Speech of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at a festive event devoted to the 85th anniversary of great Azerbaijani artist Sattar Bahlulzada - The Palace of Republic, December 17, 1994

Dear compatriots! Culture workers and art admirers! Esteemed sisters and brothers!

Nowadays we are marking the 85th anniversary of great artist, master and personality Sattar Bahlulzada. This is a portentous event in our life. While, we, our people, our citizens, our state are marking the anniversary of Sattar Bahlulzada, we are expressing our respect and esteem and attitude towards culture and art. As Sattar Bahlulzada has an outstanding place in the culture of the Azerbaijani Republic and the people of Azerbaijan and for his great cultural heritage, it is completely justifiable that his jubilee is being held in such a festive mood and as a national holiday.

The people of Azerbaijan have a history of rich culture and art. Our people have made huge contributions to the world civilization and culture throughout centuries. The painting constitutes the lion`s share of our art and the people of Azerbaijan have also own place in the world culture. In the eastern world, in the past and in the medieval, in the ancient periods, the art of painting was in the style of miniature. Some 500 years ago, Sultan Mahammad created a great school of miniature painting and that school continued and influenced the whole of the eastern world. The people of Azerbaijan are proud of this. So far he has followers. The art of miniature painting is a style of painting well-known and highly valued all over the world. I am reiterating, we are proud of this and future generations will do the same. At the same time, the XX century was a period of great events in the cultural life of the people of Azerbaijan. In the twentieth century, our culture developed rapidly in all spheres, granted great personalities to the world culture. Amongst them, Sattar Bahlulzada takes a special place in the sphere of painting.

He is a great personality not only for Azerbaijan, but also for the world culture, for the world of art painting and has left rich cultural heritage. The people of Azerbaijan are proud of such a personality, such a man and will be proud of him from now on.

I know that those in this hall today are fans of Bahlulzada art and are those who are able to evaluate the importance of his art and its significance. But not only we, but I think all our people appreciate the art of Sattar Bahlulzada and are proud of him. Therefore, today is a great cultural holiday for us. On the occasion of this cultural holiday and on the occasion of the day of Sattar Bahlulzada, I congratulate all of you!

Today we saw the exhibition comprising paintings of Sattar Bahlulzada. Of course, this exhibition demonstrates a small share of paintings of the well-known artist. The people familiar with the creativity of Sattar Bahlulzada, those, who studied them and are familiar with him, know that he was a great artist, but also very productive. Unlike others, he was always in the studio and painted a lot of paintings and presented his paintings to friends and acquaintances, individual organizations free of charge. Therefore, if we decide to exhibit Sattar Bahlulzada`s paintings and collect all of his works, a hall and several halls will not be enough to room them. However, the paintings being exhibited at today`s fair also fully demonstrate the greatness of Sattar Bahlulzada`s creativity and mastership.

Sattar Bahlulzada has established a new school in the art of painting. His works, the style of mastership and painting are very original and peculiar. People who know the artist say that their authors are Sattar Bahlulzada as soon as they see his paintings. Sattar Bahlulzada has followers and no doubt they will be for ever.

His works will always exist and his students will create new samples of art. Nevertheless, Sattar Bahlulzada is the founder of this genre, this style and of own school of painting. He created great, valuable and precious paintings.

Sattar Bahlulzada symbolizes Azerbaijan. His paintings depict Azerbaijan, demonstrate and reflect Azerbaijan. This manifests to what extent the artist is devoted to his land, his homeland and his people. He was such a great master that he was able to paint on any topic and subject.

However, almost the majority of his paintings describe Azerbaijan and mainly all the regions of our country. To do this Sattar Bahlulzada no doubt needed to tour the whole of Azerbaijan to familiarize himself with every corner of it. Sattar Bahlulzada also did so. As a man who knew Azerbaijan in-depth, he described our fatherland very well.

His paintings are not ordinary pieces. Sattar Bahlulzada came to painting from classical style - we saw its examples at this fair, later he chose a path of painting peculiar of himself, his world, his philosophy and always remained loyal to that path.

At that time, in the 50-60ss, that is to say, when Sattar Bahlulzada created his first paintings, some people neither understood nor accepted him.

Some people did not know how precious his paintings were. Therefore, paintings painted in classical style were preferred, whereas Sattar Bahlulzada`s paintings were disregarded. However, time passed and Sattar Bahlulzada persistently continued his style, his school and proved the emergence of a new painter both to Azerbaijan and to the whole world. Within a short period of time, he became popular as a great painter with special style and talent not only in Azerbaijan but also in many countries worldwide.

Sattar Bahlulzada has enriched the Azerbaijani culture with his works and as I already said, he created a new school of painting and enriched our art. At the same time, he made popular the Azerbaijani culture, art throughout the world. If Europe is fond of its great painter Picasso, no doubt, we also know Picasso as a great painter and hold his works in high esteem, at the same time, we can note with great pride that Azerbaijan also has a painter equal to Picasso - who is Sattar Bahlulzada and Azerbaijan can be proud of him.

The artist`s paintings are eternal and will be the same in the future. As noted, his God-given talent, his selflessness, his resolve to paint with confidence made Sattar Bahlulzada a great figure and provided conditions for him to make such rich contributions to Azerbaijan.

In connection with the anniversary of the artist, this year his paintings were exhibited in the UN office in New York, in Istanbul and elsewhere. However, not only these are signs of Sattar Bahlulzada`s recognition. The artist`s paintings can now be found in many countries. If we look for them, we can find his paintings in individual collections and fans of art.

He had his own world. As a man he was connected with philosophy. Therefore, Sattar Bahlulzada`s paintings, his life are the demonstration of the painter`s internal world. I knew him very well. In early 1960s, I had good personal relations with Sattar Bahlulzada, and when I was the head of Azerbaijan, I had contacts with this great painter as I loved his profession and respected him as a person. He was an unusual person. He displayed his exceptionality to everybody with own paintings. People unfamiliar with the painter witnessed the painter`s originality, novelty.

Many of those in the hall today maybe did not see and were not familiar with him, but they have a feeling of them owing to his works. As a man he was determined and selfless, loved the painting and devoted his whole life to this profession.

This person was never after fame, titles, and awards. He was never interested in such things. Therefore, his life was very simple and modest. It is possible that his personal everyday life was very difficult - I know this too - however, together with these, his internal world, his morality, his paintings are so great that they introduced Sattar Bahlulzada as a great figure and will do the same in future.

When decreeing the commemoration of Sattar Bahlulzada`s 85th anniversary, on the one hand, no doubt, I took this decision as a sign of highly assessing his creativity and on the other hand, this is a symbol, a manifestation of our respect and esteem, of the independent Azerbaijani state to our morality, art, our artists and their profession. Simultaneously, while marking this anniversary, we should also know our duties. These duties are that we have to collect all the paintings of Sattar Bahlulzada and prepare their catalogue. We have to create a painting centre named after the outstanding artist. We have to establish a Sattar Bahlulzada museum.

True, he has a house museum where he lived. This is natural and was established in due time. We should protect and keep it. But speaking about a museum, I bear in mind a permanent museum comprising Sattar Bahlulzada`s paintings. As both the life of the artist and his creation, his works, his cultural and moral heritage are a source of morality, a school for the present and future of our people. We should benefit from Sattar Bahlulzada`s works to further strengthen our people`s aesthetic education.

Now despite hardships and difficulties, we should never forget about culture. It should always be with us, we should care about culture and we should develop it. Hardships are temporary. Life is permanent as culture and painting are.

Therefore, for the upbringing of future generations, for their upbringing on the samples from Sattar Bahlulzada`s life, his devotion to his profession, hardworking, modesty, at the same time, for the upbringing of the future generations under the moral and philosophical influence of the artist`s works, we should pay much attention to Sattar Bahlulzada`s heritage. We should treat it carefully, should take care of it and do our best for those paintings to be collected, for them to be at one of our big cultural centres, and for we can have our culture now and in future developed on in the example of Sattar Bahlulzada creativity.

While celebrating Sattar Bahlulzada`s anniversary, we pay our homage to all our workers of art, artists. Now I can say with great pride that the Azerbaijani school of painting, the Azerbaijani artists was in the lead in the XX century. I can say this as a man who is familiar with the works of artists worldwide; I can say this with full confidence by drawing a comparison between them. We sometimes are unable to evaluate pearls around us. However, the truth is that in the XX century, in particular, after 1930s there emerged splendid and grand, versatile and many-sided schools of painting with great artists in Azerbaijan.

They have introduced the Azerbaijani school of painting to the world. We are proud of it. We should care about the works of our artists and provide them with opportunities to create magnificent pieces of paintings.

We have been in the war for six years. This period is a difficult period for Azerbaijan and is full of hardships. This period should find its illustration in all the spheres of our culture, including in paintings of our artists. Those paintings should also be painted now. I remember a strong passion of painters after the 1990 tragedy. They were describing those days, that period in their paintings with a great sense. At that time, when I arrived in Baku from Moscow, I saw a number of new paintings and was very glad.

However, our contemporary period that Azerbaijan has gained its independence and is protecting it now, its struggle for the protection of the lands, the cruelty against our people, martyrs, the presence of over 1m refugees and their living standards - these are great pages of the Azerbaijani history. These should be reflected in the creativity of our masters of art and culture. I wish our artists to reflect this period in their paintings. I hope today`s jubilee gathering, the assessment of Sattar Bahlulzada`s creativity and personality will further inspire our artists and they will paint beautiful paintings about both our people`s historical past and the contemporary period, in particular about the recent years.

I congratulate you all on the 85th anniversary of Sattar Bahlulzada and this anniversary. I want to stress once again that Sattar Bahlulzada`s life, creativity; his works are a source of morality for now and future.

We can be proud that the people of Azerbaijan, the land of Azerbaijan, Baku, the village of Amircan raised such a great figure like Sattar Bahlulzada, who has taken a proper place in the world culture.

Long live Azerbaijani culture!

Thank you!