Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Day Off

"Shut up and be quiet," was written in red ink on a calendar for today. Having a day off in the middle of the week usually means that I pile all sorts of errands and social obligations there and as a result those days are eaten away by mad rush from one place to another. Not long ago I vowed to fill those off days only with things that bring pleasure and that phrase was my reminder.

After leisurely morning of catching up with emails I headed for the National Art Museum. The older building of the complex had some problems with electricity so I opted for the newly renovated building instead, which is located slightly higher up Niyazi Street. Besides its permanent exhibition it houses now a wonderful display of Central Asian Ikats brought to Baku by Victoria and Albert Museum. Centuries old, the ikat technique is a complex sequence of tie-dyeing silk threads to create elaborate patterns in striking colours. And those colours combination are really striking. I am deeply convinced that though these textiles reached a high point in production and popularity in nineteenth century Central Asia, they became inspiration to hippies all over the world. Just take a look....

Woman's dress with purple, pink and yellow design on an orange backgroundsize. Central Asia after 1900 Central AsiaAfter 1900 From the Rau collection; Image © V&A

Jokes aside this collection of ikat robes and hangings provide a great introduction to the inventive and colourful ikat fabrics of Central Asia.

The rest of the second floor is devoted to the works of Azerbaijani artists. There were many interesting paintings there but vibrant blue images of Sattar Bahlulzade's works and wooden sculptures of Omar Eldarov were among my favourites. The first floor I had to skim since I was running out of time but the collection of Russian artists there was surprisingly impressive. (They have Kuindzi there, and Aivazovski, and Tropinin and, amazingly. Brulov, to name just a few.)

My next stop was The Tea Party at the Turkish Embassy. And what a treat it was! There was a wonderful dance and music performance by the kids, a short documentary about Turkey, plenty of delicious finger food and hand on demonstration of traditional Turkish drawing/printing technique. OK, I am not sure if it can be called drawing because it is more like drawing on water except it isn't water but some mix of water and oil (?). It is said that picture costs thousand words so .....

At first it looks like this,

Then you carefully place paint here and there trying not to disturb the surface too much;

After you come to conclusion that it is enough colour, you take a long needle and draw, lightly, very lightly, whatever you want, using the needle as if you are using a wand.

Now, cover your creation with a list of paper and carefully pull it towards yourself...

Voila, your "print" is ready!

Of course,professional results look like that...

The "Shut up and be quiet" reminder has obviouslybeen ignored today, but all the things I did were a pure delight.

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