Patron of the Central Asian Orientalist School of Arts and its Treasures: An Insider’s View

27th November, Friday, 1.00PM – 2.30 PM (London time)/6.00 PM – 7.30 PM (Tashkent time)


Marinika Babanazarova is an art historian, Director Emeritus of the Savitsky Museum in Nukus (1984-2015), Deputy Chairman of the Community Council of the Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Culture, Chevalier of Order of Arts and Literature of France.

Marinika is the disciple and successor of Igor Savitsky (1915-1984), the famous founder and the first Director of the State Museum of Arts of the Republic of Karakalpakstan in Nukus (Uzbekistan). She knew Savitsky since her early childhood as he was a close friend of Marinika’s family.

Marinika has a degree in English Language and Literature (Tashkent University) and degree in the History of Art (Tashkent Art Institute). Her degree thesis was dedicated to Savitsky’s biography, which she then developed into the monograph ‘Igor Savitsky. Artist, Collector, Museum Founder’, published in London in 2009. The monograph has been translated into four languages – English, French, Italian and German.

She dedicated 31 years of her working life to leading and developing Savitsky Museum, raising it to international standards and turning it into the world-famous art institution that it is today. Marinika has curated more than 60 exhibitions that took place in Uzbekistan and abroad. She has authored over 30 catalogues and albums promoting the Museum’s collections and raising awareness of its outstanding artworks amongst the global art networks. Marinika is a prolific writer having published her articles in La Revue Russe n° 53 (2019), the anthology on Living Memory: Stalinism in Kazakhstan (Almaty 2019), The Avant-garde Aborted Hastily (Leningrad 1989).

Marinika receives regular invitations as the speaker, consultant and expert on the Uzbek and Central Asian art. She is an active participant of international conferences, seminars and webinars, always continuing the legacy of Savitsky and spreading the word about the Savitsky Museum’s collections.


In her talk, Marinika Babanazarova will introduce the story of Savitsky Museum – ‘one of the best art museums of the world” (according to The Guardian and The Telegraph) – and explain the reasons of its incredible popularity on the world art scene. She will share images of some famous paintings out of the 100 000 artefacts kept in the Museum’s repositories and exhibited collections, revealing some fascinating facts and insightful stories behind these artworks.

Her talk will mainly focus on the collection of paintings representing the so-called avant-garde, with special reference to its Orientalist part, or the so-called Turkestan avant-garde as it relates to the Uzbek School of Art in the 1920-1930s. It will include the works of Usto Mumin, Ural Tansykbaev, Alexander Volkov, Mikhail Kurzin and Nikolay Karakhan.

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