Azerbaijan International

Summer 2004 (12.2)
Pages 22-27

Old Baku on Canvas
The Imaginative World of Orkhan Huseinov

Photo: Orkhan Huseinov
See more of Orkhan's work at

I started drawing in childhood. I used to go to the children's gallery, work with the teachers there and take part in exhibitions. My father was an artist and, of course, he greatly influenced me. He would work in his studio and I would go there with him. This played an enormous role in my decision to become an artist.

In 1999 I made an exhibition with drawings featuring Old Baku (Ichari Shahar). It turned out to be very successful. Then these same works were exhibited abroad in cities, such as London, Ankara, and Amsterdam. I realized that people were interested in Old Baku and so I continued this theme. Prior to my work, there have been many other artists who have painted Old Baku. Some of the most vivid examples are by Alakbar Rezaguliyev who did black and white linoleum prints. He showed the life and work of poor people as did Azim Azimzade [Search for both artists at]. Their paintings reflected Soviet ideology.

But I wanted to depict another side of Old Baku - the daily life of city people. I wanted to show them going to theaters and restaurants. I wanted to show that there were millionaires in the city as well as the poor. For me, social position was not so important. I searched the archives and found old photos and newspapers to get my ideas. In childhood I used to draw a lot of scenes with little characters. Maybe that's the reason my canvases are filled with so many little people.

Click photos to enlarge

Art Training
My formal training in art includes two years at the Art College named after Azim Azimzade (1993-95). Then I earned my Bachelor's degree from Azerbaijan State University of Art and Culture (1995-99) and my Master's from Azerbaijan State Fine Art Academy (1999-2000). I think that these three institutions are enough. We have many artists here in Azerbaijan who have only graduated from Azimzade Art College, and they are still remarkable artists. In Azerbaijan there is a traditional approach to art education and these three institutions are considered the best.

Role of Artist in Society
Why paint? Ordinary people working for companies can express their opinions among their colleagues and family. But people in the arts - painters, poets or singers - have more influence upon the society. Society knows these personalities as well as they do their politicians.

Moreover, artists are free - they can work whenever they want and wherever they want. That's the positive side. Of course, there are negative sides, too. Everybody wants some sort of economic guarantees in life. For the artist, there is no guarantee for the future related to his work. Just because an artist is popular today doesn't mean that he'll enjoy the same treatment tomorrow. This is not just a problem for artists in our country; artists all over the world face the same problem.

A physician knows that as long as there are diseases, people will be in need of medicine. But the same thing can't be said about art. People start to think about art - to buy paintings, or go to the theatre or cinema-only when they have additional money. Art is generally viewed as something extraneous, something on the periphery, something non-essential. Nevertheless, society is always interested in its art persons and seeks their opinion about the developments going in the world, country, and society.

The Painting Process
It doesn't take me so much time to think about a scene before painting it. When I have a particular theme; for example, Old Baku, Azerbaijan, it isn't so difficult to come up with a concept. My works are like a series; each one further developing the other. I never have a concrete idea when I begin my work. I never know, for example, what colors I'll use, what exactly will fit in each part of the canvas. I have only a general idea. I do a few sketches and then I begin to paint. I don't finish a particular work and then begin another one. I work simultaneously on several paintings at the same time. I can't even tell you exactly how much time a painting will take. Of course, complex works take several months, depending upon inspiration and enthusiasm. I want so much for people to know me by my works, not by my face.

These days, unfortunately, I have no time for reading literature or for sports. I work all day. In the evenings when I come home, I mostly spend time on computers-creating art, of course.

Orkhan invites you to visit his studio. He speaks English. Contact:
Tel:(994-12) 61-17-28. Mobile: (994-55) 776-1519.

Back to Index AI 12.2 (Summer 2004)
AI Home
| Search | Magazine Choice | Topics | AI Store | Contact us

Other Web sites created by Azerbaijan International
| |