Art of Uzbekistan – into Internet

Issue #1 • 1895

“In all entity there is neither essence, nor particle which does not connect with you by means of invisible threads stretching from them to you and from you to them.”
Ibn al – Arabi (1165 – 1240), Mecca’s revelations.

Internet – a global computer net – appeared just ten years ago in USA and a little later – in Western Europe. About seven years ago, it came to Uzbekistan. A number of Internet users in Uzbekistan is permanently growing. At the same time, Internet – resources in Uzbek sector of Internet are developing. Along with informative political and economic, entertaining sites and portals are being developed scientific and educational, cultural and art web-resources and personal users’ sites.

Internet has involved the field of fine and applied arts of Uzbekistan. There are special web – resources, which present scientific and popular articles, virtual galleries and even art salons.

It should be noted that a number of Uzbekistan’s Internet resources specialized in culture and art by a number exceeds resources, for example, in a field of science, history and public health. Any serious analysis of quality and dynamics of development of Internet-sites in this field has not been done still.

Among famous Internet – catalogues, most number of sites on culture and art are located in portal of ATP (Internet Access and Training Program, www.iatp.uz). This site is an official Internet – resource of American non – governmental organization IREX financed by USA State Education and Art Agency. ATP gives free hosting for non-commercial sites of organizations and users on its server that has high – speed Internet – channel. Due to free service, just one web-server IATP – freenet.uz contains 15 sites, which can be obviously related to the field of fine and applied arts. Russian and global search servers always add Internet – sites of state and public organizations, such as the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan, Museum of Applied Arts, etc., to resources on art of Uzbekistan.

An important role belongs to personal sites of some artists or art organizations. They serve something like a name card in Internet and have informative character. Many craftsmen and artists set their own sites in order to propagate their art and establish mini-galleries and exhibitions in Internet (http://ceramics.freenet.uz/http://ganieva.freenet.uz/http://ceramic.freenet.uz/about.html).

Today, there is no world – recognized system of criteria for classification of art sites. In this connection, we would propose some division of sites into groups according to following key criteria:
Level if user:

  • Commercial site
  • Non – commercial site
  • Personal site of user/organizationThematic orientation:
  • Applied art
  • Fine arts
  • Scientific – popular site
  • Mix
  • Sites of organizations (related to or having information on art of Uzbekistan within separate sections of site)Volume of site:
  • Page (as a rule, of small volume with some basic information about owner)
  • Site (web – resource with a list of thematic sections and information, availability of certain set of dynamic services)
  • Portal (the largest resource with a big number of dynamic serves and thematic sections. Service of references to analogous resources often includes small web – resources as an integral part)Design:
  • Amateur
  • Professional
  • Commercial sites with sales of art pieces on – line (by means of web – money) in Uzbek sector of Internet have not existed yet. At that time, there are sites, which provide the opportunity to contact the seller by e-mail and to discuss terms and conditions of purchase of some art piece. For example, the site “Art Gallery Largan” represents the works of famous Uzbek artists – A. Nur, A. Alikulov, V. Burmakin, B. Mahkamov and others. Any interested customer can write to the hosts of site and discuss a purchase of this or that work. The most interesting collection of applied art pieces set in Internet on sales belongs to the initiator of the site www.UzbekistanArt.com, the miniaturist, Khurshid Nazirov. This site differs by well – considered scheme of goods and services sales, giving bank requisites and delivery by DHL. Some Internet – resources without obvious commercial orientation anyhow were created in order to draw attention of potential buyers. For example, the site of Rishtan ceramic master, Rustam Usmanov contains information on his own works and ceramics of Rishtan. The fact that site is in English and contains information on where it is possible to buy the works of Rishtan ceramic masters, we could presume that one of motives to set the site was a wish to drew attention of foreign tourists and guests of Uzbekistan as potential buyers. Art commercial sites should be considered a positive element in development of culture and art. They promote popularization of art of Uzbekistan, often propose good illustrative materials and can give additional profit. This last factor is important in the context of difficult economic situation existing at poor developed market of domestic art for many artists. Domestic scholars and art critics can just do monitoring of such resources in order to preserve “ecology” of traditional art, aesthetic value and quality of art works in pursuit of profit.

    Non-commercial art sites of Uzbekistan in Internet are rather numerous. The sites with rich illustrative database prevail, often to the damage of informative content. It should be noted that almost all sites are done either by amateurs or by artists themselves, so excluding professional analysis of the art works by art critics and scholars. Rare exclusion is the personal site of the famous Uzbek artist, Gairat Baimatov containing survey article of art critic N.V. Koblova, which is Internet version of illustrated catalogue – booklet published in 1999 in account of the grant of Open Society Institute – Uzbekistan.

    Among mix sites “ArtSamarqand” devoted to the artists of Samarkand presents the richest gallery of art works. On this site, the works are divided according to their genre: painting, sculpture, graphics, scenography and decorative applied arts. Unfortunately, obvious shortage of this site is absence of any comments to virtual works. All works are presented in a line of virtual gallery and signed only by names of artists. For the user deciding to familiarize with the art of Samarkand this site would not be interesting. Criteria of the choice are not clear too. For example, the works of such famous Samarkand artists and sculptors as A. Krikis, A. Isaev, A. Kalanov, E. Aliev, N. Bandzeladze and V. Degterev are located besides the works of little known artists.

    In classification said above there is an item “Sites of the other organizations”, having art sections on their resources. For example, the official site of the National Bank of Uzbekistan contains a section devoted to the painting art, which presents the art gallery of NBU. The National Bank is known for its patronage and support rendered to domestic artists, and so information on the collection of Uzbek artists on the site is logic. However, the text comments are taken from the outdated source – the book “Art of Uzbekistan”, 1976.

    By the criteria “Volume”, a majority of sites are middle or just small personal sites of artists. It is pleasant to note, appeared recently, the big domestic cultural portal – Xonatlas.uz. Portal contains a section about the artists of Uzbekistan and provides the opportunity to set scientific and popular articles. A positive feature of the portal – its analytic and polemic character, prior selection of the material. Providing for skilled informative support, Xonatlas.uz can become one of the most popular Internet – resources in a field of culture and art of Uzbekistan.

    Analysis of available Internet – sites on painting and applied arts has led to some general resumes and comments:
    Level of major sites, in the aspect of web-design, is still low by its art performance and technical realization. Professional designers and programmers did just a few sites.
    Digital photo without comments prevail, necessary information is absent (name of the author, date, material, sizes, etc.).

    Many sites are set in order to sell works by Internet or hidden commercial advertising (for example, http://www.uzbekistanart.comhttp://www.geocities.com/tairich/souvenirs.htmhttp://art-gallery.freenet.uz/index.html). In this connection some authors, angled towards foreign buyer, set sites in English, what automatically makes these sites out of access for many citizens of Uzbekistan, which do not know foreign languages.

    Paradoxical is the fact that web – sites on painting and applied arts created in regional cities of Uzbekistan excel analogues done in Tashkent. For example, the site “Fergana chasers” (http://chekanka.freenet.uz/shkola.html) represents the chasing school of the Fergana valley or the site on traditional ceramics and embroidery of Samarkand (http://gulmira.freenet.uz/index.html). In general, this tendency differs from logic of the sites in the other genres and fields, where the best sites are created in Tashkent.

    The sites are short of scientific articles and publications in painting and applied arts. In Uzbekistan, interaction of high technologies and art world is just rising and in many aspects has sporadic and chaotic character. All the more important is systematic study of these processes for their timely correction and acceleration.

    International practice reveals that quality of web – resources is growing proportionally with general tendencies of information technologies in this or that country. This entitles us to believe in positive changes in this field, considering attention paid by our state to development of information technologies.

    Author: Amanulla Khakimov

 

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