris?

Ziba Aliyeva: It was a dream to come and exhibit in this city that has seen so many talented artists. Through my painting, I hope to introduce the public to Azeri art.

How do you define the art of Azerbaijan?

Ziba Aliyeva: It’s a mixture of influences from the Caucasus and Persia with depictions of landscapes and a lush countryside of fields as far as the eye can see, or majestic trees. Like our national flag, I use a lot of green, as a tribute to nature, red, especially pomegranate, a symbolic fruit, and the blue of our wonderfully clear sky.

When did you first start painting?

Ziba Aliyeva: When I was a very young child it was my way of truly expressing myself because I was very shy, and I was lucky enough to have lessons with a private teacher. Eventually, in 2005, I took a Computer Design course in Baku which simultaneously offered classes in art and ideas about the art of colour. But it was not until 2017 that I embarked on a career as a painter, as I had previously got married and had been bringing up my two children.

Which artists inspire you?

Ziba Aliyeva: Picasso was a real revelation for me when I saw his paintings at an exhibition in Madrid. His sense of colour is exceptional. But I also love Azerbaijani painters such as my private teacher Raida Mustafaev, as well as Melik, Sakit, and so on.

You depict mainly the landscapes of Azerbaijan, in an impressionistic manner…

Ziba Aliyeva: Yes, that’s right, I love sharing my vision and my impressions, such as the colourful roofs of Baku’s old historic centre, or the “Italian district” where the women put the washing out to dry on lines, as they do in Italy.

And you have even used oil – petroleum – for a painting.

Ziba Aliyeva: It’s a depiction of the countryside confronted by industry, with a vision of Azerbaijan’s international image as an oil producer. We see industrial facilities drawn with oil and the countryside with the Caspian sea, done in blue oil.

You mainly like painting animals and peaceful countryside

Ziba Aliyeva: Humans need the countryside and, personally, I love greener and farmland, as in my picture of chickens and cockerels, or the picture of fish at a market beside the Caspian sea, or the one of cactus on my window sill.

What is the message you would like to convey?

Ziba Aliyeva: I love revealing the beauty of ephemeral things, so as to get the idea across to people that everything could disappear one day: wheter that be the countryside or historic cities like Baku…

Will you be exhibiting in Europe in the near future?

Ziba Aliyeva: My husband encourages me tremendously and organises exhibitions for me throughout Europe, like the one here in Paris and another shortly in Berlin. I would like to collaborate with European galleries and n Moscow. My career as a painter is opening up for me, and discovering cities in different countries is tremendously enriching for an artist!

Salon Art Innsbruck: 17-20 January, 2019

Berlin-Baku Gallery in Berlin: 16-17 February, 2019