Cartoon genre having reach traditions has passed versatile development way as an important field of Azerbaijan descriptive art.
We approximately meet cartoons reflecting in current press, especially in satiric magazines in the middle of the XIX century firstly in Azerbaijan.
At last, the weekly satiric magazine named “Molla Nasraddin” came into light on April 7, 1906 in Azerbaijan firstly in the East. This was a great event. As the originator, editor and publisher of the magazine and the prominent writer Jalil Mammadguluzadeh said: The life itself has created this magazine playing great role in the development of social and cultural conscious of Azeri people. Life being full of social contradictions put duties both in front of literature and descriptive art. “Molla Nasraddin” magazine creating great school in Azerbaijan literature also caused the creation of new school in our descriptive art.
Directly, illustrational magazines like “Bahlul” (1907), “Zanbur” (1909), “Ari” (1910), “Mirat” (1911), “Baraban” (1912), “Kalniyyat” (1912), “Lak-lak”(1914), “Tuti”(1914), “Mazali”(1914), “Babayi-Amir” (1915), “Sheypur”(1918), “Tartan-partan”(1918), “Mashal” (1919) began to be published as a result of the reflection of “Molla Nasraddin”. “Molla Nasraddin” magazine printed for more periods had been published till 1931 with certain pauses.
During these years prominent artists such as Oskar Shmerling, Iozef Rotter, Azim Azimzadeh, and then B.Telingator, Kh.Musayev, A.Grinyevski, S.Jabibayov, A.Ibrahimzadeh and others participated in the magazine.
Publishing of “Molla Nasreddin” magazine in Iran in 1921 must be considered as an important event in the art world of the Near East. Just with the help of this magazine, though for a little time (at that period only 8 numbers of the magazine were published), progressive prose – writers and artists got an opportunity to show their attitude towards the problems accruing in Iran as well as in the Near East. When publication of “Molla Nasreddin” began in Tabriz, Jalil Mammedguluzade drew Azerbaijani artist Seyidali Behzad into the magazine. Due to the influence and assistance of Jalil Mammadguluzadeh artist Seyidali Behzad mastered originalities of cartoon genre and gained great success in a very short time.
In 1920-1930 coming of the artists like Gazanfar Khaligov, Ismayil Akhundov, Konstantin Dorsh, Husseyn Aliyev showed that there was a great school of cartoonists in Azerbaijan.
At the period of the World War II mainly propaganda placards, anti-fascist cartoons being in patriotism context had acute effect power. The services in this honourable work of our cartoonists, who delivered a satire-blow on the enemy is undeniable.
If we take into consideration that not any satiric magazine had been published in Azerbaijan since 1932, beginning of publishing satiric magazine “Kirpi” in 1952 was the demand of that time. This event played exceptional role in the development of cartoon genre and stimulated the creation of new traditions in this field. Notwithstanding that “Kirpi” magazine served to the Soviet ideology it could collect professional cartoonists belonging to the various generations. Cartoons drawn by artists like Najafgulu Ismayilov, Ziya Kerimbeyli, Pyotr Shandin, Hasan Hagverdiyev, Sadig Sharifzadeh, Vsevolod Ternavski, Rahib Gadimov, Rizvan Guliyev, Alakbar Zeynalov, Adil Elchin remained in memories with their meaning and socio-political value.
Growth of interest in cartoon genre, and becoming of magazine ”Kirpi” a readable one was accompanied by the flow of professional painter-artists to this field of art. In 1950-1960 the prominent artists of Azerbaijan Mikayil Abdullayev, Tahir Salahov, Kazim Kazimzadeh, Oktay Sadigzadeh, Gullu Mustafayeva, Altay Hajiyev and others created worthy works in this field.
Gradually strengthening of relation of art with life, high artistry, mastery innovation, researches conducted for the sake of perfection of expression culture, increasing of creative cadres year by year reflected itself in cartoonfield too. So, in 1960-1970 the number of artists, working in this field quickly increased. Professional works of artists as Rahib Gadimov, Arif Alasgarov, Eduard Abdullayev, Faig Aliyev, Viktor Tatarinstev, Mammadali Ismayilov, Elturan Avalov, A.Anisimov, Mirteymur Mammadov, Yavar Asadov and others, who worked in this field served to enrich caricature profession of Azerbaijan accordingly.
The Azerbaijan Cartoon of 1980s retained in the memories with the appearing of young artists, searching innovation, sounding with modern world cartoon, at the same time combined with national-moral roots. Garib Idrisov, Gyunduz Alizadeh, Elman Mirzayev, Vafa Allahyarova, Donilenko, Bulud Gasimov, Seyran Jaferli, Gamet Valijanov, Naila Salmanova, Hafiz Nasiroglu, Bayram Hajizadeh and others began to get into the print in periodical press, published in the republic.
From 1991 cartoon art of independent Azerbaijan entered in a new stage. The popularity of Azerbaijan cartoonists in the world, their participation in International cartoon contests and competitions and their successes are connected with the names of artists as Yavar Asadov, Elman Mirzoyev, Kirman Abdin, Seyran Jafarli, Rashid Sherif, Soltan Soltanli, Bayram Hajizadeh.
Although the Azerbaijani cartoon had of suffer hard times in the period of transition, it didn’t perish: our cartoonists began to be successively published in local press. This period is also characterized by the creation of numerous satirical newspapers and magazines in the realm of press: “Zarafat”, “Tak sabir”, “Sheytan”, “Daryaz”, “Guzgu”, “Mozalan” and others. It wouldn’t be a mistake if we consider also the magazine “We and Cartoon”, an organ of Azerbaijan Cartoonists’ Union which has launched its publication since 2006, the first professional magazine in this sphere.
In 2000 our cartoonists, working in different organizations in Azerbaijan separately acted in “Azerbaijan Cartoon”, “Cartoon House”, then in “Unity of Cartoonists” or attached to any others magazine. At last, by the establishing of Azerbaijan Cartoonists’ Union in 2006, this separation was stopped. The force combining the people with different thoughts and beliefs, being the members of different unity and associations is related to love to cartoon. Among these artists there are also young cartoonists, students and artists newly began to work in this field in addition to the people, devoted 20-30 years of their lives to this field.
In the first years of its existence Azerbaijan Cartoonists’ Union had only 30 members, but within short period of time it has reached to 80.
The first aim of Azerbaijan Cartoonists’ Union is to increase the interest of young people in this field, to provide Azerbaijan in future with professional cartoonists, that are intense from the intellectual point of view and professional from the standpoint of art.
This book presented to much-esteemed art devotees is the information source on Azerbaijan cartoon that has more than centenary history and also on our artists who worked in this sphere in different years. At the same time, the book gives an opportunity to get acquainted with the members of Azerbaijan Cartoonists’ Union and with their recent works.
Nowadays, during the development of Azerbaijan cartoon we meet with benefiting from the achievements of progressive world cartoon, with improving of classical stylistic peculiarities based on the national traditions from the modern standpoint, with urgency of a theme and with the renovation tendency in the approach to the problem. As we know, cartoon is ideologically very acute and fast weapon. The use of cartoon just on a place, on time, and purposefully must be achieved from the viewpoint of national interests. We hope that in the near future, our cartoonists supported by the national roots and rich traditions and being based on this fertile ground will make a step to the new progressive period and make their onlookers glad with their valuable works that stand on guard of our national interests. At the time when our enemies claim themselves as the possessors of our material and moral resources, it is our obligation to claim the possession of our cartoon art with more than centenary history, to protect and present in to the entire world.