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PROFILES

Niyaz Najafov

Fighting Man

BY NED CARTER MILES

Portrait of Niyaz Najafov.

Photo by Ned Carter Miles for ArtAsiaPacific.

“Why don’t you punch the face?” Niyaz Najafov’s coach would often ask him when the artist first started training as a boxer in his youth.

The answer lies in the split-second dilemma that occurs between making a fist and connecting it with the most fragile and expressive part of an opponent’s body. The situation represents the same conflict between brutality and compassion that makes the Azerbaijani painter’s work so affecting. The scenes…

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