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Drawings and paintings by the young Azerbaijani artist Kabira Alieva were showcased in early September in ZANN, a landmark exhibition at the prestigious Mall Galleries in Central London. Some 250 enthusiastic viewers attended the preliminary private view, including H.E. Fakhraddin Gurbanov, Azerbaijani Ambassador to the UK; H.E. Volodymyr Khandohiy, Ukrainian Ambassador to the UK; Lord Laird; Florian Seitz, Deputy Head of Culture and Education, German Embassy to the UK; renowned violinist Nazrin Rashidova and members of the London-based Azerbaijani diaspora. Whilst exploring the artwork, guests also enjoyed a variety of Azerbaijani sweets and drinks. The event was sponsored by The European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS), and was part of celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of renewed Azerbaijani independence, following the fall of the Soviet Union.

Sabina Rakcheyeva, TEAS Arts and Cultural Advisor, commented:
One of the main objectives of TEAS is to promote Azerbaijani culture, art and artists to a multicultural London audience. TEAS is honoured to sponsor this showcase of works by Kabira Alieva. Kabira was born in Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, and held her first exhibition at the age of six years. One of her most recent commissions was a collection of drawings inspired by the tracks on UnVeiled, the inaugural CD by my Ensemble. I am delighted that these works form part of the exhibition.

Kabira ranks amongst the foremost Azerbaijani artists, seamlessly integrating elements of her homeland’s culture in an homogenous, sweeping and individual manner. Entitled ZANN, the exhibition unites a collection of artworks, serving to visually engage, educate, introduce and explore Azerbaijani identity.

Kabira’s work is charged with an ethnic undercurrent of stylised dynamic imagery, together with the vibrant play of line, colour and texture. Paintings breathe with soul and message, from either the artist or something larger and more powerful. Surface textures in relief tease the viewer with tactile sensations for the eyes, enhancing engagement with the energy and meaning of the work.
Sabina Rakcheyeva introduces the artist Sabina Rakcheyeva introduces the artist

ZANN or ‘zənn’ is a word sometimes used in the Azerbaijani language, but is arguably derived from Arabic. Although generally used to signify an inkling, guess, or presumption, interestingly the Qur’an describes it as a presumption of truth in a charge, although the evidence does not necessarily amount to conviction. Calling this exhibition ZANN was a mild experiment meant to evoke thought and enquiry, challenging the viewer to draw meaning from the works that they see, given enough visual evidence or not, thus sometimes resorting to their soulful inner selves. It was an experiment to see what presumptions the British public would derive from this ‘visiting’ artwork, and how Azerbaijanis living far from their homeland would reconnect with anything visually or emotionally familiar.

For more about Kabira, see