On April 28, 2006 the exhibition of painting and applied arts «Spring rainbow» «as held at Central Exhibition Hall of the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan in Tashkent. It was timed to the regular meeting of ministers of culture from countries of Shanghai Organization for Cooperation — Republic of Kazakhstan, Peoples Republic of China, Republic of Kyrgyzstan, Russian Federation, Republic of Tajikistan and Republic of Uzbekistan. The organizers of the exhibition were the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan, Ministry for Culture and Sports of the Republic of Uzbekistan and «Forum of Culture and Arts of Uzbekistan» Foundation.

Shanghai Organization for Cooperation has history, strategy and priorities. It has carried out a number of important projects and actions that became marks in relations of our countries. Worthy of note are projects in the field of culture. Cooperation is being developed as bilateral and multilateral cultural projects that positively influence development of contemporary art.

Though our countries have specific features of historical, political, social and economic development, many things unite us, including art and culture. Common for SHOC countries are tasks to preserve national originality within the context of globalization, to transfer historical and cultural heritage to future generations and to become integrated in the world cultural space. Peoples of SHOC countries made a major contribution to world cultural treasury. They have preserved unique art traditions which bear original mentality, searches for spirituality and beauty, harmony and sense of human life. That found reflection in works of painting, applied arts and rafts.

The Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan did much to develop international cultural contacts with SHOC countries which arose in the antiquity on crossroads of the Great Silk Road. In the past Chinese-Uzbek relations were active not only in politics (actually, discovery of the Fergana valley by Chinese pilgrim Chjan Tzyan in the 2nd century B.C. laid the foundation of the Great Silk Road), but also in the field of art. Popularity of Chinese «cobalt» porcelain at Amir Temur caused development of Central Asian white-blue ceramics in the 14th-15th centuries. At his successors popularity turned into «feverish passion» to open its secret … Not knowing properties of kaolin and applying traditional silicate clay — kashin, Central Asian potters achieved perfect milky-white texture of ceramics, which, painted with cobalt, gave deep and soft lines almost identical with true porcelain» (1, p. 207). Many Chinese ornamental motifs penetrated to Central Asian arts and crafts, for example, the motif of dragon as a symbol of holiday. On the contrary, elements of Central Asian came to Chinese art, first of all, to wood carving and painting in Eastern Turkistan.

The history of Chinese-Uzbek cultural contacts have continued in the period of independence of Uzbekistan. In 2004 Center of Modern Art of the Academy of Arts held the exhibition of China contemporary photo art. The exhibition gave interesting information on life of Chinese people, its centuries-old customs, traditions, art and nature of this wonderful country. Return photo exhibition representing life and culture of Uzbek people was organized in China in 2005. It got high estimation from Chinese public and mass media.

Exhibitions of painting and modern photo art of Uzbekistan were held in the framework of Days of Culture of Uzbekistan in Peoples Republic of China in May, 2005. The exhibition of painting was organized by the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan at National Museum of China (Peking). It exposed forty works of leading Uzbek artists reflecting major directions and genres of contemporary art. Photo exhibition devoted to Buddhist monuments of Uzbekistan was held at Center of Modern City-Planning in Shanghai that also caused great interest of Chinese public, archeologists and historians.

At last, the wonderful exhibition of «Children draw fairy tales» which was held in January, 2006 at Republican College of Design at the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan. The exhibition exposed works of children from SHOC countries which showed how ideas of cooperation are interpreted by young artists. The catalogue of the exhibition noted that «the exhibition of children’s pictures from six states reflected efforts of Shanghai Organization for Cooperation to realize respect to different cultures and to develop cultural exchange. The exhibition realized humanistic ideals and values that Shanghai Organization proclaimed» (2, p. 9). Some works of Uzbek children, full of the sun and heart warmth of our people, were included in the catalogue.

Well-known are contacts and mutual influence of Russian and Uzbek art. Central Asia inspired Russian artists at the end of the 19th — beginning of the 20th century and later in the 1920s-1930s, promoting development of orientalism in Russian art. For example, works of K. Korovin, R. Zommer, I. Kazakov, A. Isupov and the other famous masters. Central Asia gave to Russian artists not only new themes, but also influenced artistic forms, having enriched art language of the 20th century’s art. Central Asian avant-garde arising at the joint of mentality, culture and spirituality of the East and West became unique phenomenon and occupied a place in world artistic culture of the 20th century.

Speaking about Russian-Uzbek cultural contacts at the end of the 20th century it should be noted the exhibition of Academician of the Academy of Arts of Russia V. Sidorov in Tashkent and the exhibition of National Artist of Uzbekistan, Academician of AA Uz R. Akhmedov in Moscow.

Significant events in cultural life of our country were the exhibition of painting from State Museum of Arts of the Republic of Kazakhstan by A. Kasteev that was held at Center of Modern Art of the Academy of Arts in 2005 and the exhibition of National Artist of Uzbekistan U. Tansykbaev timed to his 100th-anniversary where Kazakh experts represented the catalogue of pictures by the famous artist.

At last, on April 28, 2006 the exhibition of «Spring rainbow» was opened at Central Exhibition Hall of the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan. It included works of painting and crafts of SHOC countries. Its exposition began on the lawn in front of CEH where attention of spectators was drawn by the structure with emblem of SHOC, flags of six states and title of the exhibition. The hall of the ground floor played a role of information centre. Monitors displayed video films about SHOC countries, their cultural life, successes and achievements.

The major exposition where each country was represented by a separate section was placed on the first floor. The exposition of Uzbekistan represented pictures of our leading artists Dj. Umarbekov, G. Baimatov, L. Ibraghimov, A. Nur, M. Kagarov, F. Ahmadaliev, Dj. Usmanov, V. Useinov, A. Tyurin, N. Imamov, H. Ziyahanov and others. Such young artists, as K. Babayev, Z. Sharipov, T. Karimov, Z. Batyrov and others were represented alongside with famous artists. Myths and legends, today’s subjects and decorative compositions, traditions and innovations are characteristic for contemporary fine arts of Uzbekistan. Applied arts and crafts form an important part of historical and cultural heritage of Uzbek people. Unique pieces of wood carving and painting, ceramics, chasing and weaving of Tashkent, Khiva, Gurumsarai and Margilan masters show aesthetic ideals, originality of local centers of Uzbek nation which have generated for many centuries.

The exposition of Russian Federation «Russian Quilt Mosaics» represented products of today’s patchwork masters: V. Ivanova, V. Portnova, T. Stepanova, L. Bezrukova, O. Vinnichenko, M. Serjantova, O. Bocharova, T. Sapelkina, S. Lapteva and N. Tarantina as well as collective products of Quilt-club of Saint Petersburg, quilt club of «Sibirushki» and students of «Russian square» shcool were exhibited. Quilt making is international phenomenon involving many countries of CIS, Europe and America. It bears uneclipsed traditions of folk art, surprising optimism, simplicity, harmony of a person and nature, i.e. spirit of true national culture. The works showed modern interpretation of traditions of Russian quilt working characterized by a high level of professionalism, surprising feeling of color, original compositions, fascinating plots and showing poetics of Russian folk art. Themes were various: biblical and evangelical plots, folk festivals, today’s subjects and decorative compositions.

The exposition of Kyrgyzstan represented pictures of the second half of the 20th century and traditional embroidery on felt, leather, velvet and felt products from the collection of Kirghiz National Museum of Fine Arts by G. Aitiev. Works of Kirghiz embroiderers of the beginning of the 20th century reflected centuries-old traditions of Kirghiz nomadic culture, which is characterized by laconism, glorification of the nature, feeling of beauty and poetry. The exposition included works of such famous Kirghiz artists, as G. Aitiev, S. Akylbekov, M.Akynbekov, A. Beishenov, A. Voronin, B. Djumabaev, D. Ignatyev, A. Kamensky, A. Osmonov, V. Tyurin, S. Chuikov, S. Chokmorov and others. The majority of works followed aesthetics of academic realistic school. They showed huge spaces of Kirghiz landscapes and still-lives. Products from felt by Kirghiz artist Z. Adralieva differed by avant-garde interpretation of traditions.

The Kazakh exposition differed by integrity and richness of genres. It contained pictures of today’s artists, products of traditional crafts and contemporary applied arts. Painting of Kazakhstan was represented by works of T. Asylbekov, N. Bube, R. Slekenov, A. Akanaev, S. Guliev, U. Jubaniyazov, A. Kazgulov, V. Kuznetsova, A. Starkov, A. Sadyhanov, E. Tulepbaev, K. Mullashev, N. Kilibaev and others belonging to different art directions. However, freedom of art expression, search for new expressive means and spirit of experiment dominate. Some continuity is felt: from traditional art heritage represented by jewelry art, embroidery and leather works with canonic forms to contemporary applied arts represented by compositions from felt. Centuries-old traditions of nomadic culture get new sounding, new life and rhythms of the 21st century in works of modern artists. They are avant-garde, decorative and look accordant with modern world vision.

China, a country of ancient and original culture, was represented by national painting of Futzyan province which is characterized in the catalogue as «a pearl of Chinese art and important component of Chinese national culture as well as of all the world» (3). The works expose centuries-old holiday customs and ceremonies, believes and ideals of Chinese people. Experts say that Futzyan folk culture has laid the foundations of contemporary art. The exposition included several New Year’s pictures and cards from Chjanchjou city which belonged to category of traditional painting. In general the works, in spite of local geography, reflected spirit and originality of Chinese national culture, its specific picture of the world where dominate good, order, harmony and happiness.

Tajikistan was represented by works of modern artists and embroidered suzane as a typical component of traditional heritage. The booklet of Tajik section pointed out that after Tajikistan became independent its art obtained real cultural sovereignty. The new art with national subjects, modern tasks and deep traditions came instead of the former. In the 1990s active interpretation of national traditions by means of different avant-garde and postmodernist directions began. New directions, genres, techniques, themes and new understanding of content and form (4) appeared. Works of artists A. Abdullaev, B. Allabergenov, A. Ganieva, Z. Dovutov, U. Kizilbaev, V. Nazarov. B. Odinaev and others showed creative searches of modern Tajik masters and dominating associative-metaphorical character of their pictures which create cheerful atmosphere, native landscapes, allegory and metaphors expressing complex world vision of a modern person.

The exhibition «Spring rainbow» of SHOC countries again showed that culture is able to consolidate different peoples, that culture is a space creating cultural wealth and living according to own laws. Its future depends on priorities which we determine in culture today. Its development is impossible without international cultural cooperation. Acquaintance with cultures of different countries not only enriches spiritual consciousness of peoples, but also outsteps the borders of cultural contacts.

The exhibition «Spring rainbow» became a true festival of art, traditions and spirituality. It showed originality and at the same time generality of problems standing before traditional and modern culture. At all times and at all peoples art expressed aspiration to good, beauty and harmony. In spite of art language survives changes, its essential bases remain the same. We are open to dialogue, we need each other, we — that means the modern world which depends on us, and we must keep and transfer all the best we have to future generations.


  1. Г. А.Пугаченкова, Л. И. Ремпель. Очерки искусства Средней Азии. М., 1982.
  2. Каталог «Дети рисуют сказки» художественной выставки детских рисунков на темы народных сказок шести государств-членов ШОС. Пекин, 2005.
  3. Буклет «Народное живописное искусство провинции Фуцзянь».
  4. Буклет Министерства культуры Республики Таджикистан «Из глубины веков до наших дней».

Kamola Akilova