Azerbaijani artist Fidan Kim finds inspiration in everything around her, but most often from her own dreams
Art is a reflection of my soul. I know that art often has some sort of defining aesthetic characterized perhaps by a message that runs through it, or is a reflection of certain life experiences, but I’m not sure if I can categorize my own artistic practice under any one theme. What all my pieces have in common, however, is their incorporation of national symbols and folk art. Every piece I create is influenced by some aspect of Azerbaijani culture. Art should touch your soul in some way. It’s our best weapon to fight all that is bad in life. It can encourage, it can make us think about things in a different way.
I’ve loved art since my childhood – nothing else made me feel as happy and alive. I was 12 years old when I realized I was an artist, but I was actually as young as three or four when I painted my first watercolour. My grandmother was the first person to notice this passion. She encouraged me, along with my mother, who’s been the biggest support during this crazy journey that’s seen my work shown in Paris, Beijing, Moscow and Tbilisi. I’m currently with Q Gallery here in Baku’s Old Town.
I work in several different media, from painting to drawing, and can use pretty much anything to make art. I’ll work with any surface or paint available to me – the material doesn’t really make a difference – what’s important is the idea. My inspiration comes from people – their stories and their dreams. Dreams are very important to me, and are where I get a lot of my ideas. In fact, often I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and have to grab a piece of paper and make a quick sketch then and there, before going back to sleep. This way, I make sure, come morning, I won’t have forgotten it all.
My studio is in my home and is like a little planet I can hide on, away from the outside world. I also work at the studio of my mentor, the artist Raida Mustafa Sultan, which is a paradise for art students. I’ve known Raida for 10 years and she is as close to me as a member of my family. I owe all my success to her.
I teach children from boarding schools who have health problems, and soon we’ll be putting on an exhibition of their art. I’ve been involved in some other exciting initiatives recently, too, including a project with Leyla Aliyeva and the Beat Group management company entitled ‘Novruz No Rules’, with a holiday exhibition of eggs painted by artists and auctioned to raise money for children with leukaemia.
I will also be working with Leyla Aliyeva on some other projects, including a heart-shaped sculpture – she’s an important muse for me.
Collaboration and exchange are extremely important, especially between artists, poets and musicians. There are so many talented people in Baku, and so much is happening here right now that I really believe the city is experiencing a golden age.
Photographs by Nathan Vahabova
This story appears in the Autumn/Winter 2018 issue of Baku magazine. Pick up your copy on newsstands now.