Faig Ahmed, Artist

Faig Ahmed, a young designer from Baku, Azerbaijan, has dedicated his recent explorations in craftsmanship to rugs and carpets. “The carpet is a symbol of invincible tradition of the East”, he says, “it’s a visualization of an indestructible icon”.
After graduating ten years ago from the Sculpture faculty at the Azerbaijan State Academy of Fine Art in Baku, Ahmed has explored various media including painting, video art and installation. However, he decided that the main focus of his work should be the local carpet-weaving, offering a novel interpretation to ancient traditional crafts.
Traditions are, for Ahmed, a delicate matter. “Tradition is an identity of the region. But sometimes it appears to be a useless tool. The Eastern tradition is very strong. It’s very rich and very cumbrous at the same time. Too cumbrous to be taken to the future,” he says. Nonetheless, Ahmed attempts to complicate the well-known Eastern traditions, offering a new interpretation of the carpet, one of the most iconic symbols of the region he grew up in.
He chose to focus on carpets because to his mind, “even a slight change in the design of the carpet makes a great impact on people that are used to see it day by day all their lives.”
Ahmed’s work starts with a sketch that he makes on computer, which he then manually transfers onto a special paper. Later he passes the sketches to carpet makers in Baku villages who weave carpets from generation to generation. All the carpets are handmade of natural materials – naturally coloured wool or silk using the ancient technique of the region.
Ahmed uses the generations-old expertise to create rugs in which the traditional patterns ‘melt’ into a blur, or are recomposed as minimalistic pixels. Sometimes the familiar pattern of the ‘Eastern rug’ is distorted, expanded out of shape. In other carpets the red complex pattern is gradually replace with bright yellowness. The carpets are an intriguing mixture between modern whimsy images and traditional artisanal crafts.
Ahmed’s skillful interventions have been exhibited worldwide, most recently at the Biennale of Venice in 2013 and 2014 and at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London where he was a finalist at the Jameel Prize for design inspired by the Islamic traditions.