Azerbaijan International

Autumn 1995 (3.3)
Page 81

In Search of a Magical "Jinni"
Azerbaijan Poster Contest

by Anne Kressler

It's an age-old story known throughout the world, not just in Azerbaijan. "Jinni in the Bottle" is the tale of a tiny, imaginary creature-a jinni-with supernatural capabilities, who gets trapped inside a bottle and begs to get free. The story's hero enters and succeeds in releasing the jinni. In gratitude, the jinni promises to fulfill any wish the hero might have.

"Jinni in the Bottle" is this year's winner of the Second Annual Poster Contest, sponsored by Unocal Khazar. The competition, entitled "Azerbaijan Today" gives artists a chance to express their feelings about contemporary issues. Tarlan Gorchu and Elchin Mamedov shared first place for the concept and the execution of the design. Their depiction of the "jinni" was of oil trapped in the strata of sandy layers far below the floor of the Caspian; the "Liberator" was none other than AIOC-the 11 oil companies which along with SOCAR (State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic) make up the Consortium, and which plan to develop the enormous energy riches of offshore oil.

Last year, Ben Talley, Unocal's General Manager for Business Development in the former Soviet Union, was present at the Award's Ceremony and expressed his interest in how artists' perceptions would evolve over time (See AI: Autumn 1994). Last year's first place winner, Fikret Alekberov, depicted a fragile seedling, symbolized by the flag, succeeding in breaking through a heavy cement slab only to become the bull's eye in a rifle sight.

In essence, the symbolism of the First Prize winners both years are similar. Both reflect the incredible effort of Azerbaijan to break forth and realize its potential. Both express the precariousness and fragility of the nation's present status. Both reflect hope that Azerbaijan will succeed.

More than 80 artists participated this year. According to Public Relations Liaison, Shaik Safarov, Unocal hopes to make the poster contest an annual event. They're glad to help strengthen the arts in Azerbaijan. Ten monetary prizes were given this year. In addition, children were encouraged with brushes, paints, colored pencils, and watercolors-a valued gift during the country's difficult economic transition.

The 1995 Award's Ceremony for the Poster Contest was held in the Baku Arts Center on May 25th as one of the city's celebrations of Azerbaijan's Independence Day (May 28). Special guests included U. S. Ambassador, Richard Kauzlarich; German Ambassador, Michael Schmunk; SOCAR and Culture Ministry officials; Farhad Badalbeyli, President of Baku Arts Center; and Unocal Khazar's Resident Manager, Ken Bradley.

Azerbaijan International (3.3) Autumn 1995.
© Azerbaijan International 1995. All rights reserved.

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