Allegory of a Stranger

Tora Aghabayova
10. Nov 2023 - 19 January. 2024
Vernissage Thursday 09. November 19:00-21:00

Peace Agreement (2023), 160 x 160, Oil on Linen, Tora Aghabayova / Under The Mango Tree


Gallery Under The Mango Tree is honored to present Tora Aghabayova’s work in the exhibition titled „Allegory of a Stranger,“ which will be her first solo exhibition in Berlin. The artist, who moved to Berlin from Baku in 2013, produces her work in a studio at the Kunsthaus Bethanien in Kreuzberg. Her exhibited works primarily approach the negotiation of anxieties and struggles in a migrant woman’s life.

With fluorescent colors and imagery that challenges normative perception, Tora attempts to lure the viewer away from the negativity associated with the fears of being foreign. The recurring image of a chubby merman, who, for the artist, is „an allegory of a stranger,“ guides the viewer through scenarios of contemplation, wrestling, and ultimately reconciliation with the fears and struggles of being othered in society. In what one could consider a post-Soviet, neo-surrealist approach, Tora places her scenarios in the midst of dense forestry, among reptiles and predatory animals, inviting the viewers to escape reality in the central room of the gallery.

Leading into the otherworldly, often oversized, works of oil on canvas is her series of landscapes of ‚nothingness.‘ Standing in stark contrast to the vibrant colors and imagery, the series aims to provoke thoughts on the sensory overload experienced in modern society and the lack of curiosity for the complexity and processes of the mundane. Tora‘s work is a fusion of fantasy, realism, myths, and biography. Responding to her migration from Baku her paintings reclaim the memories of loneliness, acceptance of the situation and finding her way. At the core, in her distinctive visual language is this tension between escapism and confinement, longing and exile.

Tora Aghabayova (1979) was trained as a painter, holding a Master of Fine Arts from the Azerbaijan State Academy of Art in Baku. Her early works have been shown in several group exhibitions, most notably in the 2007 Venice Art Biennale, and in the ‘Fly to Baku. Contemporary art from Azerbaijan’, show from Phillips de Pury & Company, London, UK (2012). 

Opening Hours
Wed–Fri 11:30–14:00 / 15:30–18:30

Sa/Su 13:00–16:30

Visual Abstraction (2023), 160 x 100, Oil on Canvas © Tora Aghabayova / Under The Mango Tree

Exemplary Works

Vivi in the Dusk (2023), 210 x 210,
Oil on Canvas
©Tora Aghabayova / Under The Mango Tree

Nothingness series 2 (2023), 70 x 70
Oil on Canvas
©Tora Aghabayova / Under The Mango Tree

Dive in (2023), 160 x 120
Oil on Canvas
©Tora Aghabayova / Under The Mango Tree

Swing (2023), 160 x 120
Oil on Linen
©Tora Aghabayova / Under The Mango Tree

Virtual Exhibition - Allegory of a Stranger

Under The Mango tree

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