Karakalpakstan, located on the shores of Amydarya and Syrdarya rivers, is a special place on earth that spans boundless expanses of Kyzylkum desert and Ustyurt plateau. Since olden days, Karakalpak people have been thought of as creative nation. Buildings, boats, carts, yurts, musical instruments and archaeological finds discovered in the Karakalpak land have still not lost their value. Creative personalities such as Vladimir Karkalpakov, Isak-mulla, Kazi Maulik and Aleke-zargar who were the founders of Karakalpak national fine art, serve as examples for the current generation of artists and sculptors.

In 1972 following the initiative of Kadyrbai Saipov, one of the first national artists, an organizational committee was created for the purpose of establishing the Union of Artists of Karakalpakstan. Igor Savitskiy and Faim Madgazin were once its members. Aginbai Allamuratov who holds the degree of Candidate in art history was elected chairman of the Karakalpakstan Union of Artists, and artist Rafael Matevosyan was appointed academic secretary of this institution.

The opening of the Karakalpak branch of the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan further encouraged our artists. This year, artist Zhollybai Izentaev and sculptor and artist Zholdasbek Kutlymuratov became academicians of the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan. In 1997 the Karakalpak state lyceum/boarding school of fine and applied arts was created.

This enabled gifted boys and girls from towns and villages of the republic to be educated in different areas of art, and to give new facets to the Karakalpak traditional craftsmanship and fine arts. Works by students such as Sabyrbek Saidbekov, Anifa Artykova and Bakhtiyar Serekeyev were displayed at the exhibitions «Uzbekistan is My Homeland», «Holland — Uzbekistan: Let’s Be Friends», «Shankar — India», «Do You Know Japan?». Student Anifa Artykova received the National Zulfia Award.

Following the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Uzbekistan, «Children’s Art — 2000» festival was held. Colourful catalogue titled «Children’s Art» was published in Karakalpak and English languages.

In 1999, at an exhibition «This is Our Common Dear Motherland» organized by «Tasviriy Oina» and held in Tashkent, the work by Islam Zhaksybaev «Alty kyz» was rated number one.

In August 2001 the exhibition hall of the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan, Tashkent, housed an exhibition of Karakalpak artists and craftsmen titled «Contemporary Karakalpak Art». It displayed 197 items. At the entrance to the Central Exhibition Hall a traditional Karakalpak yurt was installed. Guests were greeted by renowned masters of arts: K. Serzhanov, M. Sapaeva, B. Sirimbetov and M. Sultanbaeva who performed a concert. For the active participation in the exhibition sculptor Zholdasbek Kutlymuratov was awarded gold medal of the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan, artist Zhollybai Izentaev received silver medal, and artists S. Baibasynov and A. Shpade received the Academy of Arts Diplomas.

Every year the exhibitions of Karakalpak artists’ work are held to mark the new year — Navruz, the Day of Creative Workers (April 21) and Independence Day of Uzbekistan celebrated on the 1st of September.

In December 2003 and January 2004 took place a final exhibition held in the framework of a contest «The Problems of Aral — The Problems of People» organized by the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, the Karakalpak branch of the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan and Nukus office of the International Foundation for Aral Sea (IFAS). The exhibition displayed 86 works. Sculptor Daribai Toreniyazov was ranked number one with his sculpture named «The Girl Picking the Fruit».

In 2004 artist S. Baibasynov participated in a master-class for young artists from Central Asia that took place in Austria. Upon completion of the master-class he presented his works at an exhibition.

In December 2005 Karakalpak artists together with design artists Prostant and Herbert were engaged in creative work during two weeks. Together they held master-classes for students and pupils at the exhibition hall of the Karakalpak branch of the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan, at the KKTASLI and at Nukus Pedagogical Institute.

B. Serekeyev. Runing Saiga. Canvas, oil.
In May-June 2005 artist Zhollybai Izentaev stayed in Paris to gather material for creative work. During this period he created works such as «Paris at Morn», «Visitors of Notre Dame», «The Bank of River Seine», «Bridge over Seine». On June 15-25 in the art gallery of Hotel de Ville in Paris Izentaev presented a personal exhibition called «Paris in the Eyes of Karakalpak Artist».

In July-August 2005 the exhibition hall of the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan hosted an exhibition of four artists called «The Epoch in Colour». The exhibition displayed works by Academician Izentaev, art worker of Karakalpakstan B. Serekeyev, S. Baibasynov who was warded Shukhrat medal, and artist U. Saparov.

In August-September 2005 three representatives from Uzbekistan participated in the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Republic of Vietnam. One of them, the people’s artist of Uzbekistan, Academician Z. Izentaev created a number of works that reflect the life of Vietnamese people.

The fifteenth anniversary of independence of Uzbekistan that is dear to us, and the tenth anniversary since the establishment of the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan were celebrated by all people, including, naturally, the artists. Pupils, students, teachers and pedagogue-artists of the KKTASLI, the Nukus State College of Arts, the Nukus State College of Culture and the Department of Drawing and Design of the Nukus State Pedagogical Institute assign great importance to these dates. For instance, KKTASLI and the Nukus College of Arts held several exhibitions dedicated to the celebration of independence.

For the purpose of demonstrating the works by Karakalpak masters of art a number of booklets, posters and magazines are published. Among them booklets titled «The Karakalpak Branch of the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan», «The 60th Anniversary of Academician Zhollybai Izentaev», «Sculptor, Academician Zholdasbek Kutlymuratov Turns 70», «Artist Bazarbai Serekeyev Turns 60» and «The People’s Artist of Uzbekistan and Chief Designer of the Berdakh Musical Theatre Islam Alibekov Turns 60». Also they printed posters called «Karakalpak Artists» and «Karakalpak Artists — 2». In cooperation with the Ministry for Culture and Sports of the Republic of Karakalpakstan a colour journal «Saniyat» is produced.

The Karakalpakstan artist strive to be known in the world. Their achievements and contribution are valued at their true worth by our government. Kadyrbai Saipov, Igor Savitskiy, Kauyender Berdimuratov, Muzaffar Ishanov, Faim Madgazin, Kadyrbai Nazhimov, Muratbai Khudaibergenov and Daribai Toreniyazov received state awards. Zhollybai Izentaev, Zholdasbek Kutlymuratov, Bazarbai Serekeyev, Farkhad Yesengaliev and Barlykbai Aitmuratov hold the State Berdakh Award of the Republic of Karakalpakstan. Bakbergen Nurymbetov, Amangeldy Utegenov, Ibrayim Zholymbetov (Aman Atabaev), Rafael Matevosyan, Nikolai Kornilov, Albina Shpade, Sakhi Zhanakhmedov, Gulistan Turdymuratova, Ismayil Kadyrov, Zhollybai Izentaev, Zholdasbek Kutlymuratov and Barlykbai Aitmuratov hold the title of art workers of Uzbekistan and Karakalpakstan.

Artist Zhenis Lepesov received the title of Honorary Youth Mentor of Uzbekistan; Bazarbai Serekeyev was awarded the Dustlik Order; and artists Zhaksybai Tolegenov and Sarsenbai Baibasynov received the Shukhrat Medal.
Creators such as Uzakbergen Saparov, Zholdas bekanov, Islam Zhakybaev, Abdulla Yerimbetov, Zhaksybai Tolegenov, Azhibai Kurbanbaev, Iskhakh Mukhitov, Begimkhan Togyzbaev, Darmenbai Pirnazarov, Azat Seitimbetov and Sarsenbai Baibasynov make their contribution to the development of Karakalpak fine arts.

The works of young talented artists Vasiliy Zhaparov, Darmenbai Pirnazarov, Viktor Khalimanov, Ainabai Nurzhanov, Nursultan Sharipov, Adilbek Khozhaev, Koishibai Toremuratov, Zharylkagan Izentaev and Myrzabek Kazakbaev were displayed at exhibitions in Tashkent and abroad, which we are proud of.
In 1997 in the regions of Uzbekistan and in the Republic of Karakalpakstan lyceums/boarding schools of fine and applied art were opened. Students from our lyceum/boarding school took part in international contests such as «Children’s Art, Washington 2000», «Holland — Uzbekistan: Let’s Be Friends», «Japan — Glorifying the Sea», «India — Shankar» and became prize-winners. The winner of the international show-contest «India — Shankar» Saidbek Sabyrbaev earned the right to enter a university without examinations. Anifa Atykova, while still a lyceum student, received the State Zulfia Award. Now she is a student of the National Institute of Art and Design named after Bekhzad.

Our artists actively participate in exhibition contests held on the occasion of Navruz, the New Year, and the Independence Day of the Republic of Uzbekistan, as well as in the exhibitions called «The Aral Sea in the Eyes of the Artists», «The Problems of Aral — The Problems of People», «Berdakh’s Birthday», «Adzhiniyaz Birthday» and Tashkent biennale.

The exhibition hall of the Karakalpak branch of the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan has been completely redesigned. Exhibitions of Karakalpak artists’ works were a success in Nukus, Tashkent and in the number of art galleries abroad. For example, during the years of independence personal exhibitions of the People’s Artist of Uzbekistan, Academician Zhollybai Izentaev were held in the galleries of Yugoslavia, Egypt and Moscow City.

A young artist Zharylkagan Izentaev, while doing his studies at the Bekhzad Institute after receiving a grant from the President of Uzbekistan, went to study at the arts academy of Como city in Italy. Now he teaches at the institute where he once studied.

From the bottom of my heart I congratulate artists with the tenth anniversary of the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan.

J. Kuttymuratov in the Studio.
The Artist’s Day at the Central Exhibition Hall. Nukus. 2006.

Zhollybai Izentaev