Bernama – Azerbaijan’s Shusha city fosters closer people-to-people ties through cultural events

KUALA LUMPUR, July 5 (Bernama) — A recent arts and culture event showcasing the rich heritage of the ancient city of Shusha attracted many visitors and strengthened cultural ties between Malaysia and Azerbaijan.

According to a statement from the Azerbaijan Embassy in Malaysia, the three-day event titled “Shusha from a Malaysian Perspective”, held at the KL City Art Gallery, aimed to raise awareness among Malaysians about the city of Shusha, the cultural capital of Azerbaijan, and promote friendship between the people of the two brotherly countries.

“Shusha endured nearly three decades of Armenian occupation but its liberation by Azerbaijani forces in November 2020 marked the beginning of its reconstruction. The city is a sacred symbol of Azerbaijan, a center of culture and art, and a testament to its historic victory,” the statement said.

The event was organized by Sonmaz Mashal Cultural Relations Public Service Union with financial support from the Non-Governmental Organization National Aid Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan Malaysia and KL City Art Gallery.

The project was realised in collaboration with the Embassy of Azerbaijan in Malaysia, KL City Art Gallery and the National Museum of Azerbaijan, following the proclamation last year at the 12th Islamic World Ministers of Culture Conference in Doha, Qatar, that the city of Shusha would be designated the “Cultural Capital of the Islamic World” for 2024.

The art exhibition, titled “A Journey Through Karabakh in Colors,” featured works by Azerbaijani artists and focused on the history, cultural and religious monuments and daily life of the ancient city of Shusha, which means “glass,” “clean” and “pure” in Azerbaijani.

About 30 paintings by well-known Azerbaijani artists Rafail Alizadeh, Yusif Mirza, Azeri artists Guner Agakisieva, Toghrul Aghayev, Iqbal Hassanelizadeh, Narmina Urkanova, Narmin Abdullayeva, Leyla Orjova, Abbas Mammadov and Saadat Abdullayeva were exhibited.

The exhibition was inaugurated by KL City Art Gallery Director Maison Omar.

Counselor at the Azerbaijan Embassy in Malaysia Elsever Salmanov spoke about the importance of Shusha for Azerbaijanis and in the history of Azerbaijan, adding that after its liberation, Shusha has entered a new period of development.

Musical performances on the theme of Shusha and Karabakh were also presented. Young Azerbaijani singer Zeinab Najafova performed popular songs such as “Garabag”, “My Shusha” and “Cloudy Mountains of Shusha”. Malaysian singer Lois Saayan’s rendition of “My Heaven – Garabag” followed by a duet with Zeinab Najafova on “Cloudy Mountains of Shusha” was also part of the opening program.

Aibanis Ismailova, a native of Shusha and an expert on Shusha cuisine, presented samples of Shusha and Karabakh cuisine to the guests, who enjoyed dishes such as “dil plov” and “plov with giyma”, as well as galabag and Azerbaijani sweets.

Shahra Nagiyeva, chairperson of the Sonmaz Mashal Public Union for Cultural Relations, said the aim of these events is to deepen understanding of Shusha’s turbulent history and highlight the city’s role in the history and development of Azerbaijan’s culture.

On June 25th, a “roundtable” on the history of the city of Shusha was held at the Yunus Amre Institute in Kuala Lumpur as part of “Shusha from a Malaysian Perspective.”

The audience also had the opportunity to watch the feature-length documentary film “Cloud Mountain of Shusha.”

Tolga Ucak, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Turkish Embassy in Malaysia, said Shusha is a proud city and stressed the importance of viewing and conveying the city’s history through the film.

— Bernama

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