Ismayil Mammadov Pages 82-86

My long journey to the other side of the ocean is over. I can sum up my year-long trip to the “capital of the world”, New York, in this way: lots of impressions, new acquaintances and memorable events, which I will certainly reflect upon.

Here are just a few of the events I was involved in: the raising of the Azerbaijani state flag on Wall Street, Manhattan; a two-hour picket outside the UN headquarters dedicated to the Khojaly tragedy; celebrations on the occasion of the Novruz holiday organized by Azerbaijan’s Permanent Representative Office in the UN; the opening of the first exhibition of Azerbaijani diaspora artists working in the United States; the participation by representatives of the Azerbaijani diaspora in a Turkish march on Seventh Avenue in Manhattan; an official reception given by Azerbaijan’s Permanent Representative Office in the UN at the Turkish Cultural Centre (unfortunately, Azerbaijan does not have a cultural centre in New York) on the occasion of Republic Day and an exhibition of paintings and sculptures held within this event, together with sculptor Emin Quliyev; organizing an exhibition of paintings of horses at the New York horse racing sports complex; the publication of illustrated articles about my work in New York’s Russian-language newspapers (Russian Bazaar, Forum, New Border etc); illustrating stories by Maryam Heyli, a former Bakuvian, published in the monthly newspaper New Border; and giving open drawing classes to the children of members of the Azerbaijani Association in New York.

In addition to these meetings, one of the most memorable aspects was the intensive work done in the studio. I may say that 90 paintings on the subject of America and Azerbaijan were the result of this work. I have brought over 70 drawings of New York and up to 40 pictures of horses back to Baku. These paintings will be submitted to the judgement of viewers at a solo exhibition to be held in the city. As a journalist I provided regular coverage of all these events for the TREND news agency and Baku’s periodicals. The culmination of my work was the photographing of a large part of my exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum (Museum of Contemporary Arts) in New York. About 70 of my photographed works, accompanied by texts, have been posted in the “Artist’s tribune” on the website In addition to beautiful graphic materials, this series has many interesting facts from the lives of famous painters; this can enrich the vision of students in art schools and of people who appreciate the arts.

However, the question arises: “Given that your work has been in demand in recent years, did you need to leave Baku for so long?” After my anniversary exhibition in May 2008, I needed something new, I needed to enrich my outlook, to stand outside myself, in a word, to be “born” again. So this journey gave me an opportunity to recharge my energy, which is important for my future creative work.

I would like to present you with a number of paintings that I brought with me.