On 1 September 2017, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Headquarters in Beijing played host to the Culture Day of the Republic of Tajikistan.
The event's organisers designed and planned the initiative in a creative and unconventional way, offering a diverse and original programme packed with various events.
Guests arriving at the Day of Culture venue were greeted by the image of the mysterious smile from the 13-metre statue of a sleeping Buddha, the largest clay Buddha statue in the world known as the ‘Nirvana sleeping Buddha.'
Once inside the SCO Headquarters, guests were offered an immersive experience into the rich and ancient history and culture of Tajikistan. For example, guests could sit in a replica of a statue representing a golden chariot with Bactrian racing horses from the world-famous Oxus Treasure, or ride the majestic Bucephalus sculpture by prominent Chinese sculptor Ren Zhe. They could also take pictures with gracious horses striking sparks of healing fire with their hooves, help harvest grapes from a vineyard near the eastern side of the SCO Headquarters, or taste magical amber berries filled with happiness and love.
"Building on the best traditions of the SCO — Our Common Home project, we are happy to welcome the Day of Culture of the Republic of Tajikistan at our Headquarters," SCO Secretary-General Rashid Alimov said at the opening ceremony. "We are all looking forward to the wonderful journey to the land of mountain highs, blooming valleys and open hearts," Mr Alimov went on to say.
Tajikistan's Minister of Economic Development Nematullo Hikmatullozoda welcomed the guests on behalf of President Emomali Rahmon, who was on a state visit to China at the time. The official said: "The initiative to hold the Days of Culture at the SCO Headquarters promotes dialogue between civilisations and helps strengthen neighbourly relations, friendship and cooperation within the SCO family. Today, Tajikistan will show you only a small portion of its rich culture, art and unique traditions. I hope that every guest will be able to experience Tajikistan's hospitality, at least for this brief moment."
In his remarks, First Vice President of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries Shen Xin congratulated the guests of the event, and stressed that "China and Tajikistan enjoy a high level of mutual trust as close and good neighbours." He went on to say that "this is demonstrated by the fact that so many people turned up for this event, and we are glad to being able to contribute to the organisation of important events like the Days of Culture."
The SCO Headquarters also hosted a large-scale exhibition by talented artists from Tajikistan, including Sukhrob Kurbanov, Yusuf Sangov, Faridun Negmat-sade, and others, reflecting the beauty and generosity of the Tajik people, and the uniqueness of the country's mountain regions.
For two decades, prominent Chinese painter Yang Yang has focused on ethnic Tajik people living on the country's border with China. Her paintings were also displayed at the exhibition. The Culture Day also featured a photo exhibition on organic fruit, providing another immersive experience into Tajikistan.
The Culture Day offered its guests a unique opportunity to get a taste of the traditional Tajik cuisine by sampling a wide variety of dishes prepared by the country's best chefs.
The highlight of the event was a concert by Tajikistan's performers, featuring Jahonoro dance group led by Merited Artist of Tajikistan Dilorom Sattorova, prominent vocalists Soibnazar Alovatov and Firdavs Khoshimov, as well as doyra player Khayrullo Dadoboyev.
A fashion show was also held with beautiful models wearing traditional Tajik costumes.
For many guests, this day helped rediscover not only Tajikistan's rich and diverse culture, but also the SCO Headquarters transformed into a hospitable Tajik home.
The Tajikistan Culture Day was timed to coincide with the 25th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Tajikistan and China. It was held as part of SCO — Our Common Home initiative by the SCO, continuing a string of events involving SCO member states.
More than 300 guests attended the event, including ambassadors and diplomatic staff accredited in China, prominent Chinese political figures, cultural and civil society leaders, as well as academics and students.
Chinese and foreign media provided extensive coverage of the event.
The Tajikistan Culture Day at the SCO Headquarters was held during the state visit by the President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon to China.
The Day of Culture was organised by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Tajikistan, and co-sponsored by the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries with assistance from Tajikistan's friends, including Yema Group, Xi Tang, Riverside Group and Chinese Cultural and Art Exchange Exhibition Centre of One Belt and One Road.
Jahonoro dance group was created on 2 January 1991 and is part of the State Creative Concert Association within the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Tajikistan. Headed by head choreographer Dilorom Sattorova, it took part in a number of festivals and competitions.
Pamir Folk Band was created in 2011 within Bazmoro, one of the oldest ensembles of Tajikistan. The band consists of eight people with Soibnazar Alovatov as one of its leading vocalists.
Doyra virtuoso Khayrullo Dadoboyev has a rich repertoire or music played with national percussion instruments, including doyra, tablak, karay, darduk, djemba, bong, cong, etc. Khayrullo Dadoboyev's band has more than 20 musicians who play national percussion instruments.
Firdavs Khoshimov graduated from the Sattorov Tajik National Conservatory, and is currently the soloist of Djurayev Tajik State Philharmonic.
Sukhrob Kurbanov was a Soviet painter from Tajikistan, awarded the title of People's Artist of the USSR and Tajikistan. From 1982 until 2012 he was board chairman of the Union of Tajikistan's Painters. His works can be found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, as well as in museums in Dresden, Beijing, Paris, etc.
Yusuf Sangov is a People's Artist of Tajikistan, winner of the Rudaki State Award, Professor Emeritus at Nanjing University of the Arts (China) and Professor Emeritus at the Moscow Academy of Contemporary Art.
Faridun Negmat-sade won a number of prestigious international art awards. His works can be found in museums, galleries and private collections in China, Russia, the United States, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Sweden, Mexico, Chile and Israel.