From September 6 to 22 the Central Exhibition Hall of the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan held the first Republican Youth Exhibition timed to the celebration of the 11th anniversary of the Independence of our country. It aimed to find the brightest works of young artists working in painting, graphics, sculpture, decorative applied arts, design, installation, photo, computer graphics and textile in order to develop professional skills of young artists, to consolidate the most interesting innovative forces of the youth of Uzbekistan, to promote establishment of new innovative projects of Uzbek artists and to propagate the creativity of young people.
The Project involved young (under 35) artists of Uzbekistan, including Karakalpakstan. About 100 artists, black-and-white artists, artists in ceramics, jewelers, textile designers and woodcarvers presented their works. Original installations and traditional miniature, sketches of theatre decorations and art crafts reflected different fields and style variety of Uzbek art.
The exhibition richly presented the creative union of young artists of the Academy of Arts, which numbers 73 persons. 50 of them represented Tashkent, 9 – Samarkand viloyat, by one person from Namangan, Bukhara, Navoy, Sirdarya, Kashkadarya, Surkhandarya, Khorezm viloyats and 7 artists from Karakalpakstan. The vernissage finalized with discussion around the exhibition and round table on theme “Exhibition of Youth. Search for new solutions.” Artists and art critics, scientists from the Institute of Fine Arts of the Academy of Arts participated in the forum. The Editorial Board is offering the materials of this discussion for your consideration.
Tursunali Kuziev, Chairman of the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan:
The first Republican Youth Exhibition is initiating the good tradition. Its prolongation depends not on its organizers but on those who is presenting today here. Art of Uzbekistan has long been recognized all over world. We have large heritage, and we must deserve it. Tomorrow of our art – in your hands. It depends on you, will we be proud of our spiritual and art culture tomorrow. Charge with young generation was always in the core of state’s attention. Today you have the opportunity to expose your works in the most prestigious hall of the republic, and this is another prove of our state care of you, young people. As for this exhibition, I would like to remark that all directions of painting and applied arts are presenting here. The exhibition causes different opinions but in this creative exchange the art of tomorrow will be formed. The people need the art of youth. Tell about creativity, about your problems! The exhibition is mutual activity, and if today some problems seem unsolved the intercommunication will help you to solve them.
Akbar Khakimov, Art critic:
Idea of this exhibition aimed to get know what kind of processes characterize art life of the regions of the republic and what is running there, out of the capital. Its founders did much to promote representation of all regions of the republic. Primary concern of the vernissage to show the potential we actually have. Therefore, was made a decision to refuse from awards on nominations but to clarify problems of modern art process. If to estimate quality of works presented at the exhibition in general, it is not always good. It is possible to mention just several names of the artists, whose works are interesting and already well known for us. Now in Moscow the preparations are underway for the current Salon of CHA. I am keeping the truth that organizers of this exhibition expected to choose the works for it but it became problematic; the works can have no pretence to be demonstrated at the international level. In general, the exhibition gives evidence for the fact that situation within youth art is not too optimistic yet. And this discussion is a chance to answer the question: why? Nobody is exhorting the young artists to make now fashionable installation projects like A. Nikolaev.
No matter what you do either life stills, portraits or landscapes, you should search for new ideas and new means of self-expression. Looking at the works here we are getting the impression of stagnancy, some catalepsy and inertness of forms and absence of new ideas. Of course, it refreshes that there is no lack in skills but, at the same time, there is no flight of thought. I remember young years of our, already famous, artists – B. Djalalov, D.Umarbekov and others, whose works bore fresh impulse and new vision of the world. Now such feelings are not arising. I would like to touch the problem of occupation of our youth in the provinces. The Academy of Arts did much to establish centers of art all over the republic but active operation of these centers depends only on you. Some critics say that, for example, in Nukus, happens full stagnancy in art process. There is a deal of truth and no need to escape these problems, it is necessary to speak about them without disguise.
Faizula Ahmadaliev, Chief of Youth Section of Art Union at the Academy of Arts:
The basic purpose of the section is to transfer our experience to the young. In spite of a line of difficulties, in any case the exhibition has been held and I would like to express my sincere gratitude to its founders. The young artists have a lot of problems. We have many talented young people, which are finishing their education in the institutes but are not coming back to the provinces because there are no opportunities for self-actualization. The most optimistic looks the situation in Samarkand. It is necessary to help provincial artists to find the job and to form the conditions, which cause wish and need to return home and to work there. This will influence the general level of art process in the republic. For that it is necessary to activate the operation of the Youth Section not just in Tashkent but in viloyats too. It is necessary to hold exhibitions of young artists, both collective and personal, in each region through the agency of the Ministry for Culture Affairs and Khokimiyats. Obviously, we are glad, that today much attention is paying to the youth, and this exhibition did prove it. I know many talented guys living in kishlaks and wearing art in their hearts, and I see in it the guarantee of further blossom.
Usman Karabaev, Rector of the National Institute of Arts and Design by K.Behzad:
In spite of this year is devoted to the old generation, the state is paying much attention to the young. Our institute has everything necessary for the talented young people to actualize their potential. I would like to note that in 2002, 230 persons entered our institute while in 1997 – just 37. I consider it a definite progress both in our education system and in the art life in general. However, more serious question: where will our youth go after the institute? We’ve done special sociological research and know that many graduates are working at the system of the Academy, 15% – at museums, 10% – for Gosteleradio and Uzbekfilm and 13% – freelancers. Of course, the youth has many problems but their solution depends not only on them but on the support of the state, and it is available.
Rafail Taktash, Art critic:
I am glad to greet all young artists! Participation in the republican exhibition is great achievement and evidence for your place in Uzbek art, which is known all over the world. First of all, I would like to draw attention of the young to the quality of the works. It is required to pay more attention to the problems of skills, anatomy, light-and-shade. Unfortunately, at the exhibition there are many of raw, uncompleted and bad-thought works. Striving to quality, try “to sing” by own voice. Imitation is a way of apprenticeship. It is necessary to train at the great masters but, at the same time, the aim is to find your own path in art.
Nigora Ahmedova, Art critic:
I would like to congratulate you with this great occasion – the first Republican Youth Exhibition. We know about difficulties in the provinces. Many artists first came in Tashkent, and these contacts of the young from different regions are very important. At the same time a line of problems has been cleared. I don’t want to tell about current difficulties, the good artists not always worked on the cushion. We should not draw the curtain on the problems of creativity. No secret that each artist looks at the world newly each time. Did this discovery happen at this exhibition? I think it didn’t. Many works are latent and close. References to economic problems can not excuse the artists.
I’ve got the impression that young artists are standing far from the problems of modern life. Here we can see already well known compositions, genre scenes, landscapes and life stills becoming standards. It is important to find modern individual forms of self-actualization. It is a wonder that the young do not use freedom given them; in their works there are many reiteratives of known themes and methods. The main thing for you is a process of searching. In this regard I would like to draw attention to the installation projects of A. Nikolaev who touches interesting philosophical theme of Ark and spirituality. Having become traditional for world culture, in the interpretation of A. Nikolaev it has got fresh sounding. Using very simple materials – packing material, cigarette boxes etc., he tries to tell about eternal problems of human concernment during many generations. Only spirituality is able to save this world – such is the basic idea of his works.
Among the interesting there are works of such artists as L. Kasimov, Z.Mansurov, A.Ivanova, A.Ermuminov, V.Khapov, O. Kulagina, S.Kurdjemil, K.Tuhtakhunov and others. However, their works are throw-back to inertia. The old methods and absence of spiritual content. It is impossible to approve the presence of drawing-room works (M.Bondarenko) at the exhibition of the republican level. In general, in spite of low level of the works presented at the exhibition, the fact of the exhibition itself can be considered the important action aiming to the dialogue among the young. I would like to propose to arrange similar meetings and discussions in the regions too.
Alexander Nikolaev, Artist.
In my work I prefer installation projects. Today Uzbekistan is becoming an active member of international art process, and more or less it experiences the influence of leading tendencies in the world art. Traditional canvas, sculpture etc. are more and more getting prerogative of museums. As for exhibition halls there, more and more often, are exposed conceptual works, environments, installations and others. In our republic there is a strong school of painting, and that’s very good, but at the same time I think that we should feel the pulse of our time and strive to extend potential of creative self-actualization. In this context, the important are sign-gesture of the author, his position and author’s credo? And if not long ago new directions of world art development were determined by some schools, art unions and groups of artists, today the first place belongs to the person of artist, his original insight world. In this connection is growing the perfectionism of the artist to himself.
Zafara Alieva, Art critic:
I would like to touch the problems of Karakalpak artists. I have visited Nukus on the matter of preparation for this exhibition and, unfortunately, I have to tell that art process there can be compared with dead calm. It strikes the eye in comparison with previous decades. Karakalpak artists have always born especial talent in decorative fields, and it’ll be sorrow if this line of modern Karakalpak art declines. One of the most critical problems is come down level of young artists’ works. It is obvious, some new impulses are required to awake sleeping art consciousness. Just preparation to this exhibition has caused some fresh motions in the art life. Just for a month the young artists have prepared their exposition. Karakalpakstan is feeling lack of information about cultural events in the capital and in the republic.
Sharofat Kambarova, Art critic:
This exhibition is a stimulus not only for young artists but for art critics too. It gave the opportunity to find the most vital problems of the present days. Many words about difficulties, everyday, managerial etc., have been told here. Yes, actually, there are a lot of problems. But let’s remember the classics of Uzbek culture and art, whose masterpieces came in the golden collection of world culture. They worked in hard conditions but their works bear light, impulse of eternal force inspiring us till now.
Kodir Donierov, Artist, Samarkand:
I can not agree with many words having sounded here. When one is saying – “artist”, first of all, I mean “responsibility”. Yes, the artist should be a philosopher, a person of deep heart power, should feel the pulse of time and by his creativity to give impulse to spiritual force and to prevent spiritual vacuum. The spiritual values must be in the center of artists’ minding.
The discussion showed the importance of such forums held not only in the capital but in the other cities of the republic.