Many young artists educated in the capital city universities always return to their native ground in belief that it is hard to do art being far away from the creative environment. Naturally, this assumption is fundamentally wrong, as life experience has demonstrated. Lately, many artists who live in the provinces, working prolifically, have become known both at home and abroad. Among them are the masters of brush such as Otakhon Olloberganov (Khorezm), Er-kin Juraev, Bakhodir Salomov, Muzaffar Abdullaev, Ze-limkhan Saijanov (Bukhara), Asliddin Isaev, Nuriddin Kal-anov, Turkman Esanov (Samarqand), Academician Jollibai Isentaev, SarsinbekBoibusinovJoldasbekKuttimurodov (Kar-akalpakstan) and many others.

In 2006 the title of the People’s Artist of Uzbekistan was conferred to Nizomiddin Khalikov, an artist from Andijan. For his personal exhibition held in Tashkent Khalikov presented works that enchanted the audience with the richness of palette, the diversity of genre and artistic mastery of their author.

Art historians noticed the works of this artist as early as in the 1970s. Art historian R. Taktash noted: «Gradually, Khalikov is bringing his skill to a higher level and reaches greater confidence and expressivity in his engravings. From the very start the content of his linocuts has been filled with the spirit of national character. Khalikov is drawn towards major subjects and epochal events…» Khalikov’s drawings, particularly book illustrations and easel drawings, occupy a special place in the pictorial art of Uzbekistan. A series of works inspired by the poetry of Alisher Navoi shows that the artist has thoroughly studied the heritage of the great poet and thinker. The most remarkable of these works is a drawing based on the poem «Saddi Iskandari». A linocut titled «Navoi among His Students» can be regarded as an artistic reflection of the author’s admiration of the work of the greatest teacher. To achieve the set objective and express feelings harboured in the depths of his creative mind the artist employs different techniques. His lithograph «Skylark», linocuts «Spring-time», «The Guiding Star» and «The Orzu Chairman», etchings inspired by the works of Mukimi, and illustrations to E. Vakhidov’s poem «The Call» are characterized with completeness, compositional precision, vivid characters and the revelation of the peculiarities of human psychology.

Khalikov’s watercolour «Tillaboev» gives the viewer an opportunity to see the image of a person of an unusual character, wrapped in deep thought.

A special place in the artist’s work is given to the illustrations for Uzbek folk tales. His works that are as mysterious as the world of fairy tales show different multicolour images and landscapes performed in fine strokes. From the first sight they mesmerize the viewer and carry him into this world of wonder.

The amateurs of pictorial art with great interest attended the artist’s personal exhibition housed in the Central Exhibition Hall in Tashkent in 1998. Along with the graphic works, the exhibition also displayed his paintings. Remarkably, in Khalikov’s recent works created in the genre of painting one can see the colour harmony that is typical of embroidery and traditional costume of Fergana Valley, specifically of Andijan. And this, naturally, is not by chance. Folk art has always been a source of inspiration for many artists. The colouring of the historical costumes of Andijan is dominated by soft peach colour, light-yellow, light-green and pink shades; quite remarkable are the unique and original solutions for colour combinations which Khalikov was able to masterfully employ in his works («The Bride», «Zainab», «Kumush», «The Three Girlfriends», «The Portrait of Mother»).

Perhaps nowadays — the time of rapidly developing new technology — a lyrical and romantic person may seem a bit strange, but to a contemporary with soul overflowing with dreams these qualities give the essential strength and inspiration. These are the qualities that the artist aims to show in his pictures («The Dervish», «Evening», «The White Steed», «Day and Night», «Autumn in Shakhimardan», «The Mountain Pass»). In these pictures the artist does not portray the reality in small detail. What charms the viewer is the power of attraction emanating from vague shapes and colour range.

Inspired by the poetry of his fellow countryman, a famous poet Chulpan, Khalikov created a number of works in which wonderful imagery in the loot’s verses took the shape of beautiful landscapes. Chulpan’s poems «The Spring Flower», «Binafshe», «I Took the Saz in My Hands Again», and «Mysteries» celebrate human feelings and emotions, the person’s love of life and nature. They also speak of contrasting natural appearances such as light and darkness, summer and winter, spring and autumn. All that exists — Cosmos, the Sun, the Earth, the mountains, the Moon and stars, masterfully poeticized by Chulpan, excite human emotions and call for philosophical contemplations. In the works inspired by the verses of his favourite poet, the artist managed to reveal his thoughts («The Beautiful Fairies», «The Homeland of the Alpomyshes», «Dawn», «When the Pomegranate Blossoms», «The Holy Spring», «Chodak»).

The thematic range of the artist is rich and diverse. The works such as «The Portrait of Mother», «The Portrait of Father», «Recalling My Father», and «The Song, or Mukham-mad Yusuf» are filled with sadness and longing for his nears and dears. Historical themes are not characteristic of the artist. However, canvases such as «Amir Temur» and «Feruz, the Son of Mukhammad Rakhim» make one realize that Khalikov ascribes great significance to historical costumes and their details and aspires to a truthful creation and depiction of the images of historical characters.

The artist often makes creative journeys. Gilon village located in Kashkadarya Province at the foothills of Hissar mountains has long since attracted the attention of artists. In 2007 the Central Exhibition Hall even housed a reporting exhibition under the same name — «Gilon». Unlike other artists, Khalikov created his pictures dedicated to Gilon using half-tints. In the Gilon landscapes one can feel the expanse and the vastness of land. The viewer gets the feeling of being present there, in the world of the glory and beauty of nature. Khalikov’s canvases «Autumn in Shakhimardan», «Chodak», «Arslonbob» and «The Mountain Pass» give truly romantic idea about marvellous landscapes of Fergana Valley.

The artist’s pictures such as «Kurash», «Bazaar» and «Confession», through vivid and juicy colours, portray the scenes from the life of the Fergana Valley inhabitants and their attitude to nature. Presently, Nizomiddin Khalikov works productively in his native Andijan and considers himself blessed with being born in this wonderful city, which, according to him, is one of the gems in the beautiful Fergana Valley.

Binafsha Nodir