Is Zaha Hadid the New Leni Riefenstahl?

zaha_hadid_2.jpgSuperstar architect Zaha Hadid has unfortunately decided to throw away any progressive and humanistic values she may have held and help Azeri dictator, Ilham Aliyev, build a center to honor his equally-dictatorial and megalomaniac father Heydar Aliyev. Is the art and architecture world so money hungry that they’ll do anything for an oil buck? (Did I mention Azerbaijan is very very oil-rich?) Let’s not forget last year’s controversial Louvre/Abu Dhabi deal that is still raising eyebrows (here’s Znet’s take & CultureGrrl mentioned the human rights questions surrounding the deal).

Both Aliyevs:

and…well…here are some recent human rights reports from:

According to the Scotsman:

AZERBAIJAN’S ruling elite has grown rich from oil and now it is to acquire the ultimate status symbol: a monument to the president’s father designed by one of the world’s most sought-after architects.

The Azeri government has commissioned Zaha Hadid, an Iraqi-born Briton…build a cultural centre in honour of Heydar Aliyev, the man who founded the ruling dynasty.

It will also deepen the posthumous cult of personality around the former KGB officer who ran Azerbaijan for three decades before his death in 2003. His son, Ilham Aliyev, a reformed playboy, took over the presidency.“This centre will be an example of respect for the legacy of Heydar Aliyev and become a symbol of Azerbaijan’s modern capital,” Ilham Aliyev said at a ceremony marking the start of work.Although they refuse to reveal how much it will cost, the project, to be paid for by the government, is likely to run into tens of millions of pounds.It will be a major outlay for a country where, according to the World Bank, the average monthly income is about £125 and 29 per cent of the population live in poverty.

Reminds me of Leni Riefenstahl’s work for Hitler, though Hadid’s work will (hopefully) be remembered for more than her Azeri building, Hadid is selling out her aesthetic vision for a dictator eager to cover up his bloody and authoritarian regime with pretty buildings that will woo tourists….SHAME ON ZAHA HADID!

{hat tip to Blogian}

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