Abdullayeva Asmar: “It is highly important to preserve love and thirst of young generation for traditional national sources of arts and craft”

Asmar Abdullayeva, the art critic and pedagogue of the Azerbaijan State Academy of Fine Arts, about an exceptionality of the "Sabah" (Tomorrow) program and the role of the Traditional Art Center İçəri Şəhər (Old City) in the development of creative industries

Discovery of a new cluster among the young people

The "Sabah" project was launched by the Ministry of Culture of Azerbaijan with the purpose to develop a new cluster among the students from 13 educational institutions. The project started 2 years ago but we, as an Academy of Fine Arts, have joined it since 2015 only. As a result, about 20 our students gained a chance to study based on special program including professional and often foreign lecturers, as well as an opportunity to take highly-qualified trainings and workshops both in Azerbaijan and abroad.

"Sabah" students will become high-class experts that will be able to fill necessary niches in various spheres including cultural and creative industries in near future. I am sure that this project will play an exclusive role in encouraging creative thinking and facilitating a new turn in creative industries.

Cultural ideas laboratory

Another project that I keep working with is "İçəri Şəhər" Traditional Arts Centre supported by the government. The Centre's office is situated in the very heart of Baku – in the old city, thus the name. Really creative atmosphere here saturated with history and culture of the old Baku predisposes to inspiration. It is a kind of ideas laboratory where new approaches to the fine arts and culture are born. We cooperate very closely with our English partners through the Traditional Centre in London. We have an ongoing sharing of experience, creative views and ideas. I am very excited indeed that as a result of our centre’s activities we succeeded to preserve love and passion of young generation for national and traditional sources of the arts and craft.

A platform for development of the creative industries potential 

Every stage of cultural development is associated with certain difficulties. At first it was very difficult for us but now I see that years later we have a sufficiently strong platform to develop а potential of а creative and cultural industries in Azerbaijan. And it implies economic components as well. We have already established a system for selling creative products. Though sales volumes are small but they still exist. Thus, there are already 20 young students working at the centre who are followers of traditional art and crafts. They receive salary and have an opportunity to learn and refine their skills. 

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