One of Gallery Lilja Zakirova’s most beloved artists is the Uzbek painter Anwar Abdoullaev (1952). Though their size may vary widely, their monumental nature always leaves a deep impression on the viewer. The source of is his work is the Uzbekistan of Abdoullaev’s childhood, a region where farmers grow fruit and cotton. He draws from his memories and presents us with harmonious, modest scenes of country life, people and animals, the lushness of orchards amidst an otherwise barren, mountainous environment. The villagers of his birthplace are the main protagonists of Abdoullaev’s work. He lovingly depicts them engrossed in their daily activities or resting in the shade during the hottest part of a torrid day. They appear calm, easy and introverted, to a certain extent.
What characterises Abdoullaev’s paintings is the closeness between man, animal and nature. His subjects are often accompanied by birds, dogs, a pack animal. There is a connection and a mutual trust. Sometimes it seems as though there is conversation between the man and the animal, which lifts the image up from reality and suggests a fable or a fairytale. The harmony between people and their natural surroundings add to this closeness. One painting shows a man sitting on the ground, picking a star out of the cosmos. To do this he just draws a circle around the star. It is this child-like wonder, cherishing the small things, which Abdoullaev manages to capture in his works with a mild humor, and which makes the works so charming.
Anwar Abdoullaev got his education at the Tashkent State Institute of Art in Uzbekistan’s capital and at the Surikov Art Institute in Moscow, the most prestigious art institute of the Soviet Union at the time. He took courses at the faculty for Monumental Art and completed several assignments in the public space. He decorated a textile factory with frescos and a mosaic piece. This type of large-scale work requires a high degree of technical skill.
The unique quality of Abdoullaev’s current work is the combination of this monumental imagery with an intimate and introverted atmosphere. His compositions are bold and have a clear rhythm, the colour palette is harmonious: ocre, light blue, pale green and white dominate the canvas. Every so often he uses a saturated, almost glowing red – for instance when he delicately balances a quartet of pomegranates on the head of a girl. Image and technique merge into an image that is powerful, convincing and touching at the same time.
The simple starting point of the work gains mythical stature through Abdoullaev’s treatment – it transcends its boundaries and as a result speaks to a broad audience. The monumental rendering transforms normal people into universal images of man. Abdoullaev’s works depict the ‘memory of the heart’, memories of a child who distils only the essentials from the past.