In 2005 the Republican creative community shall celebrate the 80th anniversary of Kutlug Basharov, the famous artist, talented graphic artist and painter (1925-2004).
Kutlug Basharov’s creativity and his way of life present the endless service to his people, to building free, independent and democratic state – the Republic of Uzbekistan. Basharov was a multifaceted and comprehensive artist possessing the variety of creative interests. Having started as an illustrator and book designer, he worked in the field of easel graphics – stamp, and water coloring. There is no type and genre in the fine arts where he has not revealed himself as an artist. Graphics with which he started and was permanently involved in afterwards, has always been close to the art of word, to literature which due to its nature can fully express feelings and emotional ideas and indirectly influence upon other types of creativity. Due to its conditional character graphics provided the metaphorical expression of contents in the artist’s works. And its original laconic and very selective language transferred more impressions from the vision then the vision itself, exposing author’s idea and will in a more open manner. When addressing to graphics, the artist was symbolically formatting the idea of the work, and could figuratively express global ideas. In Kutlug Basharov’s hands this flexible and metaphorical language was able of subjective transformation following almost all nuances of artist’s ideas and feelings.
Basharov came to Uzbekistan’s graphic during a complicated period when its traditional forms and stylistic touches were changing. It was the revival period of different forms of stamp on the new figurative base with the upgrading of designing means and printing. Those days publishing houses were facing the problem of making the book an integral organism with its own specific architectonic laws. It was Basharov who was among the first of those who practiced solution of such problems. His creative growth was violent. He did not only sensitively and sharply respond to everything happening in the art, but was also addressing important challenges of contemporaneity.
The artist was born in the Alma-ata region. His father went in for poetry and music, he played tambour, was a good calligrapher and knew the Arabic language. From childhood Kutlug brought in his love for nature, hardworking and steadiness. Spacious steppes and grander of the mountainous slopes influenced the formation of his artistic personality. Studying at the art’s school, Kutlug enjoyed great respect of his classmates and teachers. The famous book designer and graphic artist Iskander Ikramov noticed the gift of the young artist and suggested him designing one of the books. Kutlug was equal to the task. In three years K.Basharov became the member of the Artist’s Union. Huge is K.Basharov’s contribution to the fine arts of Uzbekistan, and it is hard to overvalue his creative achievements. Being a famous master of graphics, professional of composition and image, K.Basharov gave much force to painting as well. There are famous series of his pictures “The Great Silk Road”, “Nomads”, “Military Maneuvers”, “The Battle”, “Hunting”, “My Ancestors”, “Spitamen”, “Alpomysh”, “Djalalitdin”, and others. They characterize the deed of the people, greatness of the national spirit, its strength and beauty, heroism and courage of the ancestors struggling for the freedom of the country. He masterly displayed the man during the peak of tension and inspiration; in movement, fighting and strengthening. Monumentality distinguishes pictures of these series. Their composition is dynamically acute, depicting expressive plastics of dashing horsemen and swiftly running horses. The artist used to say, “Most of all I like to depict strong people, moments of sharp fighting and highest tension”. Very often K.Basharov deploys opportunities of the eastern miniature applying plane-decorative expressive means to stylize the images. His technique is unusual.
First, the artist makes a drawing and general daubing in red tones and then paints the whole picture in full colors; thanks to that the work acquires the red-damask alarming flashes playing on the faces and clothing of the personages. The light seems to highlight the events from inside and attaches symbolic sounding to the happenings. The painter reproduces and in his way interprets cardinal historic events trying to capture key moments of the epoch. He probably does it in view of better understanding of the present by understanding his past anew. Past epochs, past events unexpectedly provide basis for meditations and associations. K.Basharov used to emphasize, “I have always been poetizing the East, its antiquity, its ancestors and its history.” Before starting working upon his historical series or picture, the artist was thoroughly studying the type, ethnography, way of life, costumes, armors, decorations and the like. He was preserving style unity and spirit of the epoch. Artist’s eastern series includes images of Alisher Navoi and of the poetess Nodira Beghim.
Basharov works much with landscape paintings. His landscapes wake up the whole gamut of emotions with the viewer. Major neighbors drama, peace neighbors gust. He finds the appropriate painting intonation and plastic innovation to express his idea in any concrete case. Master’s landscapes filled with philosophic thoughts of life and nation help the spectators to expand their understanding of their Motherland. Such are “The Golden Autumn”, “The Outskirts of Bukhara”, “Bukhara”, “Bukhara with the Silhouettes”, “Evening Bukhara”, “Poplar Trees”, “Shepherd in the Country House”, “The Old Man”, and others. “The Old Man” is a philosophical work transmitting greatness and caducity of anything on the Earth. We see the silhouette of an old man gradually moving off and disappearing in the infinity. Lined up poplars strengthen the motive of departure. They are shrinking in the perspective and like silent giants seeing off the man leaving for non-existence, for history. But his good deeds of his life will remain with us.
K.Basharov’s pictures are distinguished with the lightness of the touch and virtuosity of performance. Shape modeling follows the principle of glaze painting “with the open color. Mountains, gorges, ridges, music of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva domes” specific beauty of Muslim architecture and thick shadow of spreading orchards covered with the heat haze, rich laces of autumn leaves, sharp light borders of slopes and smoke of the clouds. Glowing palette of color tints, refined light effects, movements and flows of light and color, endless music of beauty of the native land, are also striking spectators in his water-color series “The Uzbek Land”, “My Land”, “Chirchik”, “Dusk” and others. The paint flows along the flat sheet in thick rosy-terracotta, dark blue and brown masses in which the search and unusual accidence are equally corresponding to a certain goal. The artist paints a bold hand widely utilizing effects of stylistic and technical devices when large masses of form and color interact. His landscapes display the elevated spirituality and poetics of the East, originality of its nature in such a way that any viewer shall see and feel something individual and unrepeatable in his landscapes.
K.Basharov created water-color illustrations for R.Kipling’s book “Maugly”, designed in tempera style the books “The Kashmir Legend”, “Life of A.Navoi”, “Khamza” and “Nodira Beghim” for the jubilee of the writer Suleimanov. He painted easel miniatures to A.Navoi’s works and designed the poetical collection by B.Boikobilov “Yanghi Khamsa”, and books “Uzbeknoma” and “Dil Amri”. K.Basharov’s peculiar talent of the illustrator and graphic artist’s lies in his ability of getting used to the world of literature which requires higher receptivity. The artist dedicated much time, force, creative imagination and laborious, almost investigative, work to the art of book graphics by using expressive means of the folk applied arts of Uzbekistan, achievements of the Eastern miniature. He saw book as the whole integrated organism. The artist was creating his own images of the characters adequate to the writer’s. Every book designed by K.Basharov has its own architectonics, starting from the model, cover, title and finishing with the format, font, drop caps, size of margins of the page, different headbands, tail-pieces, facture and color of the cover. He was looking for his own composition motion able to disclose identity of the literary work and its characters. He designed scientific and political books, poetical and prosaic works either.
When working with the poetical collections, K.Basharov was striving to convey the peculiar beauty and identity of the Uzbek poetry. Creative method of K.Basharov presents the synthesis of form and content, including painting from nature, play of imagination and fantasy, emotionality of feelings, switching on the vision memory, application of national tradition in conveying and depiction of the environment, and of modern figurative and expressive means in presenting the image.
Master’s work was highly rewarded. He is the People’s Artist of Uzbekistan, the Honored Worker of Arts of the republic, Academician of the Academy of Arts of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Professor and Laureate of multiple Prizes. Besides his creative activity, K.Basharov was involved in great public work within the Academy of Arts. He has many pupils, now famous artists. He taught drawing, painting, composition and book graphics at the Institutes of Arts named after M.Uigur.
The time has tested Basharov’s creativity. Contemporary artists, fine arts specialists and connoisseurs of beauty see Kutlug Basharov as a powerful Titan. His art is polyphonic; it can be compared with the musical symphonies. It ranges from the heroic sounding of nation’s enthusiasm to a thin lyrical feeling and poetical elevation of beauty. Ability to hear the sensitive pulse of time, to see the life in all its variety, to depict a man at the time of highest inspiration, in movement, struggle and strengthening has been and will be characteristic of Kutlug Basharov’s art.