London art installation emphasises the inhumanity of the Khojaly tragedy

Press Release: An emotionally-charged new art installation opened on 24 February at the parade ground of the renowned Chelsea College of Arts – in the shadow of the Houses of Parliament – to commemorate the victims of the Khojaly Massacre. This was the worst single atrocity of the Armenian–Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. Taking place on the night of 25–26 February 1992, the massacre claimed the lives of 613 civilian victims in 1992, including 106 women, 63 children and 70 elderly people. The event was commissioned by The European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS) under the auspices of the Justice for Khojaly campaign.

The emphasis of the art installation was to demonstrate the tragedy of the death of each and every one of the 613 victims, whose lives were so cruelly cut short. It comprised 613 red T-shirts, each emblazoned with the name, date of birth and the same date of death – 26 February 1992. These were positioned on fences to form a maze, emphasising the tragic journey of death taken by the inhabitants of Khojaly on that fateful night. Smaller T-shirts represented the child victims, some of whom were just six months old, and more than 60 shirts were emblazoned with the slogan ‘unknown victim’ – representing bodies that were mutilated beyond recognition.

Christopher Pincher MP, Chair, Azerbaijan All-Party Parliamentary Group, commented: “Thank you for coming to commemorate the victims of the massacre in Khojaly that occurred 23 years ago and to support the Justice for Khojaly campaign. We are here to reflect on the 613 people who brutally lost their lives at the hands of the invading Armenian forces. The dead included women, children and elderly people. The T-shirts in this maze represent their lost lives. I hope we will all remember and reflect on what happened to them, and seek justice for the dead through the withdrawal of Armenian forces from Nagorno-Karabakh, and for a proper, sustainable and peaceful solution to be found to the conflict.”

He then released red balloons with a list of all the victims’ names into the London sky. The guests and general public then toured the exhibition, and were able to see for themselves the number of victims from that fateful night.

Despite the passing of four UN Security Council resolutions against the invasion, Armenia continues to occupy Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding districts to this day. Currently nearly 20 per cent of Azerbaijani territory remains occupied, and approximately 875,000 refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) remain spread across Azerbaijan. The evening was dedicated to the memory of the Khojaly victims and those Azerbaijanis who have one wish – to return home.