The Qabala I International Art Exhibition was a joint project by the Azerbaijan Culture Foundation (ACF) and SEBA (Seoul-Baku) the Azerbaijan-Korean Cultural Exchange Association. In addition to three joint exhibitions staged in Seoul and Baku over the course of six years, ACF and SEBA have helped Azerbaijani artists to display their works at 11 international shows. One project, the Qabala I International Art Exhibition, was held on 18 -19 December 2010 at the Qafqaz Riverside hotel in Qabala, a town with a history going back 2400 years, the former capital of Caucasian Albania and one of Azerbaijan’s most picturesque locations in the foothills of the Greater Caucasus Range.

The two-day event attracted 81 artists from 14 countries (Germany, the USA, Australia, the United Kingdom, Brazil, France, Georgia, Italy, Korea, Latvia, Poland, Russia, Turkey and Azerbaijan), who exhibited a total of 156 works.

In remarks at the opening ceremony, Ruhangiz Heydarova, chair of the SEBA Association, spoke of the importance of the exhibition and wished further success to both well-known Azerbaijani artists and to the generation who are beginning their careers in art.

The chairman of the Korean International Arts Association, Lee Sang Yong, presented a picture called Life for First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva to Anar Alekperov , Executive Director of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and speakers congratulated those attending the exhibition, highlighting the importance of such activities for the region and for inter-cultural dialogue, Guests then viewed the works exhibited on the second floor of a large and colourful exhibition hall. The variety of subjects - narrative and abstract, landscapes and still lifes - allowed visitors to select their own favourite picture. An extensive photosession, including more than half of the works exhibited, is presented here.

The exhibition featured works by Honoured Artists of Azerbaijan Mammadkarim Guluzade, Huseyn Hagverdiyev, Ismayil Mammadov, Sakit Mammadov, Mammad Mustafayev, Rafael Abbasov, Honoured Art Worker Arif Aziz and project and interior design author of the Museum of Modern Art, Altay Sadigzade. Contributing artists included Lee Sang Yong, chairman of the Korean International Arts Association; Lee Jeong Jae, chairman of the 21st Century International Association of Arts Exchange; Professor Johannes Heisig from Germany and Daiga Alise Freimane, founder and art director of Latvia’s Image Gallery, as well as some fascinating compositions by young artists. The exhibition promoted communication between well-known Azerbaijani artists and their foreign counterparts, which will certainly contribute to the organization of a number of similar projects in the future.

At the end of the exhibition, a tour of the town was organized for the artists and they were familiarized with the archaeological excavations at Salbir and Qala, once part of ancient and medieval Qabala.

The natural beauty of the region, its unique atmosphere and fascinating views of snow-capped mountains both encouraged artists to create even more wonderful works and laid the groundwork for a second international exhibition in this series.