Soul Intentions

  Lyubov never felt affiliated to any particular nation. And she admits that if she could be born again, she wold like to be born in Azerbaijan.

She is made up not just of love for her husband, the legendary artist Cavad Mir-Cavadov who is no longer with us, of childhood memory of a difficult but interesting life in 4th Khrebtovaya Street (now Alasgar Alakbarov Street), filled with wonderful and harmonious colours, although their very existence in a street of garbage dumps and litter is a miracle. 

  It's a really unusual case of a name predetermining the life of an interesting person in all respects. Lyubov Mir-Cavadova is an artist, writer and wonderful woman of Azerbaijan. She lives with love for everything that surrounds her, and can find beauty even in things that seem a long way from aesthetics and harmony. It's an amazing quality - to see not only the shell of an object, phenomenon and personality, but also their essence, deeply infiltrating them to distinguish and separate out beauty, and then, to capture it all in paintings. Here it is, the truth of life, which can be different and multifac-eted - beautiful and ugly, happy and unhappy and filled with the highest platonic feelings and the basest fleshly passions. There is no vice. There is a vicious colour, which peo-ple give even to the most innocuous things. But this is also beauty, because life is what it is, with its evil and good. And the denial of something is the negation of life itself. And what is it - a life without love? For someone who devotes their whole being to their beloved, this question does not exist.

«God gave me three miracles: my wife, painting and Absheron!” – from Javad Mir-Javadov’s letter to Lyubov Mir-Javadova.

  The great Lyubov Mir-Cavadova, proudly wearing her husband's name, does not accept betrayal, hypocrisy, deceit, betrayal of self, shams and duplicity. A person may be outwardly beautiful, but eaten away by inner ugliness. Though who can like it? It is more important to have the ability to attract good people and good experiences. There are bad things, but they do not stick and are swept aside.

  Lyubov recalls that she was once walking around in Paris after visiting the Louvre, and as she adores pomegranates, she very much wanted to eat at least one right on the street. This happens to her most often when she admires something and wants to "share her feelings with a pomegranate". That's how she was affected by the charm of Paris. She began search-ing for greengrocers. Stumbling across one of them, she hardly hoped to find what she wanted there. After all, Azerbaijani pomegranates are fantastic. Without any hope of finding pomegranates, I walked into the store and saw a tall, lean woman standing behind the counter. Her face was furrowed with deep wrinkles like an old transparent glass. She looked at me with a tenacious eye, and I took one large pomegranate and asked her to weigh it, and she looked at me attentively and suddenly gave me one more and did not let me pay for them. With these thoughts, I took one large pomegranate and asked her to weigh it, and she looked at me attentively and suddenly gave me two more. I said that I needed just one. But she just put them in my hand and told me that I should take them as a gift for free. Thanking the woman, I walked out of the store and sat on the first available bench, avidly sucking the pomegranate' sour juice. I could not get the face of the unusual French woman out of my head. It was amazing. I thought she was a ballet dancer. I do not know what this woman, of whom I expected nothing, read on my face. And suddenly it dawned on me that instances when someone suddenly did something nice to me or came out of nowhere to help me had hap-pened to me many times. I realized that I did not have to look for good people. They themselves find me - even in other parts of the world. I do not know why this happens but it does. I realized that good people are the same everywhere and there is no difference. This exceptionality simply exists," Mir-Cavadova is sure.

However, it is not surprising. Lyubov is such a sensitive and unusual person that it is impossible not to be attracted to her, not to listen to her and not to touch her paintings. It means communicating with eternity. Erudition, bright individuality, intellect, energy and talent combine with childishness, openness and intellectual simplicity. Ringing laughter and lightness.

No, wealth and Lyubov Mir-Cavadova are incompatible. And her almost ascetic workroom filled with the smell of oil paints and pictures everywhere you look, floorboards almost painted with large blots of paint and quiet opera music on TV only confirms this. Clearly, in the process of working on the pictures here, no-one thought of prudently covering the floor with polythene or newspapers. What is natural is not hideous - the whole appearance of this comer of creativity spills into the soul as a healing balm, and cries out that there are people in this world who live with unearthly categories. This is the philosophy of unearthly creatures - elementary and at the same time very complicated. This is the philosophy of a strange girl who talked in poems until the age of five. Then she fell from the balcony, and her father was very upset that his daughter had become normal and started speaking in prose like everyone else. Although at seven, Lyubov started "drawing" her space characters, defending her right to ' abnor-mality".

Lyubov Mir-Javadova is the holder of the French Chevalier Order in Literature and Arts

What sort of rock was she sculpt-ed from? Lyubov, remembering her childhood experience of realizing herself, begins the story of 4th Khrebtovaya Street. "It was grandiose garbage with a jumble of hand-made ,makeshift houses without sanitation and with a shared toilet. All this is my life. It is the country where I was bom. I will write about my life, and it will be a very good book of contrasts. In chronology. Life, death, the famous baths in Sovetskaya Street, a bathhouse attendant with a scar and a madame at the same time. Dad bought a really cheap room which used to be a sheepfold, adapting it as a home with the help of compassionate people and his small disability pension. Father made the floor and windows there, wiped out the insects and complained to his mother that his pregnant wife was living in a former sheepfold and it would be his child's fate to be bom in it. My grandmother replied that Jesus was also bom in a manger, and his child who was to be bom into the world was no better than Jesus. Well, I was bom. Then I walked around this dump and looked around. It was a whole world, a big mosaic of stained carpets, the water from which was poured into these dumps. And this created such iridescent colours because everything was dumped here. Then rain mixed all the colours as a palette, creating fabulous patterns. To me it was interesting. Mother smacked me all the time, trying to keep me away from these garbage dumps and asking what I had found there. I resisted, but she did not understand what her daughter could see there. And further up, there was badly-stripped lamb skin and a dead dog. All this was there. When spring interfered with this mixture, giving rise to amazing flowers on the edges of the kerbs, the garbage turned into a riot of natural colours and a cele-bration of life - you can't make it up. The flowers were red, orange and purple. I do not know their botanical names, probably, wild iris grew among them. I collected a bunch for myself, sat on the window sills of our home, staring at passers-by, and if I liked any of them for some reason, I stopped them and gave them a flower. But if they had found out that these flowers had been taken from a garbage dump, they probably would not have taken them," Lyubov Mir- Cavadova recalls with a laugh.

Lyubov also proved her right to "abnormality" when she stopped speaking in verses and began to write them. It also happened at seven. She wrote them in a notebook given by her father and kept it together with manuscripts stuffed with his anti- Soviet notes. And she grew up in an anti-Soviet spirit. "Dad ignored 1 May. He called the Soviet Union a fascist state. A disabled veteran, shell-shocked, with a tom ear and shrapnel in his right hand, he learned to write with his left hand and wrote a great book called 'War As It Is'. But the editor, who flipped through the manuscript, pushed it away with trembling hands and almost whis-pered: 'You never came to see me, and I do not know you. Do you understand? You cannot publish any-thing like that. You will get shot by a firing squad.' My father, Nikolay Leontyevich, burned the manuscript in a state of deep depression. This person had never read Soviet publica-tions about the war, never watched a movie about it, never touched his medals and never celebrated Victory Day. I treasured my poetry notebook and never parted with it, and Cavad once told me: "You say that you love me so much. Can you part with this notebook and throw it into the fire?" I replied yes, of course, and threw it into the fire. He was boiling resin to pour into moulds. There were also my last poems there. Cavad rushed for the notebook, and I took more resin and poured it on. He had no chance. I could always show him my love. In the face of such greatness, everything else is nonsense."

A Russian family in Azerbaijan, but Lyubov never felt affiliated to any particular nation. And she admits that if she could be bom again, she would like to be bom in Azerbaijan. "Much of what I've seen here is probably found only in this country. What Russians were here? Most Russians had an imperial mindset and an alternating outlook. Recently, I overheard a conversation between two Russian women marching down the street. What do you think worries two elderly Russian women living in Azerbaijan? Will Medvedev give the Kurils to Japan or not? And yet I am glad that Azerbaijanis are different. I lived on 4th Khrebtovaya Street and was formed by the character inherent in Azerbaijan, including Azerbaijani holidays. Novmz is a different story and something inexpressible. This is when a torch was driven into gaps between residential houses and every house was famous for its own fiery breath. And they were not circus artists. It was ordinary young men who were 20-25 years old. Apparently, it sits in the genes and comes from Zoroastrianism. These places were very crime-ridden. They did not care about Soviet rule. They did what they wanted. People living on 4th Khrebtovaya Street were carri-ers of those echoes, rituals and actions. Yes, I would like to be bom here again if I could."

And then there was love ... mad, passionate and faithful. "Tomorrow marks 20 years of our life together, and I want to tell the whole world: I met an angel (who was lost in fog and landed in the wrong place). I'm old, and now ill and left at the mercy of pictorial forms in art, and I am not always fair to you. But I have always said (you know this), God gave me three miracles: my wife, painting and Abseron!" (Cavad Mir-Cavadov's let-ter to Lyubov Mir-Cavadova)

Their story is a great novel about love in the best example of the genre. Even as a child, little Lyuba con-fessed to her grandmother: "I will marry a real hero!" When she first heard about the artist Cavad Mir- Cavadov, she was 16 years old. At that time, she worked as a tour guide at the Union of Artists of Azerbaijan. "It's interesting what kind of artist it is if he has not participated in any exhibition by the age o 43," she thought. Lyubov set herself the goal of finding and getting to know him. One day she wrote a letter to unsus-pecting parents and went in search of her hero ... to Buzovna. They met only four days later - on the beach. Somewhere on the horizon a broad- shouldered man appeared with hair fluttering in the wind - a real Gulliver. And Lyubov thought to herself: "Here is my hero!" From that moment until the end of the painter's days, his muse was always with him: she supported, cherished and shieldedvhim from turmoil and forgave him. "When we got married, I, as expected, went to live with my husband," says Lyubov Mir-Cavadova. "I remember that snow sprinkled on our bed from a huge hole in the ceiling. That's how we lived.” Cavad Mir- Cavadov always told his future wife: "Bear in mind that you will have nothing with me." But it did not stop her.

By the will of fate, it happened that many of Javad Mir-Javadov's paintings are in Moscow. «He really wanted these paintings to be brought back to Azerbaijan». Lyubov has embarked on this difficult path of returning her spouse's works to the motherland even thought it is costing her not only great difficulty, but also her health. But lyubov believes that it is her duty not only before memory of her husband, but also Azerbaijan.

Naila Bannayeva, an art critic who studied Mir-Cavadova’s art, says that when Lyubov became the wife of the legendary Mir-Cavad, she almost immediately decided to study painting, too, and then Cavad explained that she had two options. First, to go to the Azimzada art school and undergo a so-called "purge" there, i.e. a classic academic course of social realism, and get the cherished diploma in the end, which would give her the right to take orders from the Arts Fund, member¬ship of the Artists' Union and other benefits in the long-term. The second option was to become Mir-Cavad's student, to get an alternative educa¬tion, which he got from the great works in the Hermitage and consid-ered necessary, and start working in the same vein as he did, but without a diploma and without feeling like a cog in the state ideological arts machine. She chose the second way...

Later, Lyubov Mir-Cavadova got a job at the Arts Fund as a type designer - this post did not require arts education. Those first years of life together were extremely difficult from a material point of view. But together they survived. Both then and later, the Mir-Cavadovs did not work in collaboration, but their whole life was long co-authorship in everything...

The energy seething in Cavad Mir-Cavadov's canvases is felt in the works of Lyubov Mir-Cavadova. Various mythological creatures are somewhat aggressive and florid. Even her still lifes can be aggressive in colour which represents a battle- parade of clean, bright and provocative colours on the background of gloomy darkness. Of course, lyricism is not alien to Lyubov Mir-Cavadova pure, delicate and poignant. She has pictures of couples united in love, and in these paintings and sketches the strength of her optimism sounds at the top of its voice.

"I love my paintings. Where does this information come from? I do not know. It is a reality, and it is very rarely connected with sleep. I can paint even with a 40-degree fever. First, I get an idea and then the pic¬ture becomes covered with colours. Then I am more concerned with wads of paint and composition. Of course, many people do not under¬stand my paintings, believing that I am out of my mind. What do I feel? When the lines are right, an entire symphony sings. I'm so in love with myself at this moment that I even begin to call people I do not particu¬larly sympathize with, if others are away. I begin to talk about the paint-ing, laugh, talk nonsense, tell jokes and happily chat. Sometimes, I look like a silly twittering bird.”

Lyubov Mir-Cavadova is engaged not only in painting but also in literature. She is the author of the book "Aytokua", a biographical novel about Cavad Mir-Javadov. Lyubov worked on it for five years, and today this publication is the sole book of an Azerbaijani author, which has been translated into English for the Library of Congress. Lyubov said that the title of the book constantly changed. It dawned on her at the very last moment. "Before writing the book, I watched a programme about the Bushmen, where the priest sang, often repeating the same word - Aytokua. He was asked: 'What is it?' It turned out that it was 'the door to the secret'. I wrote this word on the door to Javad's room. And all this time, the name of the book was in front of me, and it dawned on me at the last moment."

Lyubov Mir-Javadova is still a faithful companion and assistant for the great artist. By the will of fate, it happened that many of Cavad Mir- Cavadov's paintings are in Denmark. "He really wanted these paintings to be brought back to Azerbaijan." Lyubov has embarked on this difficult path of returning her spouse's works to the motherland, even though it is costing her not only great difficulty, but also her health. But Lyubov believes that it is her duty not only before the memory of her husband, but also Azerbaijan, which will become the owner of this priceless gift.

Sabina Mustafayeva,

Region Plus, 20 may 2011 p. 78 - 83