24 september 2020

Central Asia news

Pomegranate Zeal premiere in Ilhom, Tashkent

12.10.2006 10:26 msk

Andrei Kudryashov (Tashkent)

Arts Uzbekistan

Photo by Ferghana.Ru
Ilhom began his 13th season with a project that combined an exhibition of the legendary Usto Mumin's paintings with Pomegranate Zeal, a play of the past and the artist's fate.

The company itself views the play as particularly important because its first night coincided with the 140th anniversary of the New Tashkent when the ancient Oriental city began a transformation into the modern city that it now is. Ilhom itself will be celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. This theater brought up several generations of the art elite of Uzbekistan.

The works by Usto Mumin (Alexander Nikolayev) are also present in the play whose authors nevertheless deny the intention to depict his actual life story. What they tried to convey is the atmosphere of the era and its effect, magnificent or fatal, on the talent.

Little is known about Usto Mumin. Kazimir Malevich's pupil, he stood for suprematism - an avant garde trend in Russian painting on the threshold of the 20th century. There is no saying what brought him to Turkestan but in 1920 he did surface in Samarkand and then moved to Tashkent where he changed the paradigm of his art - and his life - forever.

Immersed in the wondrous world of Orient, Nikolayev began studying traditional arts and embraced Islam. His pupils gave him a new name. To them, he became Usto Mumin which stands for Modest or Humble Master. It was the earnest respect for the legacy of the ancient culture and complete immersion in the life of the people that made Usto Mumin one of the founders of modern school of Uzbek painting. His own lot in the meantime was fairly dramatic, his inner life a mystery.

"I only have the visible world where love and eternity are reached but infrequently," said the artist in the very first scene of the play. A civilian employee of the garrison of the Russian colonial army, he donned the parandja as a joke experienced a heartfelt desire to disappear from the world as he had known it in order to become a devout observer living in the pomegranate garden near the chaikhana or tea house.

Monologues, dynamic scenes using documents dated 1916 and 1917, choreography by David Russiv, theme by Artyom Kim, and scenography by Bobur Islailov create an impressive drama that had best be left to theater critics. As for the audience, it saw that their favorite theater in its jubilee year took a step to some new phase of its development - and probably to something wholly unknown.

//Ferghana.Ru news agency