The Urgench Art Gallery named after Al-Khorezmi opened in 1983. Its two spacious halls display about a thousand rare items of painting, drawing and sculpture. In different times, the building constructed in 1910-1912 based on traditional methods of Khorezmian architecture that now houses the gallery, was home to local administration and other institutions. Intricate geometric designs are made of baked brick. Balta Vaisov, a potter from Madir, used blue fresco to decorate both portal sections of the building now protected by state as a national architectural asset. The remaining parts of the structure have been restored using modern technology. The restoration project was authored by Azamat Tuhtaev.
The building is currently П-shaped. Graceful portico of the main entrance is decorated with four massive double-leaf carved wooden doors. To decorate the doors with islimi vegetable motifs traditional craftsmen were engaged – experienced masters of wood and plaster carving and painting from Bukhara. Veranda the size of approximately 300 square meters is adorned with twelve columns with Khiva composition (19th-20th cc.) and is intended for holding open-air exhibitions. Carved design of the two columns was performed by the leading light of Khorezmian wood-carving style usto Ata Palvanov.
The main purpose of the gallery is to preserve, cherish and promote the country’s rich artistic and cultural heritage and to familiarize the public with the works of art and culture. The gallery keeps 347 paintings, 253 works of graphic arts, 40 sculptures and 9 items of applied arts. Their authors represent all schools and streams of art, which have left a noticeable mark in the history of national fine arts. Among the exhibits are the most precious works wrought by renowned masters of painting, such as Chingiz Ahmarov, Rahim Ahmedov, Nemat Kuzybaev, Yusuf Yelizarov, Valentin Fadeev, Evgeniy Melnikov, Ruzy Charyev, Faim Madgazin, Safo Duschanov, as well as country’s contemporary artists, namely Bahodir Jalalov, Javlon Umarbekov, Alisher Mirzaev, Akmal Nur, Rimma Gagloeva, Akmal Ikramjanov, Vladimir Burmakin, and Jollibai Izentaev. The exhibition also features works of lead Khorezmian artists Atahan Allabergenov, Tura Kuryazov, Erkabai Masharipov, Kuranbai Bekchanov, Davron Yuldashev and others.
The pride of the gallery is a collection of sculpture and graphic art created by graphic artists Kutlug Basharov, Medat Kagarov, Marat Sadykov, Iskander Vahidov, Lekim Ibragimov, Telman Muhammedov, Georgiy Chiganov, Yuriy Strelnikov, Saitmamat Kalandarov, Kurbondurdi Kalandarov, and sculptors Ilhom Jabbarov, Damir Ruzybaev, Vadim Nemiromskiy, Robert Avakyan, Shavkat Usmanov, Bahtiyar Ruzmetov and others.
Large-scale exhibitions are held in two halls of the gallery with the total area of 512 square meters, whereas smaller ones are accommodated in the lobby, foyer and minor hall.
To promote and introduce people to the works of fine arts, the exhibition hall of the provincial Centre for Spirituality and Enlightenment organizes mobile exhibitions. Visitors give warm comment to the works of Lola Abdullaeva, Tajibai Jumaniyazov, Safo Duschanov, Tura Kuryazov, Kuranbai Bekchanov, Davron Yuldashev, Sali Kadirov, and Pavel Kichko.
During the Year of Rural Development, the staff of the gallery travelled to remote districts and villages where they organized exhibitions and talks on the subject of fine arts, with the participation of painters; they also demonstrated films about masters of applied art.
The gallery’s assets mostly consist of the works created by local artists. Different trends in the development of contemporary art are reflected in the works of young artists educated in a new socio-cultural environment. Priority function of the gallery is considered to be art promotion among general public, organization of mobile exhibitions and the development of scientific methodology. The primary objective of the gallery staff is: to develop contemporary museum work in sovereign Uzbekistan; identify the role of museum work in contemporary artistic and cultural life of the country; address issues related to the collection of museum assets and preservation of exhibits and expositions; strengthen international relations with museums abroad; address the issues of marketing and management, procurement of modern equipment for data base processing; adequately outfit museum exterior to reflect its specificity; look for new approaches to tackle economic issues; establish contacts between visitors and museums; and collect information about cultural assets exported to foreign museums and collections.
To successfully address these tasks, there is a need in new research and preparation of academic monographs. The authors believe that the implementation of these objectives will facilitate further development of museum work in the country.
Azad Sultanov, Ravshan Palvanov