Ulbosyn Utegenova, Art Critic
The origins of contemporary pictorial art of Karakalpakstan are unique natural landscapes, rich ancestral heritage, history, culture, and applied arts and crafts. Throughout centuries the Karakalpak people used to create the unparalleled household items. Special conditions for the organization of crafts and applied arts, in general, have generated the interesting examples, which formed a store of knowledge, experience, which is an indicator of true folk craftsmanship, a kind of their own brand. All this is the main theme of both local and visiting artists.
The applied arts of Karakalpak people has essentially acquired a peculiar combination of shapes, lines, and the most interesting – the unique color preferences, distinctive noble and intense combinations of hues. None of the items of the folk art has a defiantly bright, highly luminous combination of colors, even in the case of contrasting shapes and colors of the patterns and weaves. This perception of color is also a characteristic composition of the works of Karakalpak artists.
In recent years, the Karakalpak Branch of the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan often held exhibitions where the artists exhibit their pieces of art, some of them expose their paintings in the exhibition halls of Tashkent.
Trying their hands at various genres and techniques in different themes, such artists as A. Radjapov, S. Baybosinov, J. Lepesov, B. Serekeev, S. Kutlymuratov, B. Tajimuratov, A. Kudaybergenov, V. Halimanov, T. Sulaymanov, R. Baymurzaev, S. Bekbauliev, M. Kazakbaev, R. Askarov, S. Babadjanov and others, at the same time are tending to preserve a distinctive style of Karakalpakstan school of painting in general. They pay great attention to the history of their native land, its historical sites – ancient fortresses and settlements. For example, Abdullah Radjapov, who is in love with the history of his motherland, focuses the viewer’s attention on the interesting composition of his paintings, which are subordinated to the artist’s idea. Thus, his painting “The Memory of Ancestors” does not represent just a visible plot as such, but the concept and the understanding of situation. Composition of this painting is interesting, it is diagonally symmetrical, although there is no particular multidimensionality in its design. The artist has primarily sought to show the depth of the centuries, historically imprisoned in the images of famous monuments of antiquity. In the center of the composition are the four old Chirak – lamps illuminating the four cardinal directions, indicating a broad geographical coverage. No less interesting are the paintings of Radjapov – “Waterfall”, “Meeting”, “Pomegranates”, “Venice”, “Conversation”, which show the decorative harmony of the picturesque concord. The artist in his work tries to portray in the foreground a decorative spirit of the color combination, consciously creating a diversity of color patches. A new achievement in the work of the artist is his painting “Venice”. The brightness and intensity of colors used in it are not entirely consistent with the established preference of color palette of A. Radjapov that is typical of his other paintings. However, as recognized by the artist himself, it was a kind of soaring of imagination, inspiration, and specific mood. But, nevertheless, in this painting exactly he was able “to do his best”, to express his vivid inner world. In many of his paintings, both the early ones and those created over the past few years, the artist adheres to the discreet color scheme, an individual style of drawing and composition of picture, i.e. his specific handwriting, which is immediately recognizable, emphasizing the individuality of artistic portraying. However, his painting – “Venice” – is an exception, it is decorative, the coloring consist of the bright, saturated shades, the technique is also different from his other paintings, it transmits a different mood, inspiring the artists to creative pursuits.
S. Kutlymuratov seeks to convey through his paintings the general feeling of visible delight from the outside world. The views of nature of the homeland in his pictures are represented in a certain lyrical interpretation; the landscape genre prevails in the artist’s works, emphasizing his interest in the depicted reality corresponding to his feelings and mood.
The artist, Berdibay Tadjimuratov, created a series of landscapes in the recent years. He admits that he is trying to achieve even greater effects by depicting the nature on canvas. Every time he manages to capture something new and extraordinary in the natural environment, something more expressive, more picturesque. The coloring of such works is done in a certain range of saturated colors; the distribution of them across the composition creates a perception of universal harmony of the lightness, depth, and materiality. Despite the preference of this genre, the artist recently paints the portraits as well, such as “The Portrait of the Art Critic”, “Guli”, “Summer” and others. “Guli” is a portrait of somewhat sketchy character, but nonetheless, it is very expressive and impressive, primarily through its color palette. Airiness and spaciousness of this painting enrich the overall perception of the image of the little girl, entirely covered by a general feeling of summer coolness and freshness in the shade of a large tree on a hot day. Brush strokes are easy, as though they were trembling, conferring the liveliness, vitality and truthfulness to the image portrayed. Sincere childish features of the girl are in harmony with nature, with life, with this small world of nature she is being a part of. “The Portrait of the Art Critic” takes a special place in the artist’s creative work. It gravitates towards primitivism and decorativeness. Image of a young woman is painted dynamically and expressively, the artist tried to capture only the most peculiar features of this character, thus emphasizing the expressive nature of the state of mind and emotional mood. Composition and color agree with the decorative structure of the linear drawing, composing the melody and the romantic perception in general.
Young beginning artists, along with mature masters of painting, are tirelessly seeking their own path in art, inspired by the beautiful views and artistic aims. Adjiniyaz Kudaybergenov has already succeeded in his artistic works, trying himself in painting, drawing, as well as in monumental art, sculpture and ceramics. Such versatility is good, because in the fine arts the sense of plastics is very important. Certain images in his works, glowing from within, also show a deep sense of what is happening. The artworks of this painter such as “Waiting”, “Bull”, “The Birth of Alpamys” and other paintings in which the visible “luminous faces” further deepen the perception of the depicted images and reflect the general mood of the situation – the mystery and anticipation of a miracle. It is possible to accurately indicate the preference of the artist to the advisability of depicting his personal ideas, but, nevertheless, he still continues to search for his own style of painting, because in his other paintings there is a different interpretation of more dynamic and realistic character. The triptych of A. Kudaybergenov “A Woman’s Life” covers a broad concept of the nature of women and contains a story about the woman’s life of a collective nature – “Bride Farewell Ceremony”, “Threshold”, and “Old age”. The very name of “old age”, for example, speaks of a lifetime. The plot is clear, understandable for everyone, it is natural and truthful. This picture is painted in an interesting compositional interpretation of the ideas and is decorative in its color and composition design. The coloring is reminiscent of the colors used in the carpet weaving, embroidery and other kinds of Karakalpak folk arts and crafts: navy blue, dark red, blotches of green and yellow colors and a combination of these hues in general, as a whole represent the applied art.
Victor Khalimanov in his work applies his favorite styles of painting, themes, and genres. Many of his pieces are painted in the impressionist style. Mild colors of certain palette, a harmonious blend of cold colors distinguish the painting of this young artist, attaining a special romantic perception. In his painting “Portrait of the Art Critic, Gulaim Saipova”, the artist conveys his attitude towards the nature and the essence of women in general, despite the fact that he created a wonderful image of a specific person.
In recent years, in Karakalpakstan, there are a lot of opportunities for the artists to realize their skills and experience in painting, drawing other forms of visual art.
Young artists try their hands at composition and application of the various effects of portraiture, traditionally paying attention to the historical, social, and literary topics, aiming to represent in their paintings the most striking features of folk art, folk customs and rituals. However, the most of them like to portray the nature of their native land.