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DUBAI: Andakulova Gallery, Dubai, the Middle East’s only gallery for Central Asian art, is hosting an exhibition of the artworks of Uzbek artist Javlon Umarbekov (Feb. 20 – Apr. 20). Umarbekov, who was born in 1946 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, is one of the key figures of contemporary art in the country.
He is the People’s Artist of Uzbekistan, an active member of the Academy of Arts of the Republic, a full member of the Academy of Arts of Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine and Professor of the National Institute of Arts and Design named after K. Behzad, the legendary founder of the Herat miniature school.
From the 1970s continuing to the present day, Umarbekov has exhibited his work in prestigious exhibition centers and museums, both in Uzbekistan and abroad. At 77, he is a living treasure and an artist who has become a classic of national visual arts. This is not only due to the numerous awards and titles he has received, but because his art is of substantial value to the spiritual culture of modern-day Uzbekistan.
In the beginning of 1970s, Umarbekov was a phenomenon to be reckoned with. He strode into the art scene with his paintings “My friend” and “Husein Bukhara and Alisher Navoi in their Childhood” – bold ventures into what were, at the time, revolutionary paradigms of plasticity and concept in visual art.
His subsequent well-known and important paintings such as “Homo Sapiens” and “I am Human” became key turning points in the history of twentieth century Uzbek visual arts. These works gave him the status of a Maitre d’Art (Master of Art). Umarbekov could well have been satisfied developing the technique which brought him success and renown; instead, he continued to innovate.
In the beginning of the 1990’s we see a cardinal change in his work. There is not merely a change in style, but there is also a shift in the semantics and tonal register of his motifs and images. He began creating paintings which are extraordinary in their plasticity and enchanting in their colours: metaphorical, carnival, ironic and grotesque.
They display intimacy, a deeply humane spectrum of moods and feelings, and are characteristic of his latest discoveries in the dynamics of painting. This bright and impressive later period in Umarbekov’s creativity does not, of course, cancel out his previous achievements.
Quite the opposite: they bear witness to his creative enthusiasm and intense, ongoing search for new concepts, ideas and stylistic techniques relevant to the times. He has won his position as a leading light in contemporary visual arts. Steeped in the rich historical and cultural traditions of Uzbekistan, his works not only reflect Uzbekistan’s artistic heritage, but also draw inspiration from cultural links between East and West.
In Umarbekov’s work, we see history through the actions of its protagonists: the people who lived during the times he depicts. The artist shows us their fate through the wonder of his creations, and humanity’s place within that creation. His paintings are about life – the soul’s eternal life – about joys and sorrows, hopes and despair and, of course, about love. Each of his pieces is a parable conveying his deep, philosophical message.
His work is a testament to his craftsmanship, his outstanding skill as an artist, and also bears witness to his lively, imaginative ideas, which come to life through his subjects, real people, and his native land. Through the images of his Muse, we see the truth of his times and people. Uzbekistan is proud of Umarbekov’s heritage. Imbued with the timeless values of truth, beauty, goodness and wisdom, his work is proof that art can never be either old or new. True art is always eternal, and forever young – just as the artist is.
Javlon Umarbekov: Born in 1946 – Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Education 1966 – 1972 – P. Benkov School of Art in Tashkent
Higher Education: 1966 – 1972 – Moscow’s State Institute of Cinematography Umarbekov’s personal exhibitions have been held in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, at the UN headquarters in New York and in the famous galleries of Kuwait, Japan, Austria, Germany, Turkey, China, among other places. Today, his work is ranked among the classics. It is fitting that Andakulova Gallery, Dubai, is hosting his works just now, since it echoes, in its own way, the honour being paid by Louvre Museum Paris, to Uzbekistan.
The Louvre Paris is currently dedicating the exhibition titled “The Splendors of Uzbekistan’s Oases” (Nov. 23, 2022 – Mar. 6) to the country. Further details of the show is available at https://presse.louvre.fr/splendours-of-oasis-of-uzbekistan/
Andakulova Gallery, Dubai, is an art gallery whose objective is to promote Central Asia’s contemporary visual arts. It serves as a platform to exhibit and support emerging to mid-market contemporary artists from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan (or the ‘Stans’), across a variety of media.
Founded by Natalya Andakulova, also among gallery goals is to cultivate a dialogue between Central Asia and the Middle East by re-introducing the art of the ‘Stans’ to the artistic hub of Dubai. The gallery does this by building academic and professional relationships between artists, writers, art specialists and collectors.
Contacts: Email – Natalya@andakulova.com
Telephone: +971 4 3859897
Location: Dubai, DIFC, Damac Park Towers, Unit 18/P4 Website: www.andakulova.com