In memoriam to the Khojaly victims
On 25 February a landmark exhibition opened at the Galerie Schultz – one of the most prestigious contemporary art galleries in Berlin – dedicated to the 613 civilian victims of the Khojaly Massacre.
This was the worst single atrocity of the Armenian–Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, and the death toll included 106 women, 63 children and 70 elderly people. The exhibition was organised by the Berlin office of The European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS).
The massacre took place 25 years ago on 26 February 1992. Currently, Armenia continues to occupy Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven surrounding districts, amounting to approximately 20 per cent of Azerbaijani sovereign territory, in defiance of four UN Security Council resolutions. Around one million Azerbaijani refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) remain in camps for internally displaced persons, amounting to a humanitarian tragedy of macrocosmic proportions.
The exhibition saw the renowned Azerbaijani artist Ashraf Geibatov unveil his latest creations, all of which represent aspects of the Khojaly Massacre. He has been professionally active since 1981 and has exhibited far and wide, including the NATO Headquarters in Brussels; the Palais des Nations at the UN in Geneva; and the Vatican. He applies his art to the enhancement of international understanding, and is famous for capturing the soul of Azerbaijan. The eponymous gallerist Michael Schultz, host of this exhibition, intersperses exhibitions by such famous artists as Andy Warhol and Gerhard Richter with supporting rising stars from the art scene, being known by the international cognoscenti as ‘Berlin’s best nose for young art.’
The event took place under the auspices of the Justice for Khojaly campaign. Speaking to 300 guests, including H.E. Ramin Hasanov, Azerbaijani Ambassador to Germany and leading political and media figures, Tale Heydarov, Chairman, TEAS, explained: “This event is organised within the Justice for Khojaly Campaign, an international awareness campaign initiated by Mrs Leyla Aliyeva, Vice-President, Heydar Aliyev Foundation. This campaign started in 2008 and has achieved a great deal of international support for the regaining of justice in this region. To date, it has organised events in over 100 countries in Europe, America, Asia and Africa. This year, TEAS is organising events in Athens, Bern, Brussels, London, Luxembourg, Paris, Prague, Sofia and Vilnius, in addition to tonight’s opening here in Berlin.”
Mr Heydarov continued: “It is an immense pleasure to welcome the audience, including H.E. Ramin Hasanov, Azerbaijani Ambassador to Germany; especially Professor Heintze and, of course Ashraf Geibatov, the artist, whose paintings have brought us together this evening. The interaction between a great artist like Mr Geibatov and such an internationally successful gallerist as Mr Schultz have resulted in an exhibition that embraces the humanitarian tragedy of the Khojaly Massacre which occurred 25 years ago, and sensitively draws attention to the destiny of the internally displaced persons whose lives continue to be impacted by the conflict and have one overwhelming wish – to return home.”