Self-taught artist Soltanli explores the issues of life, society norms and behaviours in his latest exhibition “The Intimate Beauty” at YAY Gallery in Baku
An exhibition of an Azerbaijani graphic artist and cartoonist Soltan Soltanli opened at the YAY Gallery on February 15. Curated by Lesley Gray, it features around 30 works of the artist, who has gained international fame for his evocative work.
Brought up in a small village in Azerbaijan’s Agsu region, Soltanli went against his father’s wishes, who did not believe in a job as an artist, so the boy painted in secret. Soltanli studied classic Azerbaijani literature, poetry and philosophy — his work is a contemporary interpretation on the concepts of truth and beauty
Soltanli explores primitivism and aesthetic realism to capture the authentic nature of his subjects: using perspectives and vibrant, unexpected colours, he paints animals, people and landscape that carry a higher purpose and symbolize purity of emotion. His message is simply — Soltanli exposes universal human truths to serve and inspire the humanity itself. His works may seem surreal, but the artist himself rejects this label – he does not seek to deceive a viewer, but to illuminate the relationship between the depicted objects by using an illusion.
On the first floor, fantastical landscapes are hung next to images of rural life. The combination explores the world of nature as a source of beauty and wonder as well as purpose and labour. Upstairs, one will find a collection of portraits that express the connection between humanity and nature, illuminating the complexity of myriad relationships between people and the world around them.
Soltanli paints and explores with a sense of humour, allowing his viewers to see the inner beauty of everyday life. He is also a talented graphic artist and caricaturist, a participant of international contests and exhibitions.
“The Intimate Beauty” exhibition will run until April 1 at YAY Gallery