Azerbaijani artists are tackling gender taboos in this bold group show for Tbilisi Art Fair

Azerbaijani artists are tackling gender taboos in this bold group show for Tbilisi Art Fair

14 May 2019

This year’s edition of Tbilisi Art Fair will feature a major group show out of Azerbaijan, tackling questions of gender and history in honour of the centenary of women’s suffrage in the Caucasian state.

To Be a Woman, presented by the Baku United Artists Club and authored by Sabina Shikhlinskaya, presents works by 10 artists and features audio-visual installations, animation, photography, poetry, sound design, and performance art.

One of the highlights of the show is Vulgar Poetry, a collaborative work between photographer Chinara Madjidova and poet Leyli Salayeva. The work depicts 12 women reciting a poem consisting of the derogatory remarks they have received from men. Madjidova will also present The VOICE, a video piece exploring the world of female bazaar vendors in Azerbaijan.

Feminism is often a controversial subject in the Caucasus, where patriarchal attitudes are common. In rural Azerbaijan, women are often expected to carry out hard physical labour alongside their traditional domestic roles.

Azerbaijan was the first majority-Muslim country in the world to declare equal voting rights for women, in 1918. To Be a Woman seeks to document and rethink this historical background, as well as addressing the situation on the ground in today’s Azerbaijan — from families to schools and national politics.

The show opens on 16 May at Pavilion 3. Tbilisi Art Fair runs at Expo Georgia from 16-19 May.

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