The grand festival of literature and art dedicated to the great Azerbaijani poet of the Middle Ages, Imadedin Nasimi, was held in Israel. Immediately after the announcement of 2019 as the Year of Nasimi in Azerbaijan, the Israel-Azerbaijan international association AzIz committed themselves to organize the festival, the purpose of which was to familiarize the Israelis with the great countryman's poetry and other cultural values of Azerbaijan.
AzIz announced a poetic competition in memory of Nasimi, all poets interested could participate in it, regardless of the country of birth, the language. Within two months, the organizers received poems in Azerbaijani, Russian, Hebrew and in the language of the mountain Jews - Juuri from more than fifty poets. They were published on the AzIz official website. Any Internet user could vote for or against each poem. Thus, fifteen semi-finalists were chosen, who subsequently competed with each other in different cities of Israel, where the finalists and the winner of the poetic competition were determined.
Spectators who came to cheer up their favorite contestants had a chance to meet with famous Czech poet Leyla Jafarova Begim and filmmaker Yefim Abramov, who presented Immolatio play (sacrifice), dedicated to the tragic fate of two great thinkers and reformers of 14th - 15th centuries: Azerbaijani poet Imadaddin Nasimi and Czech priest Jan Hus, who were far ahead of their time in the interpretation of religion and understanding of the role of person. The audience was presented excerpts of the play, read by Leyla Begim, as well as fragments of an immersive performance staged in Azerbaijan at the center of the Maksud Ibrahimbeyov Creativity Centre by the people's artist of Azerbaijan Vagif Asadov. The audience received as a gift the book Immolatio with autographs by Leyla Begim and Efim Abramov released by AzIz.
A documentary film 'Maksud forever' about the work and life of the modern Azerbaijani literature classic, Maksud Ibrahimbekov, directed by well-known Azerbaijani journalist and publicist Nadezhda Ismayilova, was presented. In the film, Mikhail Gusman and Yuli Gusman, people's artist Tahir Salakhov, the chairman of the Jewish community of Azerbaijan, director Alexander Sharovsky, Azerbaijani ambassador to Russia, singer and composer Polad Bulbul oglu, the former Russian culture minister, special representative of the Russian president on international cultural cooperation Mikhail Shvydkoy and other people who knew Ibragimbekov personally share their memories of the Azerbaijani literature classic.
The writer's wife Anna Ibragimbekova brought his books with her, including collections of short stories and novels, as well as his last book. Guests of the festival received the books of Maksud Ibragimbekov as a gift.
The '7+7 Wonders of Azerbaijan' photo exhibition was held in the cities of Israel within the Nasimi-650 festival, demonstrating the country's historical, architectural and natural resources. Views of Azerbaijan allowed nobody to stay indifferent.
During the festival, many poems were read, including those dedicated to Nasimi. Member of the Union of Writers of Azerbaijan and Israel, member of the AzIz Board Mikhail Salman dedicated a number of poems to the life and tragic fate of Imadedin Nasimi. They were read by the author and People’s Artist of Azerbaijan Dina Tumarkina.
The final part of the festival was held in Kiryat Bialik, which saw the performance of the finalists. The two-month marathon put only three participants to the podium, who scored a maximum number of points from both the jury and the audience. The contest was won by the 9-year-old Kostya Vararu, who dedicated his poem to national hero of Azerbaijan Sakhil Mammadov, while two other winners were Semyon Gavrilov with the poem 'Prayer' and Shahin Geychayly with the Ode to Azerbaijan.
The ceremony of awarding the Nasimi-650 poetic competition winners was held at the annual concert dedicated to the Independence Day of Israel, which was held on May 9, and the Day of the Republic of Azerbaijan, which will be held on May 28. The gala-concert featured Salman Rabaev with Tofig Guliyev’s song with lyrics by Imadedin Nasimi, Tomer Aliev with songs from a repertoire of Rashid Beybutov, Sabina Isakova, Yuliya Verdzhi, Konstantin Kalinin, the 'Shalom' vocal duet, the 'Lehaim' ensemble, laureates of a ballroom dancing competition. Azerbaijani singer Ceyhun Bakinskiy's performance, which made everyone dance, was a real gem of the concert.
The Israel-Azerbaijan international association AzIz expresses gratitude to the State Committee on Work with Diaspora of Azerbaijan, the Kiryat Yam Municipality, the Russian Cultural Center, the Maksud Ibrahimbeyov Creativity Centre, the Absorption Center and the Library of Afula, the Amigur and Natali companies, as well as all creative people who took part in the Nasimi-650 festival, congratulates all fellow citizens on the main holidays of Israel and Azerbaijan and wishes prosperity to both their homelands and their citizens.