Nazrinka Musayeva is a multidisciplinary artist based in Baku, Azerbaijan. She often recycles non-traditional materials to create larger-than-life installations both in public and private spaces. Here, Nazrinka discusses her passion for creating something out of nothing and why her unorthodox practice is so important to her.
Q: How did art first enter your life?
Nazrinka: I have always been fond of art since childhood; my sister and I would spend our time painting or making gifts for our loved ones. As a supporter of our then hobbies, our mom put us in a drawing group. We were there for a month, and then when our work was not selected for exhibitions, we became upset and abandoned the group altogether. Since then, we haven't visited an art studio, but the craving for art remained. I wove bracelets, sewed soft toys and apparel for dolls, and then one day, my parents decided that art should become my direction in life, especially since I was not particularly good at school. All subjects, except Russian, literature, and drawing, were difficult for me, but from the first time I painted for other people, nothing else seemed to interest me.
After graduating from school, I entered the Academy of Arts in decorative and applied arts. There, I met many artistic styles and discovered different types of tapestry weaving. At the same time, I was engaged in modeling, graphics, and design. I tried out many of my own strengths in the arts, tested my capabilities, and was driven by my addiction to art. At one point, I even left fine arts and became fascinated by photography. I shot everything and learned about photography through reading and the internet. However, after a year of photography, my interest in it cooled down. I realized that it was not for me. Now, I don't even take a camera around with me, and if I need to take a photo of something, I just use the camera on my phone.
When did you stat using non-traditional materials in your work?
The first experience for me was during the preparation of an exhibition by YARAT. The theme of the exhibition called for me to show the connection of contemporary art with the past. My work took the form of a giant binocular that was made up of 400 smaller binoculars. Through the function of approximation-distance, the piece allowed you to both look at the past and into the future. It was my first acquaintance with metal. I didn’t really understand what wire rod was, nor what welding was. However, the result was definitely worth it.
Video art was no less interesting for me. I love animals and decided to show the attitude of people towards them. The work turned out to be psychedelic. The video consisted of a child, a successful person with a girl, and a poacher. They were spinning to specific music on three chairs and in the background was a cage with a little bear cub, which I filmed at the zoo. By the way, I really do not like zoos nor circuses, and when I go there, I experience stress and only come to my senses after a very long time. In all these works, the theme is somehow addressed to animals, because I am very concerned about their fate when in the hands of people.
How did plastic bags start appearing in your works?
In my country, an international project called “From Waste to Art” was somehow conducted, which made it necessary to create work from garbage and showcase it in exhibitions. I decided to turn to street art, as this is the closest thing to me. I used ordinary plastic bags as a material. I collected them all from acquaintances, relatives, and friends; sometimes I had to look for packages in the right colors on the streets. I created a job that I called "Second-Art." Plastic bags are materials that harm a lot of animals, and the idea for this particular kind of art was born out of this thought. The result was unexpected even for me, because for the first time, I used such unexpected yet simple materials. I used only bags, glue, and a stapler.
What are your plans for the near future?
I dream of a personal exhibition and am already persistently preparing for it. In addition to the old works, I am going to make new paintings made of packages. I'm very superstitious so I won't go into too many details, but I will say this: If everything works out, then you might see my exhibition next Spring.
Thanks for sharing, Nazrinka! We appreciate your commitment to your craft! ◆
You can find more of Nazrinka's work on her Tumblr.