On 27th November 2020, the British-Uzbek Society, with the support of the Embassy of Uzbekistan in London and Dentons company, organised an online talk on Patron of the Central Asian Orientalist School of Arts and its Treasures: An Insider’s View, presented by Marinika Babanazarova. Marinika is an art historian, Director Emeritus of Savitsky Museum in Nukus (1984-2015), Deputy Chairman of the Community Council of the Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Culture and Chevalier of Order of Arts and Literature of France. Her lecture was dedicated to the collections of the State Museum of Arts of Karakalpakstan named after Igor Savitsky (1915-1984), the famous founder and the first Director of the Museum, which later became the world famous “Louvre in the Desert”.

As Marinika Babanazarova noted, the Savitsky Museum, founded in 1966 in Nukus, is currently one of the most visited cultural sites in Uzbekistan. The collection of the Museum comprises over 90 thousand items. The archaeological collection has more than 9 thousand items in the main fund and 32.5 thousand in the scientific auxiliary fund. The section of fine arts in the Museum’s collection consists of three subsections: the art of Uzbekistan in the 1920s and 1930s, the art of Russia in the 20th century and the modern art school of Karakalpakstan, which numbers over 7732 pieces of paintings, 25896 pieces of graphics and 1338 sculptures.

The Museum’s pride is the famous collection of paintings by such artists as Volkov, Tansykbayev, Ufimtsev, Usto Mumin, Korovai, Popov and other masters – representatives of so-called Turkestan avant-garde.

The documentary “The Desert of Forbidden Art”, which tells the story of Igor Savitsky, played a significant role in the popularisation of the Museum abroad. The US documentary filmmakers have been working on this film for 7 years.  Release of the film in 2011 caused a wide international resonance that brought people from all over the world to Savitsky Museum.

The recognition of the great role of the Museum in the development of the cultural, economic and tourism potential of the country is evidenced by the fact that the Museum is a participant in many international programs and the place of visits for many prominent international figures in politics, culture and arts.

The online international audience received Marinika’s talk with great interest, leading to a very lively discussion and a number of interesting questions. Marinika proved once again to be the best expert on Savitsky Museum’ collections as well as the life and legacy of the famous founder of the Museum.

For video recording of the talk, please follow the BUS Society you-tube channel.