An exhibition of textiles by 2019 Shangri La artist-in-residence, Faig Ahmed (b. 1982, Azerbaijan). Ahmed's surreal textile sculptures incorporate and reinterpret traditional carpet-weaving techniques from his native country into hyper-contemporary forms.

Faig AhmedShangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design

Artist Profile

Faig Ahmed is an internationally-recognized artist from Baku, Azerbaijan known for his conceptual works utilizing traditional craft re-imagined as contemporary sculptural artworks. He explores fresh new visual forms that both examine and challenge tradition, through the use of iconic cultural objects. Ahmed’s work engages viewers through its juxtaposition of tradition with hyper-contemporaneity, digitally distorting images through pixelation and three-dimensional shapes.

Faig Ahmed speaking about his work at Shangri La Museum

Untitled 1 by Faig AhmedShangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design

The artworks are playful but also challenge assumptions about form, function, and the nature of craft.

The three works which were on display at Shangri La include a traditional Azeri carpet pattern that dissolves into a lush blue mass,

Untitled 2 by Faig AhmedShangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design

an epic illusionist play on perspective,

Door of Doors by Faig AhmedShangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design

and an “infinite” repeated pattern inspired by Buddhist mandalas.

Faig Ahmed opening at Shangri LaShangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design

Faig Ahmed represented Azerbaijan at the nation’s inaugural pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2007, and has exhibited his works worldwide — including group and solo exhibitions in New York, Paris, London, Berlin, Rome, Dubai, and Moscow. In 2013, he was nominated for the Jameel Prize 3 at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Faig AhmedShangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design

Ahmed also exhibited his works at the Honolulu Museum of Art during his residency with Shangri La in 2019.

Faig AhmedShangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design

Ahmed's works "DNA" and "Epiphany" (respectively), exhibited in the Arts of the Islamic World Gallery Annex, Honolulu Museum of Art

"DNA," 2016, handmade woolen carpet

Ahmed’s artwork speaks to the power of patterns to communicate messages across generations and cultures, drawing links between early human history with the digital age. The distortions in DNA are inspired by scientific attempts to describe metaphysical experiences, suggesting new ideas about the nature of reality and the limits of human perception.

"Epiphany," 2016, handmade woolen carpet

Flow, change, transformation, disappearance and disintegration are reoccurring themes in Ahmed’s works: the tension between the stability of traditional carpet designs, the rigidity of our perception of carpets, and the artist’s intention of capturing a fleeting, unstable phenomena. The yawning holes represent not damage, but insight – a jolting flash of observation and awareness.

Faig AhmedShangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design

Credits: Story

Faig Ahmed was an artist-in-residence at Shangri La from January 12 to January 22, 2019.

Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design
Honolulu, Hawai'i

Shangri La is a museum for learning about the global culture of Islamic art and design through exhibitions, digital and educational initiatives, public tours and programs, and community partnerships.

Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design is a program of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation through the Doris Duke Foundation For Islamic Art.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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