Azerbaijan International

Autumn 2001 (9.3)
Pages 86

Unocal's Poster Contest
Eight Years of Reflecting "Azerbaijan Today"

Left: "Don't Spit" by Kirman Abdin

The slogans seemed like they belonged to a rally, but there were no confrontations between opposing parties. It was simply the eighth year of Unocal Khazar's Annual Poster Contest, entitled "Azerbaijan Today" and held in conjunction with the Baku Art Center.

The theme of this year's contest was ecology, specifically to call the public's attention to ecological problems around Baku. But, as the President of Unocal Khazar, Mike Barnes, noted, he would like ecology to cease to be termed a problem. "With the help of this contest, we want to rename these ecological problems 'opportunities' in order to find the solutions instead of simply calling attention to them."

A jury consisting of five men, led by the rector of the Academy of Arts of Azerbaijan, Omar Eldarov, judged the poster entries and picked the top three prizes plus the honorable mentions. The jury took into account not only the subject matter and the poster slogan, but also the composition of the work and its use of color and contrast to reinforce the message.

Two works by artist Mirazer Abdullayev took first place. On one of them, the author himself is standing next to a garbage container, but throwing an empty cigarette box into the street, indicating a lack of awareness of the connection between the beauty of the city and the disposal of waste items. His second poster depicts "the Caspian refugees", native species of Caspian seals. They sit on a buoy in the Sea, indicating their vulnerability to pollution. Gashim Elchiyev, whose poster shows a toilet hovering over the Caspian with the slogan "This is our sewage system," received second place.

Below: "SOS" (Protecting the Environment) by Irada Gurbanova.

Third place went to Tofig Gazanfar, who used a traffic light on a minaret in Ichari Shahar to indicate how industry and progress are threatening the heritage of the city. The top three winners received cash prizes, as in previous years. Seven honorable mention cash prizes were also given, including one to Orkhan Mamadov, who announced he was donating it to a children's fund because he created his poster for the good of Azerbaijan, not for his own gain.

The cash prizes also included a special award to Gulnara Safarova, a young girl who was allowed entrance to the contest based on the quality of her work. On her poster [featured in Unocal's ad], she showed half of an apple with many children's handprints, indicating that the education and cooperation of children is necessary to save the world's natural resources.

Like last year, children from Galina Churilova's Studio of Ecological Posters at the Tofig Ismayilov Palace for Children and Youth were featured during the awards celebration, showing off their ecologically themed art works. This year, the children also modeled the clothes that they had designed and painted with motifs of butterflies and other insects in nature. Although not included in the contest, the children's art was certainly in concert with this year's theme.

In each of the past eight years, the posters have revealed the evolution of Azerbaijanis' attitudes. This year's awareness of ecological "opportunities for change" demonstrated the growing acceptance of Azerbaijan as a member of the world community and the expectations placed on any city to maintain its own beauty and heritage. Unocal Khazar is proud to continue the tradition, in conjunction with Baku Art Center, of the poster art form as an expression of the people of Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan International (9.3) Autumn 2001.
© Azerbaijan International 2001. All rights reserved.

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