Mr.Bayram Hajızadeh`s speech in yesterday`s Zemun conference/ from Azerbaijan

Cartoon museums news
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Dear participants of the arrangement, friends and colleagues,
First of all, I would like to thank our dear friends Branko Najhold and Bojana Ivanovich for their hospitality and invitation to this beautiful country.
Dear participants of the arrangement, I am here today in front of you as the president of Azerbaijan Cartoonists’ Union and at the same time, the representative of the Memorial House named after the first cartoonist of Azerbaijan Azim Azimzadeh. In my speech I am going to give you a short information about the activity of this museum, the status of the cartoon in our country and our success and problems. But, first of all, I would like to utter a few words about the cartoon history of Azerbaijan, the process of formation and discovery of the cartoon in our country and at the same time the circle of influence of Azerbaijan cartoon. 
I should say that the Cartoon History of Azerbaijan takes the beginning just in XVI-XVII centuries. One would come across with the initial specimens of this art just in Azerbaijan miniatures of the Middle Ages.
The formation of the cartoon as an independent genre in Azerbaijan coincides with the end of XIX and the beginning of XX centuries. Today with the sense of pride I must say that “Molla Nasraddin” being known in the whole Muslim East, at the same time the first and only comic magazine was published in 1906 just in Azerbaijan in the native Azerbaijani language. It is no mere chance that more than 20 satirical magazines and newspapers were published in 1906-1920 only in Baku City. This is a very big number.
The Azerbaijan cartoon having traditions of the democratic European and Russian cartoon school was a bridge between the West and the East. The Azerbaijan cartoon meeting the highest requirements of that period, using traditions of the European cartoon school has taken the responsibility of passing this kind of art to neighbouring countries. The scientists and researchers of the world have got enough important and significant thoughts about the role of the Azerbaijan comic graphics, comic press, specially  the magazine “Molla Nasraddin” in formation and further discovery of the comic press of peoples of Iran, the Middle East, the Crimea, Tataristan, the Caucasus and the peoples living along the Volga.
Concluding this talk about the history I must say that the magazine “Molla Nasraddin” which brought the cartoon school of Europe to the East again restored its publication in Baku and from 1922 to 1931 more than 300 issues of it came out. During these years the chief artist of the magazine was Azim Azimzadeh who I am going to tell you about. This well-known person and great cartoon master almost from the first issue – from 1906 to 1931 – closely cooperated with “Molla Nasraddin”. Today making a speech in front of you I feel pride as I represent one of the cartoon centres of Azerbaijan which conveys the name of the great master – Azim Azimzadeh’s memorial house
The house where Azim Azimzadeh was born, grew up, lived and created after his death turned into the museum. The memorial house set up to perpetuate this great artist’s memory was formed according to the order of the Ministry of Culture of Azerbaijan Government in 1968.
Today the artist’s 2000 exhibits are preserved in the fund of the memorial house. The artists’s works are constantly demonstrated in the museum which is situated in the area of 200 m² and consists of 6 rooms. At the same time Azimzadeh school followers’ – Azerbaijan cartoonists’ exhibitions are often  organized in the museum.
Every year about 3000 people visit the museum. Majority of them are worshipers of Azimzadeh’s creativity, the guests of our country, young artists and students. 
On the initiative of Ministry of Azerbaijan Culture and Tourism, Baku Culture Department, the Union of Azerbaijan Artists, the Union of Azerbaijan Cartoonists exhibitions, arrangements, round-table meetings, readings are constantly organized and the presentations of newly published books, catalogues and albums are held in the museum.
As you know, in 1910 we announced the International Cartoon Contest “Molla Nasreddin” – Azerbaijan” on the occasion of A.Azimzadeh’s 130th anniversary and it was held successfully. We published the book of 180 pages that would be able to lighten A.Azimzadeh’s creativity and sent it to more than 300 artists and participants of the contest as a present. I hope you liked the book the author of which is me. All this is because of our respect to Azimzadeh’s spirit.
The Minister of Azerbaijan Culture and Tourism Mr.Abulfaz Qarayev has recently signed the order in connection with the fundamental reparing of Azim Azimzadeh memorial house. Of course, as a result of attention given and care taken by the state, the museum strenghening its material and technical basis will be provided with new modern equipment. And this will have given a push to the increasing of the activity and opportunities of the museum. 
And, of course, these are striking examples of the state’s care taken of the cartoonist, his productive activity and creativity and the love of the people. I consider that today there is Azim Azimzadeh’s portion in each success and each victory of Azerbaijani cartoonist.
Today the independent activity of the Union of Cartoonists in Azerbaijan, the creation of “The Cartoon” section in  Azerbaijan Artists’ Union,  the teaching of the subject “The Cartoon History” at Azerbaijan State Culture and Art University, various satirical magazines published in the Republic and the recent foundation of  Azerbaijan Cartoon Centre, certainly, serve to get the cartoon genre known and promote it in the end.
It is just the cartoon which makes us closer to each other, links our fates and the endless love and affection towards the cartoon. As a result of this cooperation and friendship the cartoon gets known and discovered more. Such arrangements are very important in order to accelerate this prosses and promote the cartoon more widely.
Of course, there are problems here too, as it is in other fields. We would like the material and technical basis of the cartoon museums, cartoon houses and centres to be much stronger. We wish the state’s attention to this field increased, the number of the sponsors giving devices rose to realize new projects. But I am sure that if there is none of them, we will be faithful to our work and speciality and serve the cartoon disinterestedly. I believe that the endless love and affection towards the cartoon of each of us is the only factor which gives us strengh and stimulus. The vital example of it is our friends Branko Najhold and Bojana Ivanovich’s disintersted service to this kind of art. On behalf of each of us I thank them once again for their significant work.
I think that each of us can cope with all problems in this work which we love most of all and will have enough strength to solve these problems coming across with them. It is because of our strength, our unity and love to the cartoon.
Dear friends, I wish each of you success, new achievements and victories and good luck in your important, significant and honourable work.

Thank you for your attention.

The President of Azerbaijan Cartoonists’ Union,
The Director of Azerbaijan Cartoon Centre  
Bayram Hajızadeh{jcomments on}