Tuesday, May 22, 2012

FEATURES BY ARTISTS: Rena Effendi from Azerbaidschan (feature.instituteartistmanagement.com)

Summary: On May 10th residents of some 20 villages along the Kura River in Azerbaijian had to flee from the floods caused by heavy rains that increased the water level in the river. The waters rose at a fast pace simultaneously in Kura and Araz rivers that unite in Georgia. As a result, the floods affected nearly 20,000 people and damaged over 50,000 hectares of farmland. Most of the people from the affected villages in Sabirabad region, hit hardest by the floods, are subsistence farmers whose farms, orchards and livestock were destroyed by the floods leaving them with no livelihood. Some 2000 people were relocated to tent camps and temporary school buildings under the Government's relief program. Basic care is being provided, medical services, food and water, but the newly displaced people are unsure when they will be able to return home. Thousand of homes are still under water and thousands were destroyed, however, many residents return home walking in water to salvage their belongings. The Government's plan is to separate the Araz and Kura rivers in order to avoid future floods. (source: www.eurasianet.org)

OIL VILLAGE // Rena Effendi
Summary: Soviet era industrialisation program and mostly petroleum-related production created an environmental crisis both in the Caspian Sea and onshore in Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital city. In addition, the economy’s heavy dependence on the oil sector brought people from the villages into the city in search for work. As a result, nearly 4,000,000 people, half of the country’s population now lives in Baku, which is imploding with overpopulation and urban decay. In 2008, Forbes magazine named Baku as the most polluted city in the world.

Summary: First decade into the 21st century, Khinaliq, because of its remoteness, still managed to preserve its ancient way of life. There is no running water but the stream nearby, no gas except the natural fires sprouting from the gas-pocked mountains. The light-skinned and blue-eyed race speaks Khinaluq, a unique and dying out language attributed to the northeastern group of Caucasus languages. The only source of income is sheep breeding - husbands graze their flocks in mountain pastures, women weave traditional carpet designs from wool at home. There are little over 1000 shepherd families living in Khinaliq at an elevation of over 2300 meters above the sea. Before 2006, the village was inaccessible for nine months out of the year, but four years ago, the president of Azerbaijan decided to visit Khinaliq and the government built the new road. This newly asphalted road will surely alleviate the hardships associated with winter and mountain isolation, but it may also threaten the unique culture of Khinaliq.

Summary: A visual documentation of the 2008 conflict in Georgia after a Russian invasion.

PIPE DREAMS // Rena Effendi
Summary: Snaking 1,700 kilometres through five conflict zones, in the shadow of the Caucasus mountains, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline manoeuvres through a delicate web of social, environmental and political concerns. Carrying one million barrels of oil daily to the West, while combating Russian energy influence, this pipeline project is a part of "the New Great Game", a game that affects the lives of millions of citizens in the adjoining countries of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey.

More about Rena Effendi: feature.instituteartistmanagement.com

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