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2017 †N11-12(152-153)
Annadurdy Almamedov nowadays is a venerable professional, a painter who has reached the heights in his favorite occupation. As is known, no one starts from scratch. Every artist has the origins, preferences and art style. "My work is associated with and inspired by the supply of the rich heritage of folk art and the art of great predecessors - founders of Turkmenistan's painting," the painter said.
Having imbibed the most valuable not only of national but also world painting, the painter created his own special world - the world of sunshine and joy, where Kindness and Faith in Man reign. Even his landscapes speak about the world of humans, such as reflections on people's lives, their happiness and meaning of human existence.
Feeling a strong calling for drawing since his childhood, he took a great interest in fine arts. In 1954, Almamedov entered the Turkmen State Art College in Ashgabat, where he finally came to conclusion that art was his vocation. A seventeen-year old boy, full of youthful hotheadedness, Almamedov studied under the guidance of excellent teachers, such as Pyotr Yershov, Leonid Shpaga, Aman Kuliyev, Muzafar Daneshvar, Pavel Popov, gradually improving his skills. Almamedov was one of those young men who knew exactly what they wanted. He did not feel lost in the vibrant life of the big capital. He made friends with classmates Vladimir Artykov, Shamukhamed Akmukhamedov and other students, like Durdy Bayramov, Kulnazar Bekmuradov, with whom he went shoulder to shoulder along the path of life and creative work.
Pyotr Yershov's artistic guidance played an important role in Almamedov's creative development. Being a responsive teacher and remarkable theater artist, Pyotr Yershov introduced him to the unique world of theatrical art.
Following his graduation from the school and wishing to deepen his knowledge of theatrical art, Annadurdy Almamedov entered the Ostrovsky Theater and Art Institute in Tashkent in 1959. In 1965, after the successful completion of his studies, he started working as chief painter at the Youth Theater that had just opened in Ashgabat and taught at the Turkmen State Art College concurrently. By the mid-1960s, the painter achieved great successes in theatrical and decorative arts.
Beginning the mid-1970s, it was easel painting, not theatrical art, that became a field of art in which his painting talent revealed itself. He created his individual language of picturesque expressiveness that enabled him to convey the emotional sensing of the world, the high pathos of citizenship, the heightened sense of Motherland and association with its fate. It was easel painting that elevated him to the ranks of leading contemporary artists.
The eighties of the last century were an eventful period in the painter's art career. He visited Afghanistan (1985), Syria (1987), Russia (1988, 1989) and exhibited his works in Kabul (1984), Ashgabat (1986, 1987), Moscow (1988, 1989). Both at home and abroad, the painter's works caught the eye with their truthfulness, emotional-temperamental painting and enriching "music of color." It is these characteristics of the master's works that were repeatedly noted by art workers in their speeches at the exhibitions of different years.
In the 1990s, Almamedov fruitfully worked in easel painting, with thematic picture and landscape becoming his favorite genres. His long fruitful work received wide recognition in Turkmenistan. He was awarded the titles of Honored Artist of Turkmenistan (1991), winner of Byashim Nurali Award of the Union of Artists of Turkmenistan (1997) and People's Artist of Turkmenistan (2009).
Almamedov continued his pedagogical work at the Department of Painting and Composition at the State Academy of Arts of Turkmenistan, where for many years he taught, educated and planted creative thinking in his students. The master brought up remarkable artists who made a significant contribution to the development of national painting.
Annadurdy Almamedov's works are noted for their cheerfulness, simplicity of interpretation and emotionality. On the surface, the painter's works may seem deliberately simple. They create an impression that the master diligently hid his strenuous efforts, wishing to make his works look spring-like easy and joyful. His paintings seem to have emerged spontaneously, and sometimes they look like successful improvisations. However, in reality they are the result of the long work, persistent search for the final original solution. The painter creates with his heart, following the measured and thorough preparation, training and discipline, to which he is subordinated, which allow him to follow his impulses.
Almamedov's paintings depict the major landmarks in the life of the people, the turning points of the people history and, leading to the present, explain and disclose the features of modern life. Almamedov's paintings give the impression of spontaneity and sincerity. They are characterized by the monumentality of forms, laconism of composition, sonority of colors that are natural to the principles of impressionism, post-impressionism, for they are filled with joy, optimism, sun and fireworks of light. With all this, they always retain expressiveness of the national pattern, and reflect the life of nature impressively and truthfully. The painter aims to reflect the inner tension of the human character and portray it in its action and movement. Such characters reflect the integrity of his nature, accepting life in its entirety and capable of rejoicing the gifts of life.
Looking at his paintings, it is important to emphasize the general trend in his works, which is the desire to become proficient in realism painting, express his perception of the time in which he lives, and convey his attitude to the world around him.
Almamedov's still life paintings with decorative features glorify the beauty and gorgeousness of the real world. It is this genre that the painter uses to clearly express his greater feelings and hopes, subtle shades of his soft and spontaneous manner of painting. As a rule, the topic of this or that still life depended not only on selection of the objects of painting but, first of all, on the artist's perception of such objects. Such perceptions give "human nature" to still-life. The painter's love of life, not the objects as such, is the leading idea of his still-life paintings. The everlasting feeling of the presence of a man and creator in the painter, not the owner of things, is an important feature of the master's still life paintings.
Flowers are the most intimate and favorite topic for the painter. He remains faithful to it throughout his work from early still life paintings to late landscapes. The images of flowers helped Almamedov as well as many other Turkmen painters to become original colorists, masters of expressive colors. His flowers convey the emotional mood, symbolizing joy and happiness of being. For example, poppies are the embodiment of the very tenderness and quivering, while lilac is the herald of spring and awakening of a new life. Wildflowers personify heartwarming feelings and hopes.
The passionate temperament and irrepressible imagination are marked very clearly in his works portraying nature. The master speaks sincerely about his love of the homeland's nature as a source of creative inspiration. "Since I was young, nature was mysterious and attractive to me. I liked to wander in the mountains and watch the clouds move and cover the mountains with mists, watch the sun rise and sun set and gardens blooming in the spring. Later on, nature became a source of creativity for me."
Whatever the way of painting his landscapes - from life, at the workshop or from memory, in any case he creates a picture, not a sketch, for he sees the nature as a whole that lives by its own laws, leaving no place for chance and impermanence.
Mountain landscapes present a brilliant page in the art biography of Annadurdy Almamedov. As is known, painters working in this genre are believed to be people of a particular quality, other-worldly, looking for some eternal truth, poeticizing the extreme antiquity. Starting with the first landscapes, admiring the proud and violent beauty, the grandeur and eternity of wild nature, the painter sought to see its hidden secrets. Almamedov's mountain landscapes appeal to the eye, for in each of them one can see the search for other new composition solutions that sharply emphasize the spatial relationships, the abundance of air, the state of the atmosphere and lighting. The painter more often opts for viewing things from the height; he loves abrupt dimensional minimizations that seem to pull viewers into the depths of space. The strict dynamic lines that make the contour of stone "giants" and, at the same time, the softness of color relationships allow us to see the great expanses, clear transparent distances cloaked in light and air.
The best easel paintings by Almamedov testify to the emotional enrichment of Turkmen art, its deeper and more impressive impact on viewers' feelings, thoughts and fantasies. The cheerful eighty-year-old master continues working hard and enthusiastically. He makes youthful jokes and laughs joyfully. He has fully preserved his remarkable ability to marvel at the richness and diversity of the surrounding world.
The works of the last decade of the period of creative maturity feature the acute freshness, warm perception of the world and lyricism. The painter creates the unique works, his own imaginative world with its own system, style and tasks. His art affirms humanity and sincerity.
The solo exhibition that took place in the autumn of 2017, timed to coincide with Annadurdy Almamedov's eightieth birthday, was evidence of his faithfulness to the vocation that he carried through many hardships and difficulties, and to his creative work that guarantees the fulfillment of his large-scale plans in the future.

Altyndzhemal BAYLYEVA

©Turkmenistan Analytic magazine, 2005