Art classes project provides therapeutic support in Leicester

by Cristina Olaru

A portrait artist has developed an art class project in Leicester, offering ‘a new way to socialise’ and relax through painting.

Ali Agayev, from Azerbaijan, the founder of Leicester Art Zone and member of Beyond Borders UK, has created, along with few volunteers, a place for relaxation through art, where anyone interested in learning to paint or improve their skill can join.

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Artist Ali Algayev drawing at British Museum in London (photo: Instagram page)

Leicester Art Zone is a non-profit organisation for artists and art lovers, launched in March 2014, with the main purpose to morally support everyone – in particular people in need of special care.

Artist Ali Agayev, 45, said: “Our aim is to look after elderly people, disabled people, to not let them stay at home, feeling down. We want to bring them here to enjoy the art and to relax. Many of them come here and paint and they forget their condition.”

Moreover, the artist expressed his genuine desire to bring Leicester Art Zone to an academic level, where individuals can learn the art of painting and drawing.

Artist Ali Agayev, said: “My aim is to see Leicester Art Zone as an art academy with a big gallery. Anyone who comes to Leicester has to visit us because this place will have beautiful paintings to inspire visitors.”

Ali’s passion for art emerged from the joy that he found in painting and drawing at the early stage of studying Electrical Engineering at Leicester College.

The artist said: “I found more joy in art than electronics. Then I felt in myself like a power saying I can make beautiful art and I followed this route.

“When I started many people laughed about me, about my drawings, but with the time they’ve seen I am getting there, I am getting better – and when I made Leicester Art Zone everybody again, was not supportive, but you see, I got a vision.

“I want to create beautiful things with Leicester Art Zone and thorough this project everybody to feel free to come and join, have a coffee, a laugh and paint together. I see it like a new way to socialise.

“Let’s go for a coffee and draw something!”

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Leicester Art Zone painting class (photo: Cristina Olaru)

Leicester Art Zone also organizes day trips to museums throughout England, history lessons about the art of painting, competitions, exhibitions and socialising evenings with DJ, food and drinks. During the week it offers a wide range of art classes, where anyone interested in art and its benefits can participate.

The art classes are designed for beginners too. Artists such as Olabayo Ishola, a De Montfort University PhD Data Privacy graduate, are volunteering to help eager art lovers to develop their painting skills.

Mr Ishola said: “I joined Leicester Art Zone about eight months ago just to have an extra-curricular activity to do away from my PhD, but after meeting Ali, getting to know him and seeing his passion to help people through art, I decided to volunteer as a manager and help achieve his goal.”

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DMU PhD graduate Olabayo Ishola (photo: Cristina Olaru)


Media students from De Montfort University had filmed and photographed one of the art classes for an engaging promo video coming soon for Leicester Art Zone.

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DMU Students Henry, Thomas and Ben (photo: Cristina Olaru)


Mr Agayev encouraged people to do what they love and to pursue it, because eventually it will happen by having the vision and working hard.

He said: “You will get there in couple of years’ time and you will benefit from it in five years’ time and then you will enjoy your life because you are doing what you love to do.”

More information about the project:

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