An exhibition titled “Germanaijan” has opened at the German-Azerbaijani Cultural Center Kapellhaus.
Organized by the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Azerbaijan, and supported by the Cultural Preservation program of the Federal Foreign Office, Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Culture and Goethe-Zentrum Baku, the exhibition was launched as part of the bicentennial anniversary of German settlements in the Caucasus.
‘Germanaijan’ is an invented word that, according to exhibition curator Asli Samadova, combines two countries names, Germany and Azerbaijan. The exhibition celebrates the impact of this German community in present day Azerbaijan. In this regard, the Siemens Historical Institute and the National Archive Department of Azerbaijan, as well as the contribution of private individuals, have been of invaluable help in bringing to life the exhibition’s exciting and interesting stories. Germanaijan blends in artistic interventions into the historical narrative: a joint project between Azerbaijani poet Leyli Salayeva and German artist and illustrator Xenia Fink carefully reconstructs the history of the first German colonists in Azerbaijan which is voiced by a composite character named Helen. Artist Samir Salahov was invited to make eye catching illustrations on Hummels family whereas Azerbaijani artist and documentary photographer Chinara Majidova was commissioned to make a contemporary documentation of German traces in the northern regions of Azerbaijan and the architectural landscape as well as a thought-provoking artistic video ‘Qismət’ on two mansions built by German architects. The exhibition also presents an ongoing cross-border project by British writer and photographer Thomas Marsden who is studying the personal journeys of German settlers and their descendants.
Germanaijan has a special focus on architecture: dozens of buildings built by Russian-German architects in Baku alone are protected by the Azerbaijani state as monuments of architectural heritage. The central piece of the exhibition is a map that graphically visualizes the quantitative and qualitative significance of German architectural traces in Baku’s skyline. Paper models give further details about a selected number of buildings.
The exhibition will run till February 16, 2019.