Traditional Oriental rugs meet bold digital graphics

Faig Ahmed weaves digital patterns and optical illusions into traditional Azerbaijani rugs.

Baku-based designer Faig Ahmed combines traditional Azerbaijani rugs with technological glitches in his collection of contemporary rugs. Oriental rugs have a firm, centuries-deep place in Afghan, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Indian, Pakistani and Persian traditions.  

In 2010, the “traditional art of Azerbaijani carpet weaving” was inscribed into UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists. Now, Ahmed is throwing a spanner in the works and weaving contemporary art into the Oriental tradition.

The artist bleeds digital art into the traditional carpets – pixels, swirls and colours melt into the intricately patterned designs of the traditional rugs and carpets. His tapestries often escape their rectangular boundaries and drip onto the floor. To create the digital imagery, Ahmed superimposes digital patterns onto traditional weaving compositions

The carpet is a symbol of the invincible tradition of the East, it’s a visualisation of an undestroyable icon.” – Faig Ahmed.

After Ahmed graduated from the Sculpture faculty at the Azerbaijan State Academy of Fine Art in Baku in 2004, he focussed predominantly on painting, video, and installation. Now, the artist has been subverting tradition and reinventing how we all look at carpets. Instead of rugs being a domestic object, Ahmed’s reconstruction transforms the rugs into artwork and modern sculpture to be exhibited in galleries and admired.

“I’m changing habitual and visually static objects and making them spatial, giving them a new depth,” Ahmed wrote in his artist’s statements. “And this reveals the essence of this object – the object that was mediocre just a minute ago.”

Images via Faig Ahmed