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NTU Fine Art student Agil Abdullayev


The tutors and technicians are great! They have helped me to improve my works more than I could have ever imagined. Joining NTU has been the best decision I have ever made.

More about Agil

What made you choose to study Fine Art at NTU?
“I came across NTU when I was looking for art universities abroad while in Azerbaijan. Initially, I wanted to study in London, as the capital city it was the main representation I had of the UK, however when factoring in tuition fees and living costs researching universities outside of London became my priority.

“When I found out that one of my favourite artists, Simon Starling studied at NTU, and about the success of graduates such as Marianna Simnett, Jasmine Johnson, and Hetain Patel, I decided to apply for the BA (Hons) Fine Art course.

“Before coming to the UK, my practice included paintings only and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue making works on canvas. I wanted to explore new mediums and develop my art practice. NTU is one of the few universities outside of London that offer a fine art course without a specific medium, and that is exactly what I was looking for.”

How did it feel to be selected for Bloomberg New Contemporaries?
“Bloomberg New Contemporaries is an annual showcase of the some of the best artists emerging from UK art schools. I was one of 57 artists to be selected and will have the opportunity to showcase my work in a national touring exhibition that will launch at Liverpool Biennial this July before travelling to the South London Gallery in December.

“I was smiling all day when I found out I had been selected! I’m really excited and honoured, and I’m looking forward to being a part of the exhibition.”

What do you enjoy most about your course?
“The project spaces, the art store, the editing suite, my tutors, the technicians, my course mates, everyone and everything really! It was a big change for me moving to the UK and a huge culture shock, but I was given such a warm welcome and the School of Art & Design has now become my second home.”

What is the most valuable thing you have learnt from your course so far?
“Failure can be very helpful – everything is a learning process. Failure can become an advantage as it can direct you down a new path you hadn’t thought of. I think it's become a very important thing for me, especially as I work in film and performance. In the post-production stages I often discover that something went wrong during filming. NTU has taught me how to find a positive in everything and how to work with what I have and turn it into something I’m proud of.”

Has your course included any speakers / lecturers from industry?
“We’ve had lots of live lectures by amazing practising artists, but for me Larry Achiampong and The White Pube were the best. I had the opportunity to have a 1-2-1 tutorial with them to receive feedback on my work. It was great to hear a different perspective and the advice they shared helped me to see my practice differently and improve it. The day after the tutorial I was offered a month-long online residency on the The White Pube website. It was amazing!”

What do you like about studying and living in Nottingham?
“The city is not too big or too small, and it has a pulsing art scene home to established galleries such as New Art Exchange and Nottingham Contemporary. The art community and network is great, which has opened up lots of opportunities for me to exhibit my work. There’s also an abundance of artist-led gallery spaces, which are curated and coordinated by NTU grads such as Hutt Collective and Primary. I never miss their exhibition openings!”

Why would you recommend your course and NTU to prospective students?
“The tutors and technicians are great!  They have helped me to improve my works more than I could have ever imagined. Joining NTU has been the best decision I have ever made.”

What are your ambitions for the future?
“If five years ago someone told me that today I would be doing this interview as an exemplary student I wouldn’t have believed them. I have already come so far, but I want to continue on this path and become a successful artist and be part of something that will add to the world. My mum taught me that the key to success is working hard, so I am looking forward to seeing where my hard work will take me.”

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