Sabina Shikhlinskaya at “Woman_looking from”

Foto_15Lena_SabinaSabina Shikhlinskaya is a freelancer artist and independent curator; working in painting, video and photography. In Sabina’s opinion the term “gender” doesn’t exist in nature. In fact, it describes everything what is meant as typical for one of the both sexes in a society or in a culture. “In Azerbaijan the social possibilities for people are unequal”, the artist says. “For example the prevalent poverty, which is a reason for many people being not able to study or to get a good education.  I think, gender roles and gender identity still exist in these social groups. Society is marked by clear male and female jobs: Women clean the streets and work as cleaning service. Men do work in the garden. This is a cliché offered by society.”

For the project „Women_looking from“ Sabina has presented her video “Claustrophobia”, 2 channels, 35′, 2013). “The peninsula Absheron, on which also the capital Baku is situated, is surrounded by the Caspian Sea. Its borderless sand banks, the turquoise-blue water and the eternal horizon evoke an important and engrained memory to childhood of that place where I still live and work today. The boom of economy and a lack of controlling development plans have led to global and irreversible changes of nature and environment. One of those phenomena in contemporary Azerbaijan architecture are walls which have been erected rapidly during the last years – often made from granite or marble and bizarrely designed. They block ways to the sea or function as security walls for private settlements. In our world, that seeks for openness, individual freedom und expression, building walls seems to be even more paradox…”

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„Path to the light“ (installation, photos Sabina Shikhlinskaya, vocals Ute Bergmann, 2013) is Sabina’s inspiration from Dresden. In our society, even if we have different traditions, care for the elderly is one of the prior-ranking important tasks in a codex for moral behavior. Some are granted to finish their path of life among their families; some have to live in loneliness or in retirement home. Religion or sciences give us different approaches to the eternal question of what will happen after the end of life. The darkness of this tunnel is simply the path to the light…”

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Form the serial „Confrontation“ (Photography, 2011). This serial of photos (4 pieces x A2) is coverage about women in Azerbaijan that shows their strength in a struggle for solidarity against illegal construction sites: A protest of citizens against illegal building of houses and the clearing and grubbing of former parks in a central district in Baku. The police forces supported the “strong” side. Without any interest for details of that matter, the police blocked the nonviolent protests of the people and, by this, supported the unlawful doings of a high representative who was owner of this illegal building construction. A group of women from a courtyard has played a special role in the protests, showing the traditional and historical firmness of character of women in Caucasus. As a result of the protests lasting several days the lord mayor of Baku made favorable decisions to restore justice.

„Introverted woman“ (Photography, 2013). The oil boom in Azerbaijan after signing the so called “contract of the century” has changed the economic and social structure of the country in a dramatic way – from the principle of equality in Soviet times into a division in poor and rich people. In Azerbaijan odd ideas devide into male and female professions. Cleaning streets is a female “privilege” with only contemptuous salaries – jobs in the oil industry with highest wages are still a male domain.