With a love for the myriad colours and grains of rare woods, Jabrail Guliyev composes his intricate mosaics in celebration of all of nature
My first memory of art is when I was 10. That was the age I started to take art classes at a centre known as The House of Pioneers. Despite the fact that I went on to study at Azim Azimzadeh Art College and finally Azerbaijan State University of Culture and Arts, it wasn’t until I graduated from university that I realized I had potential as an artist.
Today my primary studio is in my home village of Binagadi. I have another in the House of Artists in Baku, but I paint mostly in the village.
I’m trained in fine art and sculpture but I’ve always been drawn to woodwork. I’ve used the technique known as intarsia for about 15 years now. It is a way of inlaying wood of different types and colours. I track down the materials myself, using wood chips from rare trees in Azerbaijan, Russia, Asia, Africa and Canada. I’m always searching for the right colours in the wood – to paint over the natural God-given colouring would be a sin!
Although it’s difficult to put my finger on exactly why I love the medium, I think it probably comes from my love for nature – it is one of my key inspirations. I find my creativity in the beauty of my surroundings, the colours, the textures and the shapes. When I work with wood I feel I am totally connected with nature.
Photography by Natavan Vahabova
This story appeared in the Summer 2014 issue of Baku magazine.