Born in Ganja but now based in Baku, Orkhan Garayev Elvella is a prolific artist for his relatively young age. Orkhan came to Baku to attend the Azerbaijan State Academy of Fine Arts and has since built an artistic practice that includes graphic art, illustration, sculpture and painting. He has exhibited his artwork widely in both Azerbaijan and abroad, including exhibitions in Germany, France, Russia and Turkey. His work is also held in private collections in Turkey, Georgia, France and the United Arab Emirates.
Orkhan is widely known and respected for his paintings, which feature complex and emotional compositions that represent social and spiritual themes. He is constantly creating new work that builds upon his current practice to further develop his unique aesthetic, which echoes elements of surrealism and cubist composition but rendered with a contemporary sensibility. Many of his works include animals and vegetal iconography that are symbolic of inner exploration, making his artwork contemplative and intriguing. He layers his canvases with swirls of color and patterns from which more figurative images emerge, playing with perspective and depth that shows the influence of graphic art in his works. In addition to his many exhibitions in Azerbaijan, he has also been involved in exhibitions and projects with Yarat Contemporary Art Space including the 2014 exhibition ‘Invasion Museum’ and 2016 exhibition ‘Half Truth’ with ARTIM, as well as the experimental ‘Art Dialogue’ performance in 2016 during which he created a painting that responded in real time to the live reading of poetry of Sabina Velibekova alongside music composed by Ramin Guliyev. In 2017 his work was featured in the ‘Art Rising’ exhibition of emerging artists at the National Museum of Art and the ‘Spectrum’ group exhibition at Natavan Gallery in Icheri Sheher, Baku. He has participated in various art festivals such as the 8th International Maiden Tower Art Festival, the 6th exhibition of the ‘From Waste to Art’ project at the Qala Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum Complex in 2017 and the 2018 ‘NovruzNorules’ outdoor exhibition at Port Baku.
In 2018, Orkhan’s work was recognized when he won the third-place prize at the Semeni International Art Exhibition at the Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku. In addition, he participated in the ‘From the Beginning to the End’ group exhibition at the White City Gallery and the May 2018 group exhibition ‘1918’ at Gazelli Art House, which was organized around the theme of 100th anniversary of the declaration of the Azerbaijani Democratic Republic, and featured many important emerging and established Azerbaijani artists. Orkhan’s triptych ‘Cal’, ‘Reincarnation’ and ‘Changing Reality’ was a mixed-media piece that featured archival black-and-white photos of Azerbaijan that the artist then reinterpreted in vibrant paintings in his contemporary style. For his latest project, Orkhan has contributed work to the September 2018 ARTIM exhibition ‘Full Emptiness’ of virtual reality art through his new composition within the digital dimension, allowing for visitors to fully immerse themselves into the 3D labyrinth of his artwork. The new media suits his style and aesthetic, and suggests that the artist’s experimental exploration of emotional landscapes will continue to push conceptual boundaries as his practice matures.