Celebrating the Akhalteke Horse: A Diversity of Styles, Bright Ideas and an Intriguing Competition

The Academy of Arts is currently exhibiting in its gallery the works submitted for a competition for the best depiction of Akhalteke horses. The art contest is held every year to mark National Turkmen Horse Day.

150 teachers and students of the Academy have presented 200-plus works representing various media, such as painting, graphics, ceramics, sculpture, carpet making, and jewelry design. The competition’s underlying concept is to trace the role of Akhalteke horses in the Turkmen nation’s history and modern achievements through the prism of artistic interpretations. On display are paintings, carpets and tapestries depicting horses, equine sculptures and figurines in silver, bronze and ceramics…

Every year, before the exhibition opens, we wonder how artists will amaze us this time. And every year we discover artfully crafted works, admire creative ideas, a diverse array of artistic interpretations and great originality.

The winning artists and their works will be announced after the professional jury chooses the best work in each nomination. This allows visitors to the exhibition to rate the artworks in order of their individual preferences, trying to guess if they are looking at a creation of an accomplished or an emerging artist by analyzing their distinctive signature styles. We will see if views of the jury coincide with those of the viewers during the festivities, when the results of the competition are traditionally announced.

In my opinion, among the best works is a large-scale painting, which recalls a glorious chapter of medieval history of the Turkmens and portrays a brave military commander, who is determined to win, astride a slashing Akhalteke horse with its elegant build…

Another impressive work is a tapestry standing out with its sophisticated technique and perfectly balanced color palette. It depicts a graceful white Akhalteke, an Alabay puppy and snow-white doves amid the picturesque spring scenery, the azure sky stretching away to the horizon with the golden solar disk. The metaphorical plot symbolizes the aspiration for progress and creation, tolerance and amiability of the Turkmen nation. While working on the tapestry, the weaver used various techniques, including textured appliqués to create a 2D effect.

Each of the exhibited works combines reality, metaphors, love and admiration, impressions and associations. Paintings, graphic works, installations, arrangements, arts and crafts are seen as a unique collection and each item alone attracts its own viewer. Some of them are full of elevation and poetic spirit while others bring a smile to the viewer’s face, provoke philosophical thoughts, impress with soul-stirring revelations, create an aura of mystery, tell stories and educate…

Particularly notable is a truly poetic sculptural composition. It features a scene by a stream, where a girl has come to collect some water. Her sweetheart, mounted on a horse is waiting for her with the second horse … The girl’s doubts and hesitation, and supporting elements clearly reflect her inner struggles, her strong desire to be with the man she loves and the dread she feels at the thought of giving her parents great pain. Will she agree to run away? The stylized gapyz (a mouth musical instrument), whose shape is easily recognized in a huge tree, heightens the drama. The composition touches with its sincerity, and every detail is associated with Turkmen girls’ unique and distinctive singing, lyale.

One of the carpets on view at the exhibition reminds of the virtuosic individual style of People’s Artist of Turkmenistan Ada Gutlyev. An artist, who had created this remarkably beautiful work, perfectly blended two stories in a harmonious whole: an ode to carpets and an ode to Akhalteke horses. Woven from fine silk threads is a graceful Akhalteke horse with warm-hued Turkmen gol carpet motifs…

Well, we will have to wait until the results of the competition are released to learn the names of the artists, whose works we like best, and to be only pleased if our preferences exactly coincide with the professional judges’ opinions Source: EMBASSY OF TURKMENISTAN ROMANIA – BUCHAREST

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