Conceptual sculptor and painter Butunay Haqverdiyev’s evolving creative practice spans various media and genres. Born in Baku, he studied in the painting faculty at the Azim Azimzade Art College before continuing his fine art education in Moscow at the British Higher School of Art and Design. However, as a teenager he was already an accomplished painter, having worked with a group of artists on the painting and restoration of frescoes in an orthodox church from 2003-2008, in Baku. His first personal exhibition was held in 2010 at the Contemporary Art Center in Baku, and since that time he has participated in a number of significant group exhibitions in Baku and abroad in Russia, France, and Italy.
In 2013, his work was featured in the national pavilion of Azerbaijan at the 55th Venice Biennale in Italy and in 2015 his wooden sculptures of Azerbaijani carpet motifs were shown in the exhibition ‘Azerbaijani Carpets in Art’ in the Cannes Festival Palace in France, and they were then featured at the Carpet Museum in Baku. Back in Baku, he held the solo exhibition ‘Crossing’ at Q Gallery in Icheri Sheher in 2014 and continued to exhibit in group shows. In 2016 he participated in a month-long artist residency at a gallery on Svalbard Island in Norway. Since that time, he has been working on a number of projects including digital art and a large sculpture installation.
Inspired by the natural world, his recent works include watercolors and studies for larger sculptural projects. His intimate watercolor series grew out of his deep interest in and research into the sentience of plants and animals; through his work he considers how the environment can be seen from a different point of view. In the series, he paints delicate anthropomorphic flowers and detailed bionic animals to represent their interaction with humanity. His work has a social message, asking us to reevaluate our relationship to nature and to expand our own perception of what the natural environment is as a whole, with humans as a part of it. His sculptures also replicate and reorganize organic designs and forms – he shapes wood into complicated 3D representations of animals and structures like beehives. In his more abstract works, his sculptures look like 3D puzzles, mimicking natural shapes and structures. As he prepares for new projects, his practice continues to transform. He is increasingly working with 3D modeling software to create digital paintings and landscapes, reflecting on how technology interacts with the environment. In this medium he pushes his practice into a new aesthetic and conceptual realm, exploring how humanity’s desire to grow and change has consequences for all of the beings in the world around us.