Ilgar Nadzhafov (1974–2021) was an artist, an actor and a writer. He used to work in graphics and painting, created video art, wrote fiction and non-fiction short stories.
Ilgar's works are deeply connected with his personal history, with memories of Azerbaijan, where he was born and spent his early years. All through his life in Saint Petersburg, the artist missed his family living in Baku and tried to keep in touch with his fellow countrymen, to be closer to the culture of his native country. This desire reflected in his art. In his drawings his family members, friends and fellow volunteers with whom Ilgar developed an emotional connection, sometimes found themselves in surreal situations––for example, turning into animals and ending up in distant countries. These works sometimes include bizarre narration with unexpected plot twists. The feeling of celebration, abundance and joy is what unites them. In terms of their color saturation and density of visual content, Nadzhafov's graphics resemble painting: large sheets are completely covered with bright spots that fold into ornamental patterns reminiscent of the art of the Middle East.
Ilgar used to say that his art allows him to "fly away to distant worlds." This is not hard to understand, since he spent most of his life in a psychoneurological asylum. However, thanks to his work with the Perspectivy Charity's art studio, Nadzhafov succeeded as an artist and found an opportunity to create many works and develop a vivid recognizable style. Taking part in the Theater without Borders project allowed him to realize his acting talent and visit different countries.
Ilgar's life ended in 2021. He died of coronavirus at the age of 46, before he could fulfill his dream of traveling to Azerbaijan to see his family.
Nadzhafov's solo exhibitions were held at the Goethe Cultural Center (St. Petersburg, 2010) and the Kropotkina-11 space (St. Petersburg, 2019). He took part in collective exhibitions at the Museum of Urban Sculpture (St. Petersburg, 2009), the Die Schlumper Gallery (Hamburg, Germany, 2015), Gorky Park (Moscow, 2016), the Museum of Street Art (St. Petersburg, 2018), within the framework of the Manifesta-10 Biennale (St. Petersburg, 2014), SAM Fair (St. Petersburg, 2019) and Supermarket Art Fair (Stockholm, Sweden, 2019). Nadzhafov's works are kept in the archives of the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art (Moscow), the Museum of Everything (Great Britain), as well as in private collections in Russia and abroad.