Dear participants of the festival!
Ladies and Gentlemen!
I am sincerely glad to welcome you at the picturesque and charming Ferghana Valley, ancient and beautiful city of Kokand.
I congratulate all of you from the bottom of my heart on the opening of the First International Festival of Handicrafters which is being held under auspices of UNESCO.
Taking this opportunity, I express deep gratitude to the president of the World Crafts Council Madame Rosy Greenlees for her participation in today’s event.
I also express profound gratitude to our dignitaries, who are participating in today’s festivity:
Minister of Culture of Russia Vladimir Medinskiy;
Minister of Culture and Sport of Kazakhstan Aktoti Raimkulova;
Minister of Culture of Turkmenistan Atageldy Shamuradov;
Minister of Culture of Tajikistan Shamsiddin Orumbekzoda;
Minister of Culture of Azerbaijan Abulfas Garayev;
Minister of Culture, Information and Tourism of the Kyrgyz Republic Azamat Jamankulov;
First Deputy Minister of Culture of Belarus Natalia Karchevskaya;
Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of Armenia Narine Khachaturian.
I also express sincere gratitude for participation to the, president of the China Association for Art and Crafts Xu Niansha, Deputy Minister for Tourism of the state of Haryana of India Vijay Vardhan, Director-General of the Malaysia Corporation for Development of Crafts Encik Ibrahim bin Ismail and the high-profile representatives of UNESCO, presidents of the World Crafts Council for Asia-Pacific, Americas and Africa.
We are pleased to see in our forum today the distinguished ambassadors of foreign states and representatives of international organizations in Uzbekistan.
More than 370 skilful craftsmen, renowned figures of culture, scientists and scholars of Oriental studies, and the representatives of mass media from 78 countries of the world are participating at the forum.
I do welcome of all you and thank you for a profound respect and consideration shown to Uzbekistan and this forum.
Dear participants of the forum!
As it is well-known, craftsmanship, while standing as an integral part of universal culture, occupies a special place in the life of each nation, shaping its mentality and values.
Indeed, emergence of crafts became the most important historical step in development of civilization.
The great towns and cities, wonderful samples of architecture, historical and archaeological monuments, the unique exhibits of thousands of museums, which belong to entire humanity, confirm the aforesaid.
As a matter of fact, the craftsmanship derives inspiration in harmony with nature. As a result, the bright and wonderful works come into being.
In order to «breathe life» to an ordinary clay, piece of metal or wood, make the unmatched and refined items out of them, there will be needed not only a scrupulous work, but also the warmth of human soul. It is very important to have a delicate flair and mastery, enormous patience, and most significantly, the love and devotion to one’s craft and full commitment.
Along with this, in order to turn an item into a work of art a true artisan – whether he is a potter or engraver, weaver, cutter or jeweler, must possess basics of knowledge in chemistry, biology, medicine, physics, geometry, astronomy, history, philosophy and other subjects, and be able to use them in practice.
Let me make the following example.
In striking mysterious ornaments, truly divine patterns, and incomparable color palette of our national embroidery «suzane», which has gained fame throughout the world, there are cosmogonical notions of ancient ancestors.
Our people have always honored skilled craftsmen, true artisans of their work by calling on them as «usta» and «ustazoda».
In this regard, I believe it will be noteworthy to recall a wise saying uttered by outstanding thinker Bakhauddin Nakshband whose 700th anniversary we shall celebrate next year: «Crafts is as if a fairytale ambler, on its wings a man can reach the highest horizons – both the recognition and respect of the people».
Bakhauddin Nakshband was not only a great sufi and philosopher, but also a wonderful craftsman and spiritual mentor of folk artisans. And still today thousands of craftspeople of our country being guided by his behest: «Give your heart to Allah and the hands – to the work», and by their hard and honest work and best human qualities serve as an example to many, and especially, the youth.
Along with this, in this century of globalization and high technologies, unfortunately, we are oftentimes facing poor and serious attitude to this unique art – as if to say, it is an attribute of the far past. If we are not going to broadly support craftsmanship at the level of state and society, then it may be late tomorrow since it shall lose to strict competition of serial production.
In this regard, such international forums as the current one are important for thoroughly preserving, reviving and developing folk crafts throughout the world, delivering traditions to forthcoming generations, uniting our efforts and capabilities along this way.
We are creating all necessary legal foundations in Uzbekistan for effective work of craftspeople and worthy appreciation of their work. They are enjoying big benefits and preferences. There is a «Khunarmand» Association which brings together thousands of artisans. It is called upon to protect their rights and interests.
The merits of well-known artisan of gold embroidery Muyassar Temirova from Bukhara, artisan-renovator Mirumar Asadov from Samarkand and woodcarver Abdughani Abdullayev from Ferghana were well noted by awarding them a high rank of the Hero of Uzbekistan. This serves as bright confirmation of profound attention being paid to the representatives of this sphere.
We are creating broad opportunities for upbringing our children harmoniously developed personalities, letting them master contemporary knowledge and professions, as well as folk crafts. The capital city and other places in the country host tens of festivals and fairs, exhibitions and contests. The crafts schools for youth are being established. Most importantly, the representatives of the sphere are making commendable contribution to creating new jobs, attracting youth to socially valuable work activities and developing tourism.
Certainly, we shall continue paying attention to craftsmanship which reflects our history and national identity, both ancient and rich traditions. Therefore, it is important for us to hear views, proposals and recommendations which will be enunciated during this international festival.
It is not for nothing that Kokand was chosen as a venue for holding the International Crafts Festival. This ancient city, which distinguishes for its inimitable flair, is considered to be the pearl of Ferghana Valley which is rightly called a «golden valley».
Khukandi latif which in translation means the Beautiful Kokand – with its 2000 year-long glorious history and which saw many great events stands as one of the bright symbols of our national statehood, the venue where science, art and literature, and various crafts did prosper.
We are proud that bountiful land of Ferghana nourished tens of outstanding thinkers, poets and artists who made a profound contribution to development of the world science and culture. Among them: Ahmad Farghoniy, Burkhoniddin Marghiloniy, Zakhiriddin Muhammad Bobur, Boborakhim Mashrab, Amiriy and Nodirabegim, Jahon otin Uvaisiy, Mavlono Mukimiy, Zokirjon Furkat and such renowned crafts masters as Kodirjon Khaydarov.
From of old Ferghana Region was famous for many types of crafts which became a national brand. I believe there is no need to speak more about world-famous Marghilan atlas (ikat) and adras, which radiate all the colors of the rainbow, the unique pottery art of Rishtan, the Kokand schools of wood carving and ganch (clay and gypsum mix).
At the moment, we are seeing how alongside with entire country the look of Ferghana Region is changing, including the one of Kokand, which is becoming one of the improved, large economic and cultural centers of the country.
It is open secret that on the eve of the festival yet another important event took place in the life of the city. The World Crafts Council has included Kokand to the World Craft City list. We can say that Kokand took a solid place on the international map of crafts.
By the way, Kokand was first from the Commonwealth of Independent States to join this list. We consider this as high global appreciation of the work we have been accomplishing in terms of developing decorative and applied art in the country.
From the bottom of my heart I congratulate dear people of Kokand and all craftspeople of Uzbekistan on this high acclaim.
Allow me on my own behalf and on behalf of our entire nation express gratitude to the World Crafts Council and its president, dear Madame Rosy Greenlees.
I believe that this international festival is a big holiday not only for multinational people of Uzbekistan, but also for craftspeople and artisans throughout the world.
This is the forum of true friendship and cooperation, where far past and modernity, traditions and values of different peoples do harmoniously combine, people heartily close to one another – do come together.
I am confident that the current festival, which is called upon to solidify peace and accord, deliver kindness and beauty to people, shall surely occupy a commendable place in the international cultural space.
Once again I cordially welcome all of you on the hospitable and bountiful land of Uzbekistan.
I express enormous gratitude to all our compatriots, diligent and magnanimous people of Ferghana and the residents of Kokand who have made everything necessary to ensure this forum of culture is held at the highest level.
I wish all of the participants of the festival and our esteemed guests a sound health, happiness and new creative successes!
Thank you for your attention.