answering the call / 2014
On December 28th, 2014 I read a call for a public art project, demanded by Yay Gallery from Baku, Azerbaijan.
On December 28th, 2014 I sent my proposal for Yay Gallery's public art project.
link towards the former call: http://www.yaygallery.com/en/news/open-call-public-art-project-competition
photo credits for the collage from above: Yay Gallery and a photo of a Heydar Aliyev statue that I found on the internet (Google Images)
The statue proposed was entitled: "Heydar Aliyev - the flame"
Artist statement supporting the proposal:
"Heydar Aliyev represents the very symbol of Azerbaijan and merges with its destiny. Because other nations, who didn’t have such a leader, are natural jealous with those who did. For Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev is what Mustafa Kemal Ataturk represents for Turkey, or what for European countries meant, if not going too far in past, politicians like Winston Churchill, Charles De Gaulle, Konrad Andenauer. He is a flag and an emblem, but he is also, actually, the personality that twisted once and for all the thread of the history and made possible, directly, today’s Azerbaijan: a country of civilization, of high culture, of the most harmonious mixture of ancient history with strong traditions and the boldest modernism.
Due to having this trip to Azerbaijan I was able to notice how proud Azeris are of their flag, their anthem, but also of their National Leader – a triptych, on which the modern state from the Caspian Sea is based today.
Like I said, Azeris are proud of their flag and often talk about it. The Anthem is a high register melody with notes in rapid succession. It was composed by Uzeyir Hajibayov, one of the greatest, if not the most prominent, names of cult music in Azerbaijan. He lived in the first half of the XXth century. The lyrics were written by Ahmad Javad and their beginning sounds roughly like this: Azerbaijan! Azerbaijan!, / You’re a country of heroes! / We will die for you to exist! / We will shed our blood to defend you! Live your flag!
But the most significant symbol of contemporary Azerbaijan is its national leader, former President Heydar Aliyev, since the birth of whom, Azeris celebrate 90 years now. He led the country as actual president during the last ten years of his life, achieving greatest things for Azerbaijan, its internal administration and its external relations. Heydar Aliyev’s figure becomes familiar quickly to any stranger visiting the country. Azeris bear a natural gratitude for Heydar Aliyev, everyone who lived in the times of country’s emancipation, recognize the contribution of this very special man. A large number of monuments depict Heydar Aliyev in stone and bronze, and, among them, the most representative is the monumental ensemble in Baku.
I saw the Azerbaijani leader’s grave in a cemetery that looks like a park, where rest the country’s foremost statesmen and cultural personalities. And there, a bronze statue is being erected, too. It seems that Heydar Aliyev was fit to become a subject for erecting statues: he was very tall, with a masculine figure, spiritualized by the passage of years. I regret that I never had the opportunity to see alive this great politician of the XXth century, but I’m glad to be able to meet his son, current President of Azerbaijan, who so obviously bears the traits and qualities of his father.
In a natural way, I associate the figure of Heydar Aliyev carved in bronze, the one that I see almost daily in Tei Park, on the alley that bears his name, with Azerbaijan’s most lasting symbol of all times: fire.
Yet, the most important symbolic element in Azerbaijan remains the fire. Fire alive characterizes the passionate and hospitable nature of Azerbaijanis, the fire is a symbol of hearth, perceived as homeland, but also as a place of family reunion, inside the home. You can see everywhere signs of a somewhat magical, but friendly fire. Fire caresses all senses. Fire brings visual and audible joy, the swaying flame is restful, but also it means warmth, smell and even taste, because on the fire of the hearth food is prepared.
Heydar Aliyev was a flame alive for his people. He burned with passion, warmed with humanity, gathered around his heat an entire nation and made it work for a noble aim; he enlightened people with his vision and was the hearth, to which were brought back traditions of a country that for over seventy years was not only occupied by communists, but also a victim of denationalization and a forced bereavement of ancestral language and customs. The chill sound of fire burning in the hearth is the way Azeri language sounds. Heydar Aliyev brought it back to his people, which has always been – regardless the efforts of the occupant – one with its sound.
As a Romanian, being a part of a nation that went through, just like Azeri people, attacks, occupations and attempts to denationalize, I can understand very well the crucial role that Heydar Aliyev played in the destiny of his nation, which, without him could go a different, ill-fated way.
Seeing today’s Azerbaijan, a result of Heydar Aliyev’s vision, continued happily by his successors, I can clearly see, in each of the amazing achievements of the latest years of the country’s development, the mark of a completely beyond ordinary person.
But the most significant symbol of contemporary Azerbaijan is its national leader, former President Heydar Aliyev. He led the country as actual president during the last ten years of his life, achieving greatest things for Azerbaijan, its internal administration and its external relations. Heydar Aliyev’s figure becomes familiar quickly to any stranger visiting the country. Azeris bear a natural gratitude for Heydar Aliyev, everyone who lived in the times of country’s emancipation, recognize the contribution of this very special man."
text: Horia Garbea, "Heydar Aliyev - The flame"
description of the call:
Yay Gallery and YARAT Contemporary Art Organisation are pleased to announce 'Urban Voice' public art project in an attempt to support contemporary art in November 2014. This project is an open contest for an art project installation to be placed on a pedestal in front of Yay Gallery.
Yay Gallery cordially invites all interested artists, sculptors, architects and designers to participate in the contest. The jury will consider sketches of sculptures, installations, large structures and street art projects, including layouts of public art objects created with luminous and other effects.
The theme of the contest is 'Clashes between people's inner world and modern global factors'. Modern cities are extremely attractive places to live. Urban space has been transformed into the quintessence of modern living, or at least to some extent of this ideal. Based upon their interest, tastes and wishes, different urban classes strive to match their requirements with the arrangement of new cities.
Nowadays people find it difficult withstanding the increased urban noise levels. The constant sound of cars, never-ending repair works, many promotional events and unbearable car horns all combine together with other factors to test the limits of urban infrastructure and the integrity of public developments. But there is always the other side of the coin. How does this unprecedented noise level affect our private spaces? Firmly shutting doors and windows, drawing the curtains and covering our ears are not seen as viable solutions.
Today's big city residents are clearly failing to shelter from the constant urban noise. Yet physical space really should evoke a sense of comfort and harmony as well as an environmental cohesion between the people living there.
Application for this project is free and open to all.
Each applicant can present no more than five art project proposals. For this contest only original art project proposals will be considered – they should be specifically designed for this contest, based on original concepts of the applicant (i.e. they must not duplicate or copy previous concepts) and must not previously have been exhibited, published, produced or sold. Appliants are forbidden to submit video or audio material that violates the legislation of The Republic of Azerbaijan, including material that injures citizens, ethnic minorities, religions and races and promotes violence, extremism, pornography, drug abuse, suicide, violence as well as all other illegal activities.
Contest finalists will be awarded with certificates. The winning art project will be installed on the pedestal. The winner will also recieve a cash prize.
The art project implementation will result in the final selection of the art object (scupture) to be installed on the pedestal in front of Yay Gallery. All costs relating to the implementation of the winning art project will be covered.
The winner will be decided through the assessment of the technical and artistic properties of the submitted projects by the contest jury of prominent artists.
To apply for the contest, candidates should visit www.yaygallery.com, download and fill in the relevant application form and submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org between the first of acceptance for applications and the scheduled deadline.
The submitted material, documents and art projects will not be returned to the applicants.