Dushanbe. July. Heat (I certainly cannot remember this time, but it is not so complicated to figure out – from Adam's times the month of July here means heat). I began to draw and I can prove it because I took a pencil in my hands earlier than I began to walk and talk as all other children did too.
Kindergarten #15. Grand prix in competition for the best drawing. I am in love, her name is Muhabbat. The drawing was devoted to her.
Secondary school #2. Painful attempts to learn to write with the right hand, as I was born a lefthander, at that time, it was faulty, anomaly. The goal has been achieved – I hold a pen in my right hand, but in everything else – I repent- have remained faithful to the nature.
Further everything has been the same as for all of us. Young October boy (young communist league), pioneer, camps, military games, football, petty hooliganism (my neighbors can remember better about it). I am studying well and in love again. I love secretly, painfully, without a hope for reciprocity
I have got a younger sister – Lola, lamina new quality now – brother, child – minder but again – it means more responsibility. Hey.. .no more childhood for me!
On the family meeting it was decided that I go to Leningrad, to study to be an artist ( strange, but by then I have not lost my interest to drawing, and even, on the contrary, gained more).
Moving to the Leningrad School of Art – boarding school. Loneliness, tears in a cushion, and first attempts to understand who I am and what I am here for....
Later on new friends, new music ( “ The Beatles”, “ Deep Purple”, “Yes”..), new interests and hobbies, first successes, first jeans, White Nights, Finnish gulf, skates, ski and basketball. First parties, drugs and love. Hermitage and Russian museum. Serov and Vrubel, Degas and Monet.
Summer. Prom party and, as a continuation of this celebration, the triumphal introduction into student's life in the walls of the Repin's Institute of Painting, or easier speaking, The Academy.
Everything is perfect! I draw perfectly, I write wonderfully. Two years of “flight”, triumph is on my side and ...a Blow!
Evsei Evseevich Moiseenko! The professor, teacher and simply class artist. Well, he hammered my work and nailed me down. It was the most powerful adjustment of my life and work.
Lazy, spoiled by easy victories the young artist has come across with the “rock” or “iceberg” who turned my “gold series” into ashes.
God bless him and keep his soul in peace...
It was a lesson for me and I “woke up”, looked around and at myself and...”got sick”.
Has found my own cure, began to read a lot. Started, as it was practiced, with existentialism, then went on with Japanese, Latin American, American, European and Russian classics. There were the years of spiritual growth and forming of taste.
Marques, Borhes, Faulkner, Frish and Hesse in the literature., Modigliani, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Picasso, Matisse in painting, karate, radga-yoga, and breath exercises, plus my friends, half-drunken” tribe” of talents breaking all moral norms – all these are the components of a sinful student's life
The defense of my diploma work under the supervision of the professor Ugarov B.S. The grade is “excellent” and wish for changes.
I am returning to my hometown, Dushanbe where I got a position in the Department of Culture of Tajikistan with promised four days off and a studio. Was naïve and agreed. Plus, was teaching in the Art College and had my first freshmen class.
In November I lost my father, he died in my hands and it was the impact I was not ready to accept. He was young, 53 years old, only now I understand it much more acute.
The father became an orphan early in his childhood, with two kids, his brother. I do not know how he managed to bring them up, at the same time he finished school and technical college with honors.
In 1954 he had graduated from the Leningrad financial – economic institute, was always trim and harsh, but with good sense of humor.
All his life was spent at construction sites, building power stations, around tanned, strong and energetic people in helmets driving Yuaziks and Gaziks ( 2 Russian versions of Jeeps). This is the way I remember and love him.
1984-1985. Spring. Serving in the Soviet Army. I am a soldier at the age of 25. One can write volumes about this period of my life, but to say shortly, it is nonsense, cruelty, indifference, but certainly, also brotherhood.
The Gorbachev's epoch has come.
Dushanbe. I live alone. Finally, I began to paint seriously. Art Fund. The first orders were from members of the Politburo (Communist Political Bureau) and Heros of Socialist labor competitions. I work every day, to be more precise, I work 24/7 (easel is always on my bedside).
I am an owl type, paint at nights; I work part-time as illustrator in a publishing house (bitter experience).
Youth Union of Artists, getting grants and Senezh (famous house of art and creativity among artists), exhibition in “Manezh”, new people, purchase of paintings by the National Museum and the Management of the Exhibition of the Union of Artists, symposium in Almaty and Baku, exhibition in Algeria
Bicycle trip across Caucasus Mountains with my new army friend, gadabout and adventurer, architect Igor Mihailov.
Golden time, time of hopes and changes!
Married the girl with the tender name Nazokat.
Perestroika gives crack. Dushanbe is distressed by disorders, spontaneous meetings are everywhere.
My son Olim was born, he was named after my father. I work in a new studio, an apartment of a family, which has left for Israel. I paint a lot, for the first time I try to sell. Basically, it is diplomats and missionaries, who show interest to my works.
The young artists have founded the gallery “Abris” and organized symposium on painting, having invited artist people from many countries. But few have arrived. By that time Tajikistan already has received reputation of an unstable and dangerous region. The exhibition in the palace “Borbad”.
It was funny – there was a war going on, cannonade- and here we had an exhibition with drawings, audience, champagne... The political situations have become aggravated and worse, putsch, robberies, pillage, refugees...
My little daughter was born – Mariam. Cold and terrible winter. On the Christmas Day so-called ”freedom fighters” stopped me and convicted me to be shot on the spot.
Managed to escape by a miracle – the whole situation was drivel.
600 dollars obtained from selling my paintings to representatives of the United Nations, Red Cross and different ambassadors allow all of my family to reach Moscow. Illegally, without tickets, on a military plane.
We leave behind us famine, unemployment, and war. What is waiting for us is uncertainty. I send my wife and children to my mother in the Northern Caucasus and stay myself in Moscow, with my friend Hodjaev Farrouh on Senezh. I am driven by only one idea, at any cost, to earn something.
Otherwise, we shall not survive.
The Belgium gallery “Elena- Lisa” buys four of my paintings. Got lucky! We live!!!
At the very same time I was noticed by the “Vostochnaya Gallery”, which offered to work together and it turned out just fine and we still cooperate.
I work in Nalchik, in a studio of my old friend and classmate Andrei Kolkoutin. Again, I paint a lot, practically all of my works go to Moscow, and from there, further abroad. I am not told how they get distributed overseas, too bad that my best works had irrevocably disappeared.
Since February 1996 I teach in the College of Design in Nalchik. I have a small studio with lab and with carpentry outside of my window.
I visited Germany with my students, saw the best design schools, the Stuttgart Academy of Arts, and paid a visit to Hermann Hesse's museum in Calw, something I could not dream about!
Amazingly, German designers, having incorporated the aesthetic systems of the world, testing on themselves all influences, interpreting and alloying all of them, manage to create pure German, material culture.
This year I have a big celebration – my son starts his school era. Besides, my first 12 students graduated. Good luck guys!! Economic default, panic is in the air, all go bankrupt – thanks God, I am safe and sound, and frankly, bear no losses because I possess nothing.
My sin – no piling of wealth in advance.
A huge problem is solved – I bought a piece of real estate, an apartment to live in. Finally acquired a shelter that was the result of paintings sales (a great bow of gratitude before “Vostochnaya (Eastern) Gallery”.)
Paris...No comments required....
Painting hard and trying to keep fit...
Once, during one of those visits Moscow's, my sister Lola set up a big surprise for me. She introduced me to my son – Alex (mmm... a flashback from my student days). Thank you, my sweet sister!! Alex is a wonderful, bright boy, and fortunately, he is warmly embraced by my family...
From now on, the art studio is mine for life! My, mine, own – the year was awesome.
A grievous year... my guardian angel Lola dies absurdly and tragically. The pain turns mom black and she hides in herself; as a result, the atmosphere of coldness dominates the family hearth.
A whole bunch of endeavors and emotions are absorbed by “the teacher's life”...barely remembered the coming jubilee of mine – thanks to the “righteous” people, who reminded me... Holly cow, I am fifty – indeed a preposterous number for my comprehension.
Start to getting used to the status of "the man of the heyday” and... that may sound weird – I carry on painting. Wondering how many more years are out there for me. We can only wait and see....
P.S. It is necessary to add that advertency and kind attitude toward old friends, relatives, gallery owners, colleagues on work, as well simple strangers help to overcome hard times. To all of you, big thank you!