Farhad Gurban oglu Khalilov was a bright and original personality within the first Azeri All-Union Youth exhibitions in the late 60s and early 70s. Early in his career he attracted the attention of the art community and painting scholars in Azerbaijan. He began his studies at the Azerbaijan A. Azimzade State Art School (1961-1966), then continued his studies in Moscow, where he attended the Higher Industrial Art School (formerly Stroganov) (1966) and the Moscow Polygraphic Insti- tute (1969-1975), where his work was highly rated by its famous teachers A. D. Goncharov and B. M. Basov.
Khalilov fell into a scene of talented young artists, spent a lot of time among non-conformists, and held make-shift apartment exhibitions. He navigated a global art scene whilst simultaneously main- taining his connection with the national tradition. After returning home, he was elected Chairman of the Union of Artists in Azerbaijan. When the Soviet Union collapsed, the independent Artists’ Union was reestablished in Azerbaijan with its own charter (before, there was one general charter for all of the Artists’ Unions in the USSR).
The predominant motifs found in Khalilov’s works are the landscapes, sea and views of the Apsher- on peninsula. His works are characterized by a generalized interpretation of colour and space, and lack of narrative. The works are close to abstract minimalism; the image is often reduced to a sign that figuratively and poetically expresses the impression of the nature of the South, working within the genre of what can be described as a symbolic landscape. We also immediately feel the internal relationship with these new traditions of Azerbaijani painting; in the understanding of colour, and in a hidden but undeniable sense of decoration. Khalilov’s work is a fusion of Russian and European painting traditions together with Eastern culture.