Born in 1946 - Tashkent, Uzbekistan
1966 - 1972 - P. Benkov School of Art in Tashkent
1966 - 1972 - Moscow's State Institute of Cinematography
Javlon Umarbekov is one of the most significant Uzbek artists of the burgeoning era of Central Asian art. Born in 1946 and studying first at P.Benkov School of Art in Tashkent and later Moscow’s State Institute of Cinematography from 1966-1972, Javlon Umarbekov is an artist whose virtuoso and original skill combines distinctive elements of Uzbek culture with the best that has been achieved in Russian and Western European art.
Javlon Umarbekov is an artist who became a classic of national visual arts while still alive. And this is not due to the numerous awards and titles he has received but because his art is of substantial value to the spiritual culture of modern-day Uzbekistan.
In the beginning of 1970s, Umarbekov was already a phenomenon to be reckoned with. He strode into the art scene with his paintings “My friend”, “Husein Bukhara and Alisher Navoi in their Childhood”, bold ventures into what were, for that time, revolutionary paradigms of plasticity and concept in visual art. His subsequent well-known and important paintings such as “Homo Sapiens” and “I am Human” became key turning points in the history of twentieth century Uzbek visual arts.
Since these works gave him the status of Maitre d’Art. Umarbekov could well have continued developing this successful technique; instead, however, he continued to innovate. In the beginning of the 1990’s we see a cardinal change in Umarbekov’s painting. There is not merely a change in style, there is also a shift in the semantics and tonal register of his motifs and images. He creates paintings which are extraordinary in their plasticity and enchanting in their colours: metaphorical, carnival, ironic and grotesque. The display intimacy, a deeply humane spectrum of moods and feelings, and are characteristic of his latest discoveries in the dynamics of painting.
This bright and impressive later period in Javlon Umarbekov’s creativity does not, however, cancel out his previous achievements. Quite the opposite; it bears witness to his creative enthusiasm and intense, ongoing search for new concepts, ideas and stylistic techniques relevant to the times.
Javlon Umarbekov is a leading light in contemporary visual arts. Steeped in the rich historical and cultural traditions of Uzbekistan, his works reflects our nation’s artistic heritage but also draws inspiration from cultural links between East and West.
In Umarbekov’s work, we see history through the actions of its protagonists: the people who lived during the times Umarbekov depicts. Umarbekov shows us their fate, the greatness of creation, and humanity’s place within that creation. His paintings are about life, the soul’s eternal life, about joys and sorrows, hopes and despairsm and – of course – about love. Each of his pieces is a parable conveying the artist’s deep, philosophical message.
Yes, Javlon Umarbekov’s work is a testament to his craftsmanship, his outstanding skill as an artist, but it also bears witness to his lively, imaginative ideas, ideas which come to life through his subjects: real people, and his native land. And through these images we can see the truth about our times and our people.