Baku-based artist and designer Aydan Mirzayeva originally studied Industrial Design at the Azerbaijan State Academy of Fine Arts before shifting to conceptual art in 2014, which began with her participation in the annual ‘Waste to Art’ exhibition of Azerbaijani and international artists. Since then she has been active in both local and international exhibitions, including the 2015 Sharjah Islamic Art festival in Sharjah, UAE, and her participation in Yarat’s 2017 ARTIM residency program in Baku.
Aydan works across various media including photography, installation and performance, often combining various forms of expression across her work. In 2016, as part of her project for ARTIM, she contributed the work ‘One’ about the rhythm of the human heartbeat, which also included her first public performance where she read haiku aloud. In 2017, she participated in a number of exhibitions in Baku as part of ARTIM, including the project ‘Who Cares?’ an interactive installation and performance where she invited the public to help her with her problems, which were written on paper in clear envelopes for visitors to see and discuss with her, and the exhibition ‘Zero’ curated by Faig Ahmed. In the 2017 exhibition ‘Made in Azerbaijan’ curated by Farhad Farzali, she created an interactive installation from grapevine and light, with the shadows creating designs that mimic Arabic script, an abstract interpretation of the language of nature. It marks an important moment in her artistic direction, as the theme of nature has become a prominent force in her work. For the graduation exhibition of the 2017 ARTIM residency participants held in March 2018, during which she received the top award, Aydan used pastel chalk to trace gradations in the cross sections of wood, highlighting the personality and individuality of the trees and the stories that they contain within their form. She considered the work to be a collaboration with nature in which she worked in artistic dialogue with the grain of the wood.
In July 2018, Aydan was invited to participate in the CEC ArtsLink ART PROSPECT Residency at IZOLYATSIA in Kiev, Ukraine. Her research again inspired her to focus on nature and its relationship to humans, specifically in the urban environment of Kiev. In her final work for the residency, exhibited on July 22, she revisited her pastel technique on wood veneer to highlight the growth lines and patterns of the wood grain. To Aydan, the lines of growth in the wood represented the language of the trees and are a tangible record of their life experiences. This language told the history of the natural world that occurred in parallel to the history of the human population of Kiev. Included in the project is the hashtag #monologueoftree, through which she invited people to share the history of the tree, thereby extending its story and emphasizing the symbiosis of humanity and nature. Her intention to highlight the beauty and autonomy of nature makes her work so compelling and personal, and by inviting people to interact with her work, she adds depth to the aesthetic experience, leaving a lasting impact.