Lecture and Retrospective Exhibition by Raoef Mamedov

Gallery Lilja Zakirova and Syfra van de Loo invite you to:

Lecture and Exhibition by Raoef Mamedov

On Saturday March 23, 2024
at 14:00

In Heusden (at the locations: Botermarkt 19 and Burchtstraat 3)

“I would very much like our meeting to leave an imprint,” which is how the internationally acclaimed artist and film director Raoef Mamedov begins and ends his lecture. On the eve of Easter, the artist presents the captivating story of the creation of his “The Last Supper”, which encompasses various themes of the human existence.

Mamedov’s photographic series – Plays on the Window Sills, The Silence of Mary, Biblical Scenes and a collector’s edition of The Last Supper, are exhibited in the two highly unique spaces: The Land of Promise and Great Expectations.


  • From 14:00 we welcome you to The Land of Promise at Botermarkt 19 for a lecture with an illustrated presentation. Raoef’s story will be translated synchronously by art historian Klawa Koppenol (Russian-Dutch). The lecture starts at 14:30 and lasts approximately 1 hour.
  • Together with Raoef we then move to the Great Expectations building, two minutes away, at Burchtstraat 3, where the artist will give further personal notes on the works exhibited there.

You are familiar with our hospitality but RSVP desired:
lilja@zakirova.com / +31 (0)6 51193831

Take a look at the available works of Raoef Mamedov on the international art platform Artsy. Private viewing possible by appointment.

Also a small preview on YouTube.

Games on the Windowsills by Raoef Mamedov

In the recently very stylishly restored Great Expectations House during the Monuments Day on 9-10 September 2023 in Heusden.

“And suddenly strangers appear, people clearly not from here. Clowns or wandering actors that play us scenes as strange as themselves. The pieces somewhat embarrass us right-thinking spectators. Perhaps we recognize ourselves in it, it’s like looking in a mirror. Yet we don’t want to get mad at these traveling artists, they’re just jesters after all… But wait, what happens now?”, so begins an accompanying text by the photographer and film-maker Raoef Mamedov about this five-part exhibition, which again features people with Down syndrome.

The photos, which testify to a fabulous technique and great theatrical ability, fascinate through a Caravaggesque interplay of light and dark and razor-sharp realism.
Mamedov was inspired for these photos by works by Hieronymus Bosch, while retaining the composition of ‘The Last Supper’, which is also shown in a smaller format at the exhibition. The game of citing and alluding to art and cultural history gets a surprising sequel with this work.

On either side of the central panel, which shows the master magician, are two panels, each with three ‘actors’ who confront the audience with human vices such as the folly and credulity, the greed and allurements of the game. The artist depicts the subjects in such a way that recognition of form and confusion about content begin to compete for priority with the viewer. Does Mamedov make us a voyeur or is he holding up a mirror to us? In any case, he creates the suspicion that for this artist there is a deeper layer beneath the absurdities of existence more than plausible.

This exhibition by the internationally acclaimed artist Raoef Mamedov is the promising start of the collaboration between Great Expectations Art Projects and Galerie Lilja Zakirova in Heusden, the city with rich historical and cultural traditions.

Great Expectations Art Projects
Burchtstraat 3
5256 EB Heusden

After this weekend the exhibition can be viewed on appointment: +31651193831

Interview with Raoef Mamedov for Jewish.ru

May 2023

Why he went through the hell of a mental institution, how he sold his work to tycoon and collector Boris Berezovsky and why he photographs people with Down syndrome – the artist Raoef Mamedov told Jewish.ru in an exclusive interview.

Your creative biography began with the movie “Island of Lost Ships”. Years later, of course, it seems very naive.

  • We started shooting this movie back in 1986. Perestroika was only just accelerating and the legacy of the past was still strong and tangible. And with my co-director Yevgeny Ginzburg we decided to go a little crazy and completely rewrote the script bought by “Lenfilm” based on the novel of the same name by Alexander Belyaev. After the release of the movie, the official press even denigrated the picture in the spirit that “this is an undermining of our foundations, there was no such thing in the book.”
    But for us, this work was a breath of freedom! The result was a movie about totalitarian regime and freedom, where the “Island” is a model of society. And the character Sholom, played by Konstantin Raikin, was indeed in some ways a naive, kind and honest man who was the conscience of the islanders. Although at the same time was a confidant of the governor. The movie, by the way, was specially shown on Easter night – the television management decided that this was the best “medicine” to distract people from going to church.

With such a successful start in movies, why did you quickly quit directing?

  • That’s not entirely true. I still make a lot of documentaries. It became difficult with feature films – there was a worldview mismatch. And with Ginzburg we then made another two-part film “The Girl from Rouen, nicknamed Boule de Suif”, after Guy de Maupassant, which, like “The Island of Lost Ships”, was awarded the “Silver Rose of Montreux” at the festival in Switzerland. I was not allowed out of the country there, by the way – it was only 1989.
    But perestroika was now in full swing, and I naively decided that it was time to make a more conceptual movie. Ginzburg, to whom I am sincerely grateful, and I saw the place of cinematography differently at that time, and we diverged somewhat. And that’s when I had a sense of desperation. At that moment, I was very much concerned with the theme of people’s otherness – after all, even before VGIK (Film Academy in Moscow), I had worked in a psychiatric clinic in Azerbaijan.

What did this experience give you?

  • A very important sense of time, because I plunged into hell and then came back from it, like Odysseus from Hades after communicating with the soul of the soothsayer Tiresias. To this day, some of the images I create still come from there, from the clinic. I was an orderly in a God-forsaken ward, where the most hopeless patients were hidden, literally in confinement. They lay there for 30-40 years, no one would come to them, they were not taken for walks, they did not remember what the sun was. It was a netherworld. In short I longed for work, and that’s when I remembered how during my military service I worked as an artist in a unit, drawing posters – all in the style of Social Realism. And I decided to return to artistic experiments.
    Of course, I was also influenced by the work of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s “Capitalism and Schizophrenia”. I was pleased and encouraged by their basic postulate that only schizophrenics can be both the subject and the object of art! The discovery was on shaky but fertile ground: unlike paranoia, schizophrenia can be very light, fun and creatively productive. I worked with people with this diagnosis in my art. I also use people with Down syndrome. I never call them ill. They’re just other people to me. Their otherness, their encounters with the outside world, that’s what is interesting.
    And it is also important to remember that no matter how well-meaning and hypocritical people are, the most important human problem is the theme of death. It haunts us everywhere, including in art. Art is a sublimation of the fear of death. I think that’s the most accurate definition of it. And these people in the clinic have no fear of death! They don’t understand what death is. We, the people on the other side of the whitewashed stone fence, have such a desperate and subconscious fear. It’s funny, isn’t it? It’s actually quite disturbing to me. Maybe these people from the clinics can help us, in a healthy sort of way.

How did your work appear at the Museum of Modern Art in Israel?

  • It was in 2000. At that time, the Berezovsky family purchased and donated my “The Last Supper” to the State of Israel. At that time, this work was already a colossal success at an international art fair in Basel, where it was presented by Gallery Lilja Zakirova at the main venue for contemporary art in the world.
    I suspect, like many, I have a lot to do with Jewish people in my life. Including the story of my really big success. I had my first exhibition in the Netherlands, and there was a huge queue at the gallery, and late at night a charismatic elderly Jewish man knocked on the door of the gallery and gave me a pair of fine designer shoes. As it turned out, he was the owner of the shoe store across the street from the gallery. That day he had the kind of business he hadn’t had in a year, so he decided to thank me.

Most of your works are on biblical themes. Why is that?

  • It’s from my childhood. I lived in the provincial Azerbaijani town of Gandja. Where my nanny, aunt Nastya, was an Orthodox Christian who always dragged me to church. Besides, artists should start from big stories. And biblical stories are such meta-histories. I mean, we’re all picking up the pieces of a broken mirror. And don’t think that biblical narratives are just beautiful tales from the past that have nothing to do with us. The same biblical collisions are in our every deed, in our every action.

Your paintings can be unsettling to the untrained viewer. Have there been protests against your exhibitions?

  • Yes, from time to time there are problems. For example, there was Deacon Kuraev, who, under the toga of sincere indignation, called to gather and physically disrupt my next exhibition. Allegedly, my works were a mockery of Christianity. I have no such thoughts.
    But after Kuraev’s incitation, the crowd had the expected reaction – to chop up my works with axes, kill me at the same time, and wrap my body in pigskin. It got to the point that on the eve of the exhibition I had to hide my children in other people’s apartments. And that’s surprising, because I’m not trying to make jokes about Christianity. On the contrary. And in the Netherlands, my works are even exhibited in cathedrals and monasteries.

Do you work with American galleries?

  • At one time, but for a very short time, I worked with Bruce Silverstein, who is a big gallery owner in Manhattan. He even bought some of my work and wanted to collaborate with me. But I confess I was afraid. After all, in Russia I work with everyone on my word of honor, as is our custom. But there, the American system is different. They brought me a voluminous contract which I had to sign. And in it, for example, it said that I had no right to disappear from the gallery’s sight for more than three days. And if I drew something, even on a napkin in a café. – it belonged to the gallery. I can’t give that napkin to anyone. It was all very tense, so I didn’t sign the contract.

Getting back to the topic of people with otherness: you described your experiences in a mental health clinic as an experience of being in hell, but what about that hell?

  • I am an opponent of clinics. Those who are diagnosed with schizophrenia should be let out of there immediately. We need to set these people free. I once wrote a story called “Dedicated to a Friend.” According to this story, working in the clinic, I was supposed to release a man, but I did not dare: I was afraid that he would not survive among healthy people. And this cowardice, which I fell victim to, tormented me, did not give me peace. After this incident, I wrote a statement and left the clinic. So, my work is also an escape from guilt.
  • Mikhail Chernov, journalist, Jewish.ru

For the entire “The Last Supper” project and accompanying novelle please click here.

Group Exhibition – Re-Opening

Anwar Abdoullaev, Zwaluw, 26×22, od



1 May 2021 –  16 May 2021

A wide palet of recent works by Anwar Abdoullaev, Katerina Belkina, Raoef Mamedov, Lusia Popenko, Natalya Zaloznaya and a selection artists from the Social Realism period.

Group Exhibition – A Midwinter Night’s Dream

A Midwinter Night’s Dream”


18 December 2020 – 5 April 2021

Dear Collector,

Allow me to bring to your attention a short cinematographic overview of the new exhibition, A Midwinter Night’s Dream. A groupexhibition of 25 artworks (enriched with music and sound) of different artists from the gallery.

Deep in our heart, me and my artists, feel our work is a bare necessity of life. And as you know I am not a shop but a small art temple that is accessible at all times. Besides, as a Dutch citizin, I am allowed two guests, on appointment, in a safe environment and with all due respect to the measurements.

The complete catalogue with more details (titles, sizes and prices) of this collection as well as a virtual viewing room can be found at the international art platform Artsy:

Solo exhibition “Delight” by Natalya Zaloznaya

Natalya Zaloznaya, Delight. Bubble, 70Х80, acryllic on canvas



bij Galerie Lilja Zakirova in Heusden

Click here for the full catalogue of the exhibition

26 September t/m 15 November 2020


Galerie Lilja Zakirova opent op 26 september aanstaande een tentoonstelling met een verrassende nieuwe serie schilderijen van Natalya Zaloznaya. De poëtische sfeer die de presentaties van de Russische galeriste Lilja Zakirova zo vaak ademen en die voor een belangrijk deel voortvloeien uit haar keuze, wordt wederom bewaarheid in deze expositie die de zinnenprikkelende titel DELIGHT draagt.

De in Brussel woonachtige Wit-Russische kunstenares Natalya Zaloznaya (1960) exposeert al sinds 2004 bij Galerie Lilja Zakirova en heeft sindsdien internationale faam verworven. Zowel in Rusland als in verschillende Europese landen wordt het talent van Natalya Zaloznaya onderkend. Zo was zij één van de vertegenwoordigers van Wit-Rusland op de Biënnale van Venetië van 2005 en is werk van haar opgenomen in onder meer de Tretjakov Gallery in Moskou en in het Belarussische Staatsmuseum in Minsk. Ook in Londen en in Brussel, oogst haar werk grote bewondering en erkenning.

Kenmerkend voor haar artistieke proces is het werken in series, waarin zij één specifiek motief uitwerkt.  Toch kan er bij nadere beschouwing altijd een terugkerend thema in deze series herkend worden. Steeds opnieuw koppelt zij twee, ogenschijnlijk niet verenigbare werelden aan elkaar. Gewichtloosheid versus Zwaartekracht, Binnenwereld naast Buitenwereld, Microkosmos gekoppeld aan Macrokosmos; Tegenwoordigheid versus Herinnering. Door daarnaast in haar schilderkunstige beeldtaal andere artistiek-technische procedés te citeren zoals bijvoorbeeld het negatiefbeeld van de fotografie of een specifieke druktechniek, koppelt zij een hedendaagse, conceptuele werkwijze aan de klassieke verbeelding van de schilder.

In de schilderijen van haar meest recente serie DELIGHT, maakt Zaloznaya een sensatie zichtbaar waar geen beelden voor bestaan: de smaak. Zij wil een interne gewaarwording extern en concreet maken door er kleuren en vormen aan te koppelen. Deze omringen de zich spijzigende personages en worden opgenomen in hun gestalten terwijl de kleuren losgekoppeld lijken van specifieke ledematen en lichaamsdelen. De sensatie van het proeven neemt een surreële ruimte in die in sommige werken zelfs kan samenvloeien in en met een ander personage.

En opnieuw plaatst zij een paradoxaal gegeven in een groter concept en krijgt het een meer universele, wellicht zelfs Bijbelse duiding: het eerste begin van het leven waarin het toedienen van voedsel, het eten, de eerste kennismaking met de wereld betekent. Het aanraken, het proeven, het al dan nìet eten. Het oordelen en het begrijpen van de dingen. De vereniging met de wereld en met de ander.

Zeker de twee doeken uit deze serie, waarop een schijnbaar oneindige tafel zich in een diagonaal tot óver het doek uitstrekt, en waaraan een evenzeer oneindig aantal disgenoten samen aan de maaltijd zit, lijkt de individuele ervaring van het smaakzintuig als een apotheose te ontstijgen en in een breder kader te zetten.

De inhoudelijke èn artistieke gelaagdheid van het werk van Natalya Zaloznaya krijgt in deze serie DELIGHT opnieuw een uitermate boeiende verbeelding.

U wordt van harte uitgenodigd deze tentoonstelling te komen bekijken.

Group Exhibition – Delightful Company

“ D E L I G H T F U L   C O M P A N Y ”




Thursday June 25 to Sunday July 5 2020


Forward! Onwards!

From the mental paralysis from the lockdown tot he fresh air, true art, human connection and the joy of meeting
as in this new work by Natalia Zaloznaya – Delight. Company.


I heartily invite you to the exhibition Delightful Company that is comprised of
new works by Natalya Zaloznaya, Anwar Abdoullaev and Tania Kandracienka
and is complimented with recent works from Katerina Belkina.

For a carefree visit vernissage is in a new style:

From Thursday June 25 to July 2 2020 the gallery will be open all days
and we will welcome you with a glass of champagne.

In the weekend Anwar Abdoullaev will be present for the presentation of his most recent work.

For your lunch/diner plans Restaurant van Dijk in Heusden has my recommendation. There is a special Datsja-arrangement
especially fort he clients of the gallery (reservering necessary)

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