The ceremony then featured a concert program, AzerTag reports.
The Founder and Creative Director of YARAT Contemporary Art Space, Mahmudova graduated from Central Saint Martins in London with a degree in Fine Art in 2006. To date, her work has been exhibited internationally, including at the MAXXI in Rome and the 55th Venice Biennale for the exhibition Love Me, Love Me Not (which later travelled to Baku), amongst numerous others. Her work was also the subject of a solo exhibition at the Barbarian Art Gallery in Zurich in 2013.
Her work has focused most recently on memory and nostalgia. Drawing inspiration from the landscape and architecture of Azerbaijan, Mahmudova works in installation, sculpture and painting to capture forgotten and marginal corners of her rapidly modernising country. The core of these works involves repurposed and abandoned architectural features, formed into installations, as well as paintings of empty sites on the outskirts of Baku. Seeking to commemorate a moment in time through these subjects, her works act to counter the on-going experience of transience, yet they simultaneously celebrate items which are themselves on the cusp on disappearing. As such, Mahmudova preserves the sense of ephemerality that permeates a country already layered with past civilisations and rapid modern development.
Central to Mahmudova's work is the tension between fiction and reality and the fascination with memory and the impermanence of identity. To Mahmudova, identity is formed by memory, which is continually altered and 're-remembered' over time. The landscapes and architectural relics externalise this sense of change and reflect underlying tensions experienced by the generation who experienced Azerbaijan's independence in 1991.
In 2011, Aida Mahmudova founded YARAT, a not-for-profit contemporary art organisation based in Baku. YARAT is dedicated to nurturing an understanding of contemporary art in Azerbaijan, and creating a platform for Azerbaijani art both nationally and internationally. The organisation also produces a comprehensive programme of exhibitions and education. In 2012 she launched YAY Gallery, a social enterprise which shares proceeds between exhibiting artists and YARAT projects.