Muraqqa - Data Miniatures







“Muraqqa - Data Miniatures” ensures that miniatures, transcending temporal and geographical boundaries, continue to be celebrated across diverse civilisations, finding new relevance and meaning in our interconnected world. Mammadov's work, reflecting the ethos of UNESCO's mission, stands as a testament to art’s enduring ability to foster cultural exchange and narrate history, inviting us to engage deeply with the shared heritage and lasting legacy of these miniature masterpieces.


“Muraqqa - Data Miniatures” is an anthology of 111 artworks, created by Orkhan Mammadov to mark his transition from computer scientist to renowned artist over a decade. Drawing from his early dreams of animating miniature characters and his pivotal role in showcasing Azerbaijan’s art at the 2019 Venice Biennale, this series breathes life into ancient miniatures, re-envisioning them as living memories of humanity through the lens of advanced technology.

The collection reimagines traditional miniature painting, a genre that once offered glimpses into vast narratives within compact frames, paralleling ancient storyboards. It serves as a bridge to the digital age, transforming intricate data into visual tales that echo the miniatures' fusion of calligraphy and imagery. Mammadov's work is a testament to this synergy, melding the detail of miniatures with the clarity and insight of data visualisation.

Mammadov’s foray into the realm of miniature painting reveals its 13th-century origins at the crossroads of Persian and Indian creativity, underscoring its pivotal role in cross-cultural exchange. His comprehensive analysis encompasses miniatures from Azerbaijan, India, Iran, and Turkey, as well as treasures from the UNESCO-recognised St. Petersburg Muraqqa collection. These artworks, a showcase of the Mughal, Deccan, and Isfahan schools, created between the 16th and 18th centuries, intricately woven with scenes of royal life and Persian calligraphy, were once part of a looted treasure during Nadir Shah’s invasion of India and later acquired for Tsar Nicholas II. This collection embodies the transcultural spirit of miniature art and its enduring narrative of international exchange—now preserved at St. Petersburg’s Institute of Oriental Manuscripts.

Orkhan Mammadov, a native of Azerbaijan—a land at the crossroads of diverse cultural traditions, intertwines this historic art form with modern data visualisation. His innovative use of machine intelligence, employing Diffusion and GAN models, revitalises the classical intricacy of 98 miniatures, transforming them into animated ‘data miniatures.’ These are then intricately displayed through a mesmerising 2 million particle simulation, which not only exhibits the aesthetics of the original works but also infuses them with new life, allowing the past to resonate within the digital landscape of today. "Derived from Arabic, ‘Muraqqa’ denotes a patched garment, symbolising the assemblage of diverse artistic pieces. Like miniatures, data’s intrinsic portability fosters global access and dissemination, echoing art's role in sharing stories and knowledge across cultures,” says the artist.

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