Interview with Alexandr Povaev

Change log
Kovaeva, Bair 
Churyumov, Anton 

Alexandr was born in 1948 in the village of Podsosnovoe in Altaiskiy krai. Upon their return from Siberia the family settled in the village of Shin-Mer. In the beginning they lived in a dugout but later built a house. Alexandr’s grandfather was a saddler and made various implements (saddles, straps, etc.) from leather. After finishing Rostov art School, Alexandr worked in Shin-Mer for a year and moved to Elista on the recommendation of the Kalmyk artist Garri Rokchinskiy who saw Alexandr’s paintings when he was visiting the village. Alexandr held his first exhibition in 1975 which was dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the victory in World War II. In 1977, he became a member of the Union of artists. In the 1970s the overarching theme of his paintings were the family and kinship. ‘The family’ and ‘Self-portrait with Vera’ are two of his paintings from this series. Alexandr says that in the Soviet period not every topic was permitted and that artists usually painted families, workers, etc. In the 1980s Alexandr visited Mongolia along with two other Kalmyk painters, Urgadulov and Kikeev. In Mongolia Alexandr witnessed Oriental art and decided to himself that this style was close to his heart. The trip was a turning point in Alexandr’s artistic life in that he started doing Oriental paintings. Upon their return, the Kalmyk painters organized exhibitions in Kalmykia and Moscow. Alexandr paints nature and portraits. Inspiration comes to him from many sources. He has more than 1,000 paintings to his name. He did his first portrait of Chingis Khan in 1993. Since then he has produced more than 10 works on this topic. He also painted the Kalmyk Ayuka Khan during whose time the Kalmyk Khanate reached its zenith. The paintings that Alexandr shows are as follows: Mao Zedong depicted in the background of the Buddha of Longevity. A painting called ‘The three jewels’ depicting the Buddha, Sangha and Dharma. A painting called ‘Yin and Yang’. A painting called ‘A woman is resting in the steppe’. ‘A meeting’, ‘Horses’, and ‘The Amazons, warrior women’ are other paintings of his. Alexandr contends that every person sees and interprets his paintings in their own ways. He also says that he often uses the Oirat script in his paintings.

art, Garri Rokchinskiy, painters, exhibition, oriental, Oirat
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Sponsored by Arcadia Fund, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin.