YARAT! presents “PARTICIPATE” Baku Public Art Festival project

After the success of its inaugural year, YARAT Contemporary Art Organisation presents the second edition of "PARTICIPATE" Baku Public Art Festival 2013.
In her opening speech Aida Mahmudova spoke about the “012 Baku Public Art” festival organized by “YARAT” last year and the new project. Aida Mahmudova added that “012 Baku Public Art” which broke together 21 artists was successful.
The “PARTICIPATE” Baku Public Art Festival 2013 will showcase 10 public art commissions from a selection of Azerbaijani and international artists.
"PARTICIPATE" Baku Public Art aims to challenge our preconceptions about the role and relevance of public art in cities, and to promote the understanding of contemporary art in Azerbaijan.
International artist participants:
Naila Allakhverdiyeva (Russia)
Group Bouillon (Georgia)
Rebar Group (US)
Florentijn Hofman (Netherlands)
Patricio Forrester & Artmongers (UK)
According to Aida Mahmudova, artists from Azerbaijan, the UK, Russia, the US, Georgia and the Netherlands will unveil their work at a variety of sites in Baku over a 6 month period. Works range from a human-powered mobile park by Rebar Group (US), to a giant inflatable rubber duck by Florentijn Hofman (Netherlands) and a public confessional installation by Afet Baghirova (Azerbaijan). Audience participation is a key element of the festival which will be accompanied by a series of public lectures, masterclasses and workshops.
Local artist participants:
Afet Baghirova
Chingiz Babayev
Farkhad Hagverdiyev
Orkhan Mammad
Sabina Shikhlinskaya
Launching " PARTICIPATE" will be 9th Apartment, by the Georgian collective Group Bouillon, who are representing their country's official pavilion at this year's Venice Biennale. They will paint an entire apartment white in the presence of festival visitors; this redecorating process restricts the audience's movements, questioning our notions of personal freedom in public spaces with particular reference to the Soviet and post-Soviet eras. As the collective say; "In the Soviet period there was no public space, the space which the government called 'public' was used by them for their political agend."
Florentijn Hofman brings a playful element to the festival with her 12 metre high, Rubber Duck. The inflatable giant sculpture will be tinged with nostalgic childhood memories for many visitors, as the artist explains: "It is relatable, deeply personal whilst simultaneously universal, erasing the limiting confines of culture, language, age and experience." Altering the way we experience art, as well as public spaces, an unexpected encounter with the Rubber Duck will delight and surprise audiences.
Parkcycle by Rebar Group (a US collective) is a small mobile park, complete with tree, that will be cycled through Baku. Described by the group as a "human-powered, open space distribution system" Park cycle debuted in San Francisco in 2007, offering immediate access to green space for the neighborhoods it parked in. By bringing the project to Baku, Rebar Group aims to extend the functions and possibilities of public sculpture whilst raising awareness of cycle-power, community participation and the importance of green space.
The projects presented by the local Azerbaijani artists will focus on engaging with festival audiences and the everyday lives of those living and working in Baku. For her work entitled Tell Me Your Secret artist Afet Baghirova asks the public to confidentially record their secrets via a sculpted ear, and to listen to others' secrets on the reverse side using headphones. Orkhan Mammad's work VIP underpass is concerned with the urban realities of life in Baku. By adorning several neglected underpasses in the city to create a VIP, 'red carpet' effect, he hopes to raise public awareness and encourage the use of the walkways.
Chingiz Babayev's philosophical multimedia project, Positive or Negative? will chart public emotions in Baku by questioning commuters about their state of mind. Farkhad Hagverdi conversely, will look at the most private and most neglected space in Baku, the backyard. In response to the public, polished facades of Azerbaijan's capital he will transform these often overlooked private areas into brightly coloured spaces, hoping to engage the public interest in these neglected spaces.
With varied and extensive public engagement and artworks diverse in media and meaning, 2013's PARTICIPATE: Baku Public Arts festival looks set to transform the city during its 6 month duration. The artists aim to engage with the city to improve it, socially and creatively, and bring awareness to a host of issues that they believe can be tackled and interacted with though public art.
During the festival, there will be a range of educational events featuring artists, curators and speakers from around the globe. This will provide international audiences with the chance to experience Baku and Azerbaijan as a destination for ground-breaking contemporary art.
A full colour catalogue will accompany the exhibition.
YARAT Contemporary Art Space
Founded in 2011 by Aida Mahmudova, YARAT is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to nurturing an understanding of contemporary art in Azerbaijan and to creating a platform for Azerbaijani art, both nationally and internationally.
Based in Baku, YARAT, (which means CREATE in Azerbaijani) realises its mission through an ongoing program of exhibitions, education events, and festivals. YARAT facilitates dialogue and exchange between local and international artistic networks, including foundations, galleries and museums. A series of residencies further fosters opportunities for global cultural dialogue and partnerships.
YARAT's educational initiatives include lectures, seminars, master classes, and the Young Artist Project ARTIM (meaning PROGRESS in Azerbaijani). ARTIM aims to encourage the next generation of Azerbaijani creative talent to seek a career in the arts and gives young practitioners the opportunity to exhibit their works in a professional context.
Founded as part of YARAT's ongoing commitment to growing local art infrastructure, YAY Gallery is a commercial exhibition space. In line with this, YAY (meaning SHARE in Azerbaijani) shares all proceeds from sales between the artist and YARAT and supports a range of national and international artists.


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