Background

I first came from Azerbaijan to Belgium about 4 years ago – bringing with me my family as well as my passion for art. Brussels offers many possibilities for artists to show and share their talents with society. I am highly motivated about pursuing a career as an artist in this exciting city, working on many projects and being full of ideas.

“Art enables us to find ourselves and to lose ourselves at the same time.” 

(Favourite quote by Thomas Merton)

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What kind of message do you wish to convey with your art?

Art for me is a form of language. It helps me to express myself and to explain to others what happened to me in this life. One says that artists have a different view of the world. I believe there’s a grain of truth in this. Through the eyes of an artist, the world often appears more vibrant and colourful being full of strong feelings and emotions.

I want to show the world the way I see life as an artist. That said, life is more important than art in my opinion – why? Because art can serve as a medium to convey a message about what happens in life. As such, I am open to exploring art and life – knowing that no matter what, all will turn out well in the end.

2Art and love is also one and the same thing in my opinion. They represent new exciting feelings that strike you all of a sudden. It’s an overwhelming feeling as if waking up to a new world. I am an artist who, experiencing such strong emotions, is capable of creating all sorts of art.

I wish to bring across different messages with my work, showing life with all its positive and negative sides. No matter what religion, ethnicity or skin colour people have – we’re all one. We all belong together, like brothers & sisters.

How did your passion help you deal with challenges experienced in life?

5Art helped me to overcome challenges and to connect with others. You know sometimes when people look at my work, they go “Wow, it’s nice. It’s beautiful!” and then they try to find the artist and I hear them exclaim in astonishment “Oh, you’re beautiful! And you’re art is also beautiful!” I thank them but art is not just about superficial beauty and appearing “nice”. Art expresses deeper feelings and emotions. My art shall also always tell a story about other people I have met in life.

One more note, sometimes people want to see life as they prefer to see it in a piece of art but not as it really is. Art can lie and art can show the reality at the same time. I may for example draw a portrait of someone who looks at it and goes: “Oh, I don’t like my neck; I don’t like my eyes… Can you perhaps change it a little bit? (Like Photoshop?) Yeah, like Photoshop! It can be like this with faces, landscapes, “the beautiful life”… We’re supposed to show “the real life” but the real life is sometimes something entirely different.

3How did your talent help you to adapt to a new cultural environment?

Before coming to Belgium, I stopped drawing and painting altogether – why? Because I was simply too angry about people not respecting my work as an artist. It’s like being given a present by someone at a birthday party: they take a brief look at it, thank you and then they simply put it aside. I don’t like this kind of attitude towards art.

Then I came here where my work has all of a sudden been paid genuine attention to. My French language teacher in the refugee centre told me back then: “Ah, I like your drawings!” She encouraged me to ask for more art material in order to further improve my art skills. People there believed in me and my talents. This in turn empowered me to move from a “social housing” for refugees on the capital’s periphery to the heart of Brussels where I can now share my art with others in exhibitions.

I started completely from zero when I first arrived in Belgium. Thanks to the help of the people who supported me, I was able to grow as an artist and to create bit by bit a new home for me here. Art helped me to integrate and to make new friends in another country. People also got to know me in society through my work as an artist.

3What words of encouragement do you have to say to other people and to women in particular?

Art has deliberated and empowered me as a woman in many ways. As a female refugee artist, my talent made me more confident and independent. Back home in my country, this was not necessarily the case. Women cannot go outside there without their father, brother or husband accompanying them in public. My younger brother always had to accompany me when going to and coming from school, for example. Here, my brother lets me go out on my own. He is proud of me and my work as an artist.

What else can I say? I’m a refugee but not by choice. I’m human just like you. Everyone can be an artist, though. It’s just that not everyone wants to necessarily “show it”. Some people prefer to hide their talent and not share it externally with others. I’ve also the impression that most women are afraid to say what they think. I’d like to tell these women the following:

“Be strong and don’t be afraid to express your thoughts through your art (acting, drawing, painting, singing, etc.).”  What’s more, don’t just watch your dreams pass idly by like clouds in the sky… You can dream but also take action and realize your dreams at the same time.

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List of some exhibitions with Ch Mia:

  • Participant in the exhibition « MosARTic » La Vallée Molenbeek – Brussels 01.12.2016 – 04.12.2016
  • Exhibiting 2 pieces of work at the U.S. Embassy – Brussels 15.12.2016 – 15.01.2017
  • BOZAR Live painting « Human Rights » – Brussels 13.12.2016
  • BRASS exposition « Art Fair » – Brussels 16.03.2017 – 19.03.2017
  • Sénat Live painting – 08.03.2017
  • “Color café” live painting – Brussels 2017
  • ConvivialLive painting et exposition – Brussels09.2016
  • « Performance of Lydia Richardson » Live painting –  Brussels 24.09.2016
  • Participant in a documentary by Amnesty International « L’humanité surgit d’un regard. Ouvrir les yeux, c’est la rencontrer » – 20.06.2016
  • Various interviews: sk , La libre , RTBF , etc.
  • Project « RefugeesGotTalent » – Brussels
  • Project « je suis humain » d’Amnesty International (currently ongoing)
  • Psycart, ESPACE 51 – L’expo collectife  “THE TASTE OF DIFFERENCE “ : Scharbeek 11.03.2018 – 15.04.2018
  • BXL Dorado – Group Expo – Institut Pacheco : Brussels 19-20 + 26-27/05 , 2-3 + 9-10/06  2018
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