Abduvali Muminov is a soft and taciturn person, yet as soon as conversation turns to landscape painting, he is transformed: his eyes glare with enthusiasm and his speech is filled with inspiration. His works reflect the essence of his soul and are lit with a kind of inner light and are unwittingly associated with the image of the author.
The artist who learned the lessons of his mentor Ruzi Choriev can see beauty in every corner of nature and find barely noticeable yet memorable features of it. Ruzi Choriev instructed: “Rather than doing nothing and suffer from idleness, get preoccupied at least with mere contemplation and observation. Eventually this will help you find new solutions. For a creative person there is no better joy than to discover new solutions and create new works – in other words, to reap the fruit of one’s observations”.
It may first seem odd that the artist who was born in a noisy part of Tashkent, such as the district between Chukursai and Eski Juva market places, chooses the most out-of-the-way corners of the city as objects of his art. There are certainly reasons for that. According to Abduvali Muminov himself, after graduating from the Decorative Graphics Department of the Nizami State Institute in 1971 he went to work in the Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan and had to travel a lot around provinces. His task was to record daily life and way of living of local inhabitants, depict clothing and jewellery they wore. These ethnographic observations became the source of true creative inspiration for the artist.
‘Studies I painted during these trips gave me much delight’, says Muminov. ‘Perhaps it was the time when I began to feel the urge, which was to become a habit, to visit different corners of our country from time to time. Now I don’t go very far anymore, but unless I visit Charvak, Khumsan or Brichmulla at least once a year I find no rest’. When it is impossible to leave the town, Abduvali Muminov, with a painter’s case in his hand, can be seen in squares and parks of Tashkent, in shady corners on the bank of Ankhor canal, or near architectural monuments. When creating urban landscapes he, again, is always searching for original details and features.
The artist believes that the key to success in art is in minute labour and ceaseless search. That is why his pictures delight the spectator and give peace to the soul. In his works the landscape painter focuses his attention on the selected objects and accurately found colour palette.
In the painting “Spring-time in Uzbekistan” the artist created a generalized landscape of our homeland: the lake with clear water and blossoming trees around it; at a distance there is a mountain ridge in bluish haze. The whiteness of snow-capped peaks, the blossoming trees on the lake shore and smooth water surface with light ripples delight the eye with their harmony and peace. The play of spring-time colours inspires beautiful emotions and high aspirations.
The painting titled “Gilon Vilage” has its background. Once Professor Khasanov showed a few photographs to Muminov. What the artist saw appeared rather unusual to him: houses clinging right to the mountain slopes and the roof of a house below served as courtyard for a house above. That was Gilon Vilage (Kashkadarya Province). Khasanov who showed him the photos, said: ‘You are an artist. You should visit the village. There are lots of interesting places worth taking a look’. Several years after Muminov happened to be in that village. In the lower yards of the buildings livestock was kept, and people lived in the upper dwellings, one or two families in one house. This was how Gilon was seen by the painter on his first visit in 1990, and several sketches were made there.
Local inhabitants engage in animal husbandry and potato growing. The artists claimed that here he knew the real taste of potato. The surrounding area abounds with walnut tree groves and fruit orchards. ‘Nowhere else could I see a village like this’, tells Muminov. ‘It was truly exotic. I went to Gilon for the second time with a group of painters fifteen years later. The fairy tale has disappeared – everything was changed. There were regular houses with iron roofs’.
The painting “Gilon Vilage” preserves the image of the old Gilon and appeals to the viewer with its unusual sights, richness of colour palette, the well-found drawing rhythm and the accuracy of depiction. The amazement of the artist struck by the exotic sights was reflected in the canvas.
“Moonlit Night” can be referred to as one of the works in a romantic style. The artist had spent many sleepless nights observing and remembering the mysteries of night visions. He created the picture from memory… The surroundings of a mountain lake shimmering with silver glare reflecting the moonlight. Delicate lace of clouds drifting like white birds in the sky… He created many similar landscapes, but in this particular painting one can clearly sense a fine invisible line between real and imaginary. Perhaps this is why colours and shades the artist chose following his inner sense are so enchantingly beautiful.
Canvases “Songs of Boysun” and “In Kirgali” are panoramic. On the foreground we can see a mountain canyon; on the right, on a flat eminence there is a pasture where herds are grazing. On the left one can see part of a mountain covered in thick shadow. On the background there stretches a mountain ridge curving with its peaks. The ridge, harmoniously matching everything depicted on the canvas, creates a single rhythm of the picture and its integrity. The colours are tender and pure. It appears as if a beautiful melody is heard. The painting captivates and enchants the viewer, lifting ones spirits.
The artist created many pictures of “Surkhan” and “Baysun” cycles. Natural presentation and the glimmer of colours and shades produce a miraculous effect upon the viewer. Mountain areas of our country are quite diverse in their landscape specificities. In the mountains of Baysun and Surkhan warm colours prevail and life bubbles over, whereas in Brichmulla the mountains are majestically calm. The painting “Before the Rain” shows the foothill of Mount Chimgan on a gloomy day. The sky is completely covered with black clouds – it can start pouring down any moment. The picture is so accurate and realistic that the viewer gets the feeling as if he is breathing pre-storm air. Similar pictures can be found in the art of other painters, but Muminov’s landscape is very unique and accurate in terms of mood. Grey shades dominate the picture; it is a very challenging task to depict this quickly changing state of nature, because there are many half-tints and nuances in the painting.
Majestic and impressive compositional solution of “Tranquillity in the Mountains” and the harmony of colours generated by the overflow of half-tints invoke deep emotions, making one think of the eternity of nature and the meaning of life. This work is an indicator that lyrical-epic and philosophical-romantic themes are evolving in the painter’s art.
In the work “Impression” the author depicted a landscape he saw near the place called Chorbog, as he strolled early in the morning along the lake shore, watching the sunrise. It rained during the night, and the cool air was filled with moisture. The rays of sun breaking through the fog presented an amazing sight. While the artist was installing his case, the sun rose, but he managed to draw a sketch. When he came back to his studio and began to capture what he saw, the brush went down easily and freely. He worked so zealously that the landscape was finished by about four o’clock in the afternoon, and he was able to convey the transience of change in nature.
Muminov painted a lot of autumnal landscapes, but a very special one among them is “The Golden Fall”. The artist himself confirms that it is one his finest canvases – the fruit of his many journeys to the Chorbog area. The painting is part of a series dedicated the lake of the same name. On the foreground to the right there is a small rock, and to the left – a group of trees with crowns already coloured in the shades of autumn. Soft, warm colours dominate the palette. In the distance there are blue mountains, and intricately shaped clouds float in the sky.
One day the artist was wandering around the Charvak area in search of an object. As soon as he installed his case, a huge black cloud overcast the sky, wind rose and a storm began. A heavy rain made him stay in shelter for half an hour. After the rain, the nature, cleansed with heavenly streams, looked amazingly beautiful. Clouds appeared to crawl along the mountain slopes. Colours were marvellously clean and clear. The artist, filled with inspiration, created his painting “After the Rain” just over an hour. This fabulous sight resembled the landscapes of Rerikh. The artist managed to depict in his canvas the mysterious silence, the freshness of air and colours and the harmony of the world around.
In his work “The Windy Day” the viewer can see one of the beautiful corners of Uzbekistan and the joys of summer in the mountains. Caves on the mountain sides beckon with their cold bluish shade. Caravans of clouds float in the sky; snow-capped mountains, as if resting their peaks against the sky, give the landscape a remarkable harmony. One’s attention is attracted to a mountain lake with clear water and boulders on the shore; there are trees on the foreground, with branches swaying in the wind. The picture is so realistic that one seems to feel the whiff of summer breeze. At the same time, it is panoramic in the scale of vision and conveys the mood very powerfully.
Muminov’s pictures “The Old City” and “The Street of My Childhood” also belong to the series of the artist’s selected works. These landscapes are familiar to anyone who lives in Tashkent. They present the uniqueness of the old city streets with minute accuracy and keenness of observation. The viewer gets an impression that the author leads him along a narrow, light street with earthen houses on either side, to the places where he spent his childhood years. With special love the artist depicts houses clinging to each other with their roofs, and what is left of the kites trapped in overhead power cables.
During our conversation the artist gave me a pack of paper full of notes. Those were his own contemplations about art, painting, landscape, paints, about the great masters of brush. Some of these notes I offer to you. “A landscape painter is an artist who loves his homeland, its nature, and who glorifies it on his canvas using a brush.
Among painters of Europe, Russia and Uzbekistan there are many artists who devoted their lives to this genre. Among them I value greatly the masters of brush such as Kuinji, Aivazovskiy, Levitan, Shishkin, Vasiliev, Rerikh, Tansykbaev, Karakhan, Temurov, Kuzibaev, who left a deep mark in the art of landscape.
The art of the masters of brush who, in their paintings, glorified ancient and modern cities of our country and its diverse landscapes, serve as a real school and the source of inspiration for young landscape painters”.
Works by Muminov were displayed on several personal exhibitions in 1991, 1994 and 1996 in Tashkent and in 1998 in the Turkish cities of Ankara and Boimut. One can say with confidence that his works resounded in the hearts of the viewers. For if the viewer, when looking upon a canvas, feels spiritually purified, this is indeed a true recognition of the master and creator.