On November 14, opening of the exhibition “Stars of Absheron. Azerbaijani Artists of 1960-1980s” took place at the Russian State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, with the joint support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, the Culture Ministry of the Russian Federation, and “Marjani” Foundation.
Azerbaijan’s First Lady, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva addressed the ceremony:
- I am very pleased to return again to Moscow, a city, to which I am bound by sincere and bright memories. Being at the State Tretyakov Gallery, which marks its 160th anniversary this year and has been for long years serving to such a noble work as preserving Russia’s cultural heritage, is particularly pleasing. Taking this opportunity, I would like to congratulate all the employees of the museum on this historical jubilee from the bottom of my heart.
Today, we are opening the exhibition “Stars of Absheron. Azerbaijani Artists of 1960-1980s”. This exposition has been realised thanks to the joint endeavours of the State Tretyakov Gallery, the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and “Marjani” Foundation. Taking the opportunity, I would like to thank the Culture Ministry of the Russian Federation, the curator of the exhibition and everyone who has made contribution to the realization of this project.
Dear Zelfira Ismailovna, I would like to express my special thanks to you for your assistance and support for the realization of the project. This exhibition is a very significant event in the cultural life of Azerbaijan, and I am hopeful it will become an important event in Russia’s cultural life too. I would like to greet all our guests and thank them for being with us this evening.
It was by no chance that the organizers of the exhibition addressed the 60-80s of the 20th century. This was a period when the Azerbaijani culture experienced a great time of development. In this period, great musicians, composers, artists and sculptors lived and created in Azerbaijan. Their names are known far beyond the boundaries of the republic. They were famous all over the Soviet Union. Creativity of such great masters of art as Tahir Salahov, Sattar Bahlulzadeh, Toghrul Narimanbeyov, Ashraf Murad, Tofig Javadov, Javad Mirjavadov, Rasim Babayev and many others experienced prosperity during this period. Works by very bright and great artists of that period are brought together in this exposition. This is not only a historical heritage of the Azerbaijani fine arts. This is a complete school, a complete direction, which has later educated its followers. In today’s Azerbaijan, there are many young and talented artists embodying the artistic aesthetics of that period in their creativity.
Dear friends, preparations for this exhibition took more than a year, and works by the most eminent and brilliant artists of the Azerbaijani fine arts school are presented to you. These works reflect the trends of that time, as well as the features of one of the leading national art schools of the Soviet Union. Each artist being represented here is a unique individual, and rare destiny. All of them were pioneers, creators of complete directions in the Azerbaijani painting art, and Azerbaijani sculptural art, and remain to be so. Each of them has his/her own style, own character. Nonetheless, I’m sure, having become familiarized with the exposition, you will see a common beginning which links these works. No doubt, this is love for the homeland, loyalty to sources, connectedness to roots and single mentality expressed in the topics. These are native landscapes of Garabagh, hot air of Absheron. I very much hope you will sense the unusual energetics and emotional richness of these works.
Another trait of today’s exhibition, as described rightly in an interview given by esteemed Zelfira Ismailovna recently to Baku magazine, is washing off boundaries. Indeed, we are going to see works by artists, eminent artisans whose creativity had been recognized while still alive, who had played a great role in the formation of Azerbaijan’s painting school. Nevertheless, at the same time, artisans not known to a wide audience in Azerbaijan too used to live and create. They had no possibilities to arrange their exhibitions, as their creativity was not in agreement with the officially accepted ideological line, if we can say so. Despite the restrictions, they did not refuse to look for means of expressing themselves in a creative fashion. The peculiarity of these artists’ works was the absolute freedom of creativity and attempt to make the national traditions of the Azerbaijani schools come to an agreement with avant-garde quests of the European art. Today, Azerbaijan is proud of their names, and their creativity is the classics of the Azerbaijani art.
Dear friends, this is the first time that such an exhibition comprised of Azerbaijani artists’ works is held. It is absolutely natural for me that this exhibition is held namely in Moscow, the capital of the Russian Federation. Relations between Azerbaijan and Russia have been built on a solid ground. The characteristic feature of these friendly relations is mutual understanding and close cooperation. Our countries and peoples are bound today by a number of common trends and directions, along with the common historical past. We particularly observe this in the cultural sphere. Of course, this is, first of all, the great Russian language and great Russian literature. You too, apparently, know that Azerbaijan is one of the few countries where the education in Russian has been preserved in full volume. There are over 300 schools functioning in our country with a hundred percent education in Russian. The Azerbaijan Russian Dramatic Theatre named after Samad Vurghun, the Russian Culture Centre, the Slavic University and a branch of the Moscow State University named after M.V.Lomonosov are functioning in Baku. Since the last year, a branch of the I.M.Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University started to operate in Baku. Of course, all these show that we could manage to preserve the common science and cultural space. Without a doubt, this, in turn, has had an impact on an interstate level and, as a result, prompted more sincere relations between people and citizens of our countries.
Dear friends, art, literature and music have centuries long been symbols of culture, humanism, beauty and moral values, and continues to be so. It is these universal and literary values that are doubtless orientation in our world full of, unfortunately, sometimes complex, unpredictable conflicts and misunderstanding. I would like to express my profound thanks to all who have disseminated nice and high moral values in our life. In conclusion, I would like to thank everyone who have contributed to the realization of this exposition. Dear friends, I want to thank you for being with us this evening and invite all of you to visit Azerbaijan. Thank you for your attention.