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Baku seen from the Martyrs' Memorial
Written by Rajoo on July 17, 2020 Share on

The Contemporary Galleries in Baku – A vibrant Modern Art scene

Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan, has a rich heritage and, as it develops at great speed, it is quickly becoming a new destination for contemporary art lovers. Today, Baku, is a cultural gem in the Caucasus that has a vibrant modern art scene with numerous galleries spread around the city. Here are the best contemporary art galleries in Baku.

1. Baku Museum of Modern Art

The Museum of Modern Art, or the MIM as it’s referred to, is home to an outstanding contemporary collection of Azeri and European masters. Its main mission is to present the works of local avant-garde artists from the second half of the 20th century. The Museum was initiated by the First Lady, Mehribad Aliyeva, and opened to the public in 2009. The Museum has, as it is defined, a ‘moving abstract structure’ thanks to its bright white walls and open spaces where no walls or corridors stop the visual flow, developing a multidimensional perspective to each exhibited work.

2. Museum Center and Art Gallery

Once serving as the arm of the Soviet Lenin Museum, following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Museum Center was renamed and re-conceptualized in 1991. Today, besides hosting several Azerbaijani State Museums under one roof, it boasts an exceptional modern art gallery located on the 4th floor of the Museum, and covers five distinct halls. On the top floor, the art gallery’s halls are covered by a stunning glass roof, giving the space natural light all day long. The gallery displays works ranging from contemporary fine art to photographs, sculptures, graphics and designs, and hosts constantly changing solo exhibitions from acclaimed Azeri and international artists.

Also read: Explore the Most Beautiful Architecture in Baku, Azerbaijan

3. Heydar Aliyev Center

Heydar Aliyev Center, Baku
Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons

This iconic, multi-functional cultural complex, symbolic of national pride and the formation of civil society, is justly considered as the signature landmark building of Baku. The architectural concept, the robustness, and the peerless design make the Heydar Aliyev Center worth a visit. It is also home to a conference hall, a museum and 9-story exhibition hall. Designed by the internationally acclaimed Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid, the complex opened its doors in 2012 with the inaugural exhibition of Life, Death and Beauty showcasing over 100 masterpieces from the exceptional Andy Warhol. Although this start set the bar high, the Heydar Aliyev Center has continued to put on an outstanding selection of art exhibitions ever since, displaying unique solo shows of internationally recognized contemporary photographers, sculptors and painters.

Suggested Read: Best Museums to Visit in Baku Azerbaijan

4. Yeni Gallery

Initiated in 1988 by a few emerging artists, who later collaborated under the establishment of the Association Of Creative Youth of Azerbaijan, the venue became the city’s most prominent cultural hub. Yeni translates as ‘new’, which reveals the gallery’s intention to help emerging artists; fostering creative artistic expression; and being an open and accessible platform for any novel art movements. The gallery represents established and newcomer artists alike under various profiles, ranging from photographers to architects, composers, vocalists and poets. It thus creates a stimulating, multifaceted contemporary art centre.

National Art Museum of Baku
Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons

5. Yay Gallery

YAY Gallery, or the ‘share’ Gallery in English is an outgrowth of the YARAT Contemporary Art Space. YAY Gallery is the direct result of the collective desires of artists and art-dealers. The gallery is a social enterprise with YAY sharing all proceeds from sales of work between the artists and YARAT.  In addition to six exhibitions a year, the gallery has rapidly established a strong following for its program of talks and publications which will uphold its inclusive mission.

6. Natavan Gallery & Club

Another commercial gallery is Natavan Gallery & Club, just beside the sea promenade of Baku. This is a new player in the city’s contemporary art scene. Though it has barely celebrated its one year anniversary, the Natavan Gallery has already established its name by participating at acclaimed art festivals and becoming a favoured spot for buyers and art enthusiasts alike. It is named after the owner, Aliveva Natavan, who, with the help of creative director Neymatova Sayyara, aimed at creating a place that fuses a wide range of styles, trends and artistic voices. Natavan also displays photomontages, sketches, and fine arts from various artists apart from its primary home of great selection of Azeri paintings.

Azerbaijan National Art Museum
Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons

7. Art Group

Art Group is a unique, creative complex that was established in 1995 by local artists Elmar and Jamelya Gashiev. What makes this venue novel is that since 2000 it has also functioned as a design studio, with the main focus on interior, exterior and architectural design projects. ART GROUP promotes fine and decorative Azeri art in a great variety of mediums, ranging from paintings, photographs, carpets, and antiques. ART GROUP’s sister site is ART Garden, one of the top cultural restaurants in Baku known for its traditional culinary practice.

Also Read: Amazing Reasons to Visit Azerbaijan

8. Kiçik QalArt

This establishment scarcely self-publicizes, and yet is an active participant in Azeri cultural life with exhibitions attracting constant media interest. The Gallery itself is located in Almaty’s Old City and was established in 2009. Kiçik QalArt is also home to diverse events, most of them exploring modern-day themes -such as world peace or office life, upholding the features of today’s contemporary art galleries.

Baku, National Art Museum
Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons

9. Qiz Qalasi Gallery

Qiz Qalasi Gallery, set beside the old city’s iconic Maiden Towers, is currently one of the most influential art hubs in Baku. Founded by the prestigious Azeri artist Salhab Mammadov in 1999  the gallery exclusively showcases the finest contemporary Azerbaijani art pieces. Today, Qiz Qalasi acts as a dynamic centre for exhibitions, and commercial activities. The gallery is an active participant in international art fairs and art competitions, marketing and sharing the Azeri art landscape. Qiz Qalasi Gallery maintains a strong collaboration with well-established local artists. However, the Berlin-Baku Gallery is an excellent international joint exhibition that is featured by both locations.

Also read: Places To Visit In Baku On Your Vacation To Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan’s cultural background is quite rich and diverse, offering both incredible history and some fantastic modern facilities, connected with arts and culture. Baku’s best museums and galleries represent different epochs of the country’s cultural environment. They include ancient rock carvings, contemporary art and everything in between. Check some of the best Azerbaijan holiday packages and book your trip now with Pickyourtrail and “leave a Whatsapp inquiry  for more options.” Install the best travel app from Playstore and IOS.

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