Rakif Ismayilov, 64, is a street artist. His first painting was on a carpet woven by his grandmother. He later graduated from art school.
Ismayilov painted portraits of tourists on Nizami Street (aka Torgovaya), the central shopping street, for four years. His customers were mostly tourists from Arab countries. After the Covid lockdown, tourists disappeared and, as a senior citizen, he was forbidden to leave the house. And so, Rakif was unemployed for 11 months.
Now, he is waiting for the country to reopen and tourists to return to Baku.
Street artists at home during lockdown
Many Azerbaijani villages, like Shamlig, are dying as families abandon their homes to escape the poverty and poor living conditions in rural communities.