Way to Self-knowledge
In what does the originality of creative identity of an artist reveal it? This question has been always actual. The question, “What way are we following?” has remained open in Uzbekistan since the 20-s years of the past century when traditions of the European painting began to develop. Ready-made answers appear here and there in the press.
Some explorers of fine arts consider that guided by our own traditions we should come closer to the trends in the world arts; others defined this trend within the synthesis of traditions of the East and the West. The third ones stick to the necessity to be guided only by own roots and are particularly drawn towards the “oriental” style. Each of these positions has the right to exist although neither of them gives the final answer to the raised issue.
While speaking about the identity, we should not neglect the fundamental points affecting its formation. Artist’s creativity and choice of his own style have been always determined by the way of life and the artist’s place in this life, by the events concerned with his childhood, reminiscences from the past, as well as the genetic memory embodied in the stories, legends and traditions of the people.
For example, the European and Russian painting possesses a very strong position of the artists addressing to the plots borrowed from the Bible and other sacred books. Just biblical plots laid the basis of such great artists like Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and others.
In the East address to the religious tradition was one of the characteristic features of the artistic process. Manicheism, Buddism, Zoroastrism and Normadism monuments of sculptures and mural paintings testify for this. During the Islamic epoch fine arts tradition was mainly preserved in manuscript’s decoration.
Modern period brought in revival of the medieval miniature tradition in its new forms including easel ones. Today’s creations of the artists have the works displaying the effort to create new reality through combining traditions of the European fine arts and art of miniature. Some of our artists turn to the synthesis of Central Asian miniature and ancient Uigurian and Chinese graphic arts. It is particularly worth mentioning creative searches of Lekim Ibraghimov.
Creative works by Van Gogh and Paul Goghen influenced by the art of oriental miniature have inspired many native artists such as B.Boboev, Sh.Abdurashidov, A.Mirzaev and V.Ziyaev.
The famous master of brush, Chinghiz Akhmarov, has chosen the way of synthesis of the miniature and early medieval mural of Central Asia. Young people often turn in their creativity to the samples of folk applied arts (carpet, suzanne, kurok and etc.) and use their forms and elements (A`. Nur, I^. Kozokov, Kh. Ziyakhanov).
Such approaches also characterized searches of the artists of the 20s of the past century (A`. Volkov, U. Tansykbaev, Karakhan and I^. Tatevocyan). Today’s generation of artists is developing this tradition and creates works filled with deep philosophic sense and marked with individual play of colors. Some artists prefer creativity that is European in its form but Oriental in its sense and content (A`. Abdullaev, I`. Nabiev, N. Kuzybaev).
Having received European education, the artist often understands that he has just mastered the painting technique. However some of them during their lifetime are unable to get rid of the impact and influence of European education that makes artificial their orientation to the oriental details and elements. But here we should recall the Place and Time that are beyond any trends. Assume that at the beginning of the 20th century while Tashkent was getting acquainted with the European culture Bukhara emirate was mostly preserving traditions of Muslim culture, as the Russian influence had not reached the place yet. But it is also true that in the remote provincial areas the way of life of the population, its culture had preserved even more archaic elements like traditions of Fire-worshipping, Shamanism and Buddism. That is the reality.
We are disclosing our “Ego”, identity, forming our handwriting based on the surrounding reality and subconsciousness where this very ‘Ego’ exists. Truly speaking, big information stream, urbanization, globalization and similar changes strongly affect mentality and serve weakening and evening-out of the identity although showing off resistance in the consciousness. Unintentionally this process reveals itself in their creative work. For example, artists from Kazakhstan educated in the European and Russian traditions have the works made in the manner of Shamanizm, and this is not at all accidental.
Despite the influence of the European culture, the century-old domination of the Islam, the way of life, spiritual and material culture of the Kazakh people has the elements of Shamanism inherited by them from the ancestors and preserved in their subconsciousness and reflected today in their artistic creativity.
Young Tashkent artists born in different parts of the Republic dedicate their works to the topic that is dear to them from their childhood – life in the village and nature of their native land. At the same time they rarely paint from nature showing their immediate vivid impressions and reminiscences; their works have little individual approach and view through the prism of their ‘Ego’. Why so? A young artist, Shukhrat Abdurashidov somehow clarified this issue in 1980s. If in his early works one can feel the influence of the Russian artist Victor Popkov and Armenian artist Minas Avetisyan, images in the pictures of the later period (“Morning”, “Courtyard”, “Guljhakhon” and “Mother”), stamped in his subconsciousness, preserved in his soul from childhood, have embodied in his works in an individual manner characteristic of the artist himself: his characters are inspired and their anxiety is communicated to a viewer.
It is possible to trace influence of the elements of fire-worshipping, Islam, Shamanism and even Hellenism in the creative work of the artists living in the south of the Republic. During a certain period culture of Greeks, winners of Bactria, aphtalites, Arabs and moguls, was developing there. If we take into consideration this historical background, it is easy to notice the people constituted various ethnic groups that also determine specific peculiarities of the gene pool.
Variations in the ways of life throughout the Republic, ethnography, anthropology, psychology, culture, clothing, music, applied arts, folklore and even variety of dishes catch the eye reminding of a picturesque bunch of beautiful flowers. Grown in such original settings the artist that found himself in big arts casts a glance at the past, at the environment he used to live in. These roots provide the opportunity to come out into the fount of subconsciousness hidden in nature itself. Recollect works by Ruza Charyev of the 60-70th years of the past century: series “People of Surkhandarya”; or by V.Akhunov of the 80th: series “Fergana Valley”; sculpture by Azamat Khatamov “People of Surkhandarya” – series of sculptures and graphic works “Road to Oneself” by Akmal Nur, an artist from Namangan (series of exhibitions). Ironically derisive works by Telman Mukhamedov present a philosophically symbolic look upon the past and the present, don’t they?
To what extent the artist strays from his “Ego”, from his own identity, to the same extent he falls under the influence of other masters. As a result, instead of showing his personal point of view his own attitude to this world, he does not go farther than repetition of the world of other masters with a bit difference only.
Like finger lines are never repeated, in creation one and the same object can be revealed in the millions of points of view. For this purpose, it is necessary to persuade oneself to expose one’s own, individual vision – this is the question that has not yet found its final answer. It is because manifestation, exposure of the own “ego” differs with each artist. There could be various reasons to get aware of this.
Just recollect how great pieces of art came into world: both divine forces, artist’s gene pool, his qualified knowledge, views and searches are concerned with their creation. Maybe without the above named factors it is also possible to disclose one’s “ego” but in such a case disclosure level will be limited, and level of talent will be different. They say, “Wise words make a clever man yet clever, fools are left unchanged”.
When we speak about identity, originality of the inner world of our youth, independent of the level of talent they will have to look for the ways of self-determination. Only this way can help to gain one’s own place in art.