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Faig Ahmed: Textile Artists Series

The Art Carpets of Faig Ahmed: Thinking Beyond the Possibilities

If one were to describe the works of artist Faig Ahmed, the word most likely to be chosen would be surreal. It is difficult to avoid a comparison between Ahmed’s melting Persian carpets and the works of Salvador Dali. They have the same type of mind-bending perspective that asks us to examine what is real and what is not in our world.

Synthetic Enlightenment Rug by Faig Ahmed | Nazmiyal

“Synthetic Enlightenment”, a handmade wool rug by Faig Ahmed, from his Flood collection.

Traditions That Inspire by Artist Faig Ahmed

Faig Ahmed was born in 1982 in Sumqayit, Azerbaijan. His art works are contemporary and integrate the traditional art forms with techniques that are borrowed from the abstract artists of the mid-20th century. Ahmed is a formally trained artist who graduated from the Azerbaijan State Academy of Fine Arts in Baku in 2004, majoring in sculptural design. In 2007, his work was featured in the first pavilion of the Venice Biennalle.

Ahmed recalls his early childhood experiences with traditional rugs. Carpets and rugs were a large part of the world in which he grew up. The carpets and rugs were on the floors and the walls of every room. He always played with the patterns on the area rugs, imagining them as roads, gardens, dragons and other inventions of his imagination.

One day, his parents left for the day, and he decided to change the patterns in the rugs. He cut the carpet into pieces. He never managed to rearrange them before his parents arrived home. He was never punished, but the carpets were removed from his room. Now, as an adult, he is free to rearrange the patterns in the carpets as he pleases.

Dragon Path Carpet by Faig Ahmed | Nazmiyal

“Dragon Path”, a handmade wool carpet by Faig Ahmed, from his Graffiti Series.

Faig Ahmed Merges Traditional and Modern Design

Faig Ahmed’s art works must be seen to be believed. Although he works in a number of different mediums, his best known works are his textiles. He uses the traditional art of Azerbaijani carpet weaving to create optical illusions and distortions. He takes the traditional design and warps its, melts it, pixelates it and unravels it. By doing this, he pays homage to the traditional arts of Azerbaijan and takes it into the world of modern art.

Osho Faig Ahmed - Nazmiyal

“Osho” by Faig Ahmed

Traditional Azerbaijani carpets are not something that is usually associated with modern art, but artist Faig Ahmed has managed to merge the worlds of classical and contemporary art in a way that creates ties to the past and present. The rug arts are designed by Ahmed and carried out by skilled traditional rug weavers who use traditional techniques to create each piece. The result is a body of work that speaks to the audience in a way that is beautiful, fascinating, and mesmerizing all at the same time.

Using the traditional art forms of carpet weaving and then distorting and unraveling them creates a dialogue about the place of tradition in a modern world. One of his most famous pieces begins as a traditional carpet and then resolves into a pixelated form where the traditional carpet is too grainy to be recognizable. The artist, Faig Ahmed, does not offer commentary on the meaning of the works but lets them speak for themselves, allowing the audience to draw its own conclusions.

Tradition in Pixels Rug by Faig Ahmed | Nazmiyal

“Tradition in Pixels”, a handwoven rug by Faig Ahmed, from his Pixel Series.

Faig Ahmed Carpets and The Place of Tradition in the Modern World

As a body of work, the collection speaks about the dissolution of tradition in the modern world. The Faig Ahmed carpets make a statement about how the modern world is causing distortions in the traditional culture of the Islamic world. It is as if the traditional world that has existed for hundreds, if not thousands, or years is melting away, so much so that it is almost unrecognizable in the modern world. Ahmed’s works have multiple layers of meaning, but this is one of the more prominent themes that appears throughout his works.

Traditional carpet weaving has defined boundaries and traditions. Ahmed wanted to use the limitations of this medium to extend beyond them and take them into new forms and dimensions. It is about thinking beyond the boundaries of culture and tradition to create something new and beautiful. This new creation has elements of the past but uses them in new and innovative ways.

Ahmed’s works continue to fascinate audiences in collections at the Seattle Art Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) Museum. Ahmed chose this medium because it is simple yet makes the viewer think deeper. They are simply something that you must see to believe. They will change the way you think about traditional carpets and their place in the world of modern art.

Door of Doors Carpet Faig Ahmed | Nazmiyal

“Door of Doors”, a handwoven carpet by Faig Ahmed, from his Insider series.

We love the work of Faig Ahmed and do not represent the artist or sell his pieces.

If you enjoyed this article, check out our other artist spotlights in our Textile Artists Series:

This rug blog about textile artist Faig Ahmed was published by Nazmiyal Antique Rug Gallery in NYC.

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