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Yusif Mirza

Yusif Mirza

1959 Born in the Lachin district of Azerbaijan
He began drawing while still very young. One of his earliest paintings was published in the 'Pioneer' magazine.
1976 Entered the Graphics Faculty of the Baku Pedagogical Institute
1980    His first Solo Exhibition, at the Institute, "Lachin Etudes"
1981    Graduated, awarded a distinction for his painting diploma thesis
1981-85 Worked as an artist in the Lachin Folk Theatre, designing and painting scenery
From 1985 successfully participated in exhibitions in Azerbaijan and foreign countries
Member of the Azerbaijan Artists' Union
He works in painting, graphics and sculpture
Known for his distinctive method, unusual style and individual signature, and his work arouses great interest. He focuses especially on his artistic inheritance, combining innovation with the preservation of tradition. His works unite the ancient with the modern, simplicity, with the elaborate and the direct, intuition with professionalism they are brought together by sheer mastery. His experimentation with ancient art forms has contributed to his success; he imbues the ancient with a new quality and spirit and induces it to speak in a modern idiom.
One of his achievements has been to revive, develop and bring to modern art the traditions of the Gobustan rock drawings (formed in Azerbaijan 13-14,000 years BC) resulting in a new, perfectly-formed style of art.
Not for nothing is he referred to as "the artist who awakened the memory of Gobustan".
He has established his own, inimitable style. Admirers of his work believe he is unique in forming a completely new, modernistic style based on 30-35,000 years of tradition.
He is inspired to create by the drawings of Gobustan and other ancient art forms. He explains his aims and ideas thus:
Old traditions with modern interpretation
The proof of his achievement lies within his paintings
He uses traditional materials: pastel, ink, water-colors, oils, charcoal, sanqina and sepia etc. but has his own special methods of application which help to impart a deep psychological impression and magical mood while embodying an underlying philosophy.
The success of past achievement is not enough for him; he is constantly working and seeking further development.
In 2005 he developed his own new pastel technique and produced a whole new cycle of paintings.
Yusif Mirza is always capable of surprising lovers of the arts and his work always generates interest and discussion.
The artist himself refers to his style as, "Meditative, associative and conceptual avant-garde." For us this title is symbolic of the enormous compass of his art.
His works are held by the Azerbaijan Union of Artists, Baku Art Centre, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Economic Development, in the embassies of Norway, the United Kingdom, Japan, Turkey and Romania, the Statoil company, the Norwegian Humanitarian Enterprise (NHE) and other offices, museums and galleries.
His works are in private collections in the USA, England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Holland, Cyprus, Iran, Turkey, Lithuania, Israel, Australia, Romania, Yugoslavia, India, New Zealand, Spain, Colombia, Singapore etc.
His paintings have been reproduced in catalogues, books, magazines, greetings cards and calendars.
In 2000, 'Aztelefilm' made a film about the artist, called "Light". The film is frequently shown, to great interest, on Azerbaijan television.
In Azerbaijan and other countries he has had solo exhibitions and he has been on working tours.
In 2001, he was invited to Turgu-Jui in Gors, the homeland of the great Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi; an artist whose work is admired and promulgated by Mirza. He had a solo exhibition there and worked on a number of landscape paintings.
He has very close ties with Norway.
His mutual cooperation with the NHE has brought him recognition in Norway and he has carried out many projects with the organization.
His painting 'Mugam' has featured on T-shirts, calendars and greetings cards.
He was involved in the design of a CD combining Azerbaijani musicians with the famous Norwegian Skruk chorus. A book accompanied the CD of Azerbaijani folk songs, and was fronted by his painting, 'Khatira' (Memory).
In 1999-2000 Thor Heyerdahl visited Azerbaijan and Yusif Mirza met the great Norwegian scientist, researcher and voyager and showed his paintings. Heyerdahl appreciated the artist's use of ancient artistic traditions.
As a mark of respect for the great scientist, Mirza's solo exhibition on 2002 was dedicated to the memory of Thor Heyerdahl. The exhibition was sponsored by Statoil, the NHE and the Norwegian Embassy in Azerbaijan.
A painting was displayed in the exhibition entitled, "Til Thor Heyerdahl Minne", dedicated to his memory. The painting is now in the KONTIKI Museum.
His 2006 calendar, "Ancient Caucasian Albania", containing works reflecting the historical past, was organized and published with the sponsorship of the Norwegian Humanitarian Enterprise. It has been very well received and is on the walls of many different countries of the world.
Last year, together with the NHE, he undertook an interesting project to give art classes in the Mardakan boarding school No 3, bringing much joy to the children there.
Yusif Mirza is in his most fruitful period of creation; he is working on new paintings and sculptures.
He is married. His wife, Peri, is an engineer mathematician. He has 2 children: his daughter, Esmer, is nine years old; his son, Ali is just two years old.

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