UNESCO Cities of Design

Azerbaijani artist Faig Ahmed transforms old carpets into new forms and original works.

Faig Ahmed uses traditional carpets and rugs and creates very interesting examples of modern art carpets. Faig Ahmed was born in 1982. He studied sculpture at the Azerbaijan State Academy of Fine Art, but he was expelled because of covering the school’s facade in fabric stolen from the fashion department.

Ahmed made a trip to India and he experimented triggering an introspective spiritual transformation with local embroidery techniques. He returned home with different and creative ideas.

Faig Ahmed tried to convince traditional weavers to craft his designs for years but none accepted until one of them accepted as long as Ahmed did not tell anyone. After that, he started remodelling the ancient rug-weaving traditions and working with teams of at most 25 people to design “liquid” carpets with the aim of bending and warping the very fabric of his society. His fascinating designs are the combination of internet-friendly aesthetics of his millennial generation and the most ancient of Eastern folk art traditions.

Ahmed went to the 52nd Venice Biennale with his works and he represented Azerbaijan there. His works took place at galleries and museums in Europe, India, Hong Kong, Russia, the United States and the United Arab Emirates; also becoming part of the Arnhem Museum, the Buta Foundation, the Seattle Art Museum and the Yarat Contemporary Art Centre collections. He was shortlisted for the Jameel Prize by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.