Azerbaijan: A Woman's Right to Nudity

Author: Sultana Ahmadbayli

Edition: Unseen Borders

“Reader discretion advised: this article may contain strong visual content that is not for readers under the age of 18."



The human body has been seen as a repository of ideas and values across  eras and cultures. It has revealed the divinity of beauty, encapsulated notions of faith and fertility, embodied the supernatural. 

Its representations have been contemplated and studied, they have been used for educational as well as entertaining purposes. These depiction have also served as a blank paper for artists to express their social and political visions, and voiced their criticisms of coercive societies’ representation of the women’s body.

In her project "¿Por qué?" (Why?), photographer Sultana Ahmadbayli dissects the patriarchal society that crushes young women seeking their freedom, their autonomy, and equality.

Men dominate the public space. Ahmadbayli senses the man as the owner, and ruler of the public space.

In their private space, women are free to express fully their femininity, with its power and primal force. There, nudity becomes a symbol of freedom. The outside world oppresses the body, and women turn to their inner world as a refuge. There they find a latent opportunity to express themselves, freely.

Ahmadbayli carefully stages her photographs – a game of light and shadow accompanies the artist’s gaze along delicate feminine curves, revealing her distinct perception on gender against opposing social norms.



“This article reflects the creative visual and written perspective of the author and not Chai Khana or its donors."

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