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Tajik visual art

by Lutfiya S. Aini, Art Critic, Art Historian

Tajikistan is a small mountainous country in Central Asia bordering Kyrgyzstan to the north, Uzbekistan - to the north and west, Afghanistan - to the south, and China  - to the east.  Pakistan and India are located to the southeast and Iran – to the southwest.

Tajiks who speak Persian language and preserve Persian culture live here.  However, Tajiks also inhabit many other areas (for instance, Bukhara, Samarkand and other provinces of Uzbekistan, and north of Afghanistan).  Thus, the territory where one can meet with Tajik culture is vast.

Ancient Tajik art is rich and multi-layered. Monumental paintings and sculptures of Panjikent, Afrasiab (ancient Samarkand ) and Varakhsha (near Bukhara) and their mythological and religious images are well known. In the IV-VII centuries, centers of Buddhist culture with their own painting and sculpture traditions could be found in many areas of Central Asia.  That ancient pictorial tradition was a cradle of art for the following centuries.  Persian miniatures, that are well-known around the world, were inspired by the romantic spirit and beauty of Persian and Tajik poetry.  That art flourished from XIV to XVII century in many cities of Iran, North Afghanistan (Herat) as well as in Bukhara and Samarkand.  Unfortunately, in Central Asia that art gradually fell into decay and was substituted by ornaments.  Thus, figurative visual art disappeared in Central Asia and ornaments became the only form of expression instead of figurative painting.

In the XX century, the status of visual art had completely changed. Central Asia became a part of the Soviet Union   Under the influence of Russian (European) art and with the help of Russian artists, first Samarkand and then Dushanbe became centers of figurative art.  In the 20’s, art of Samarkand was represented by various styles: cubism, expressionism, naïve art, etc., just like Russian art of that time.  But in the 30’s those trends were prohibited in the Soviet Union and realism was allowed as the only style of the Soviet art.  Little by little that situation led to a loss of individuality in art. Tajik visual art became monotonous as well.

The first signs of a new significance of the Soviet art were noticed in the second half of the 50’s (after death of I. Stalin).  In Tajik art of the 60’s new tendencies appeared such as intensity of color, beautiful and expressive drawings, and plastic forms.  Some elder artists (such as P.  Falbov) and a group of young artists were part of that movement.  Among them, Z. Habibulloev was the most prominent person. In the next two decades, especially in the eighties, Tajik art became more diverse as a big group of artists came back after graduating from Higher Schools of Art in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Russia, Uzbekistan, etc.  All of them aspired to find their own way in art and did not want to imitate others (for instance, M. Beknazarov).

After collapse of Communist ideology, the door to the modern world art opened for Tajik artists much wider. Many famous styles became known in Tajikistan and were absorbed into national artistic features. Thus, new forms of Tajik art came to life that, nevertheless, have unique peculiarities.  However, some artists do not lose their connection with realism and their works are often successful.

Random Image
from the gallery

Dream

Bakhtiyor Odinaev

size:70x50 year:2003 material:Unknown

Random Image
from the gallery

Призрачная свалка

Zakir Sabirov

size:100x85.5 year:2001 material:холст, масло


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