Drawing inspiration from the ancient nomadic past of the Tatars, Nazilya Nagimova uses felt as her primary medium to explore the subjects of memory and identity. The artist has been fascinated by felting from a very young age, as she learned the traditional technique from her grandparents. Through installations, carpets, paintings, and video works, Nagimova weaves together family lore and images of the distant past in search of traces of ancestral wisdom. The Metamorphosis series, shown here at the exhibition, was inspired by an experience that took place in the artist’s home village in Tatarstan. Following a family custom of paying respects at the local cemetery before leaving the village, one summer Nagimova visited the gravesite with her aunt Minlejihan. As the elderly aunt, clad in warm woollen clothes and a white headscarf, was reciting a Muslim prayer, butterflies covered her head to toe. She later explained to her niece that those were the souls of the departed. Witnessing this allowed the artist to see, feel, and understand prayer as a practice that is multidimensional—one in which time, people, events, and love exist and come together in an alternative dimension, however momentarily.

Works in the exhibition:
Four heavens (2023), felt, 91 × 100 cm
Our ways will never cross (2023), felt, 80 × 84 cm
Two moons (2022), felt, 82 × 111 cm
Metamorphosis (2023), felt, 94 × 94 cm
Courtesy of the artist