Rafail Aliyev was born in 1953 in Goychay. From 1961 to 1971 he studied at a secondary school in Baku. In 1971 he entered art school to gain a Degree in Metal Art processing. From 1974 to 1976 he served in the Armed forces of the USSR. Since 1977 he has worked in the Art Fund of Azerbaijan. During the years 1982 to 1987 Rafail studied at the state Pedagogical Institute at the faculty of "Art Graphics".
In 1988 he joined the Union of Artists of the USSR. Was adopted in Moscow. At the same time, he became a member of the Union of Artists of Azerbaijan in the Decorative and Applied Arts section. Up until 1995 Rafail worked in various techniques such as forging, embossing, engraving, chemical etching, enamels.
Rafail has participated in many exhibitions in Baku, Moscow and abroad. His works are in museums and private collections. Since 2016, he has been exhibiting his paintings. One work is in the private collection of George Soros. There are a lot of works in exteriors and interiors in Baku and across the Republic of Azerbaijan.
From 1995 to 2015, Rafail worked on the design and re-equipment of ships and floating drilling rigs in the Caspian sea where he participated in more than 40 projects, whilst at the same time furthering his education and training in the art of painting. On a personal level Rafail really likes the painting of Latin American artists, especially Mexican Rufino Tamayo.