Visual Arts News Desk
4 June, 2013
The Russian American Foundation is pleased to present The Nomad, Memory of the Future, the largest exhibition in the United States of works by Dashi Namdakov, a renowned Buryat artist and sculptor. Curated by Marina Kovalyov, the exhibition will be on view June 16-30, 2013 at the National Arts Club and will feature over 60 pieces including bronze sculptures, graphic art and jewelry. The exhibition will showcase the artist’s extraordinary craftsmanship and highly original style, which blends visual art traditions and techniques of the East and the West. The Namdakov exhibition will be part of the 11th Annual Russian Heritage Month, a celebration of events and exhibits highlighting Russian culture.
Dashi Namdakov is one of the most original voices in contemporary Russian art. Born in 1967, in Transbaikal, the borderlands between Russia and Mongolia, and trained as a sculptor at the Krasnoyarsk Academy of Fine Arts, Dashi had his first solo exhibition in Irkutsk in 2000. Dashi’s sculptures, graphic and jewelry pieces have been exhibited in solo and group shows internationally, including The State Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow, Russia), Beijing World Art Museum (China), Grand Palais (Paris, France) and Tibet House in New York, NY. One of a few living artists to have had a solo exhibition in The State Hermitage (St. Petersburg, Russia) Dashi also has art works in this prestigious museum’s permanent collection. His work is in the personal collections of the German Chancellor Mr. G. Shroeder, the family of Uma Thurman, Willie Nelson, and many other collectors worldwide.
Brought up in a culture where Buddhist religion and Shamanic mythology intertwine, Dashi draws the inspiration for his creative output from Buddhist imagery and subjects, the traditions of the Turkic peoples of Siberia, the Buryat epic legends and tales, and the ancient art of China and Japan. Dashi’s world, populated by warriors and horsemen, Buddhist lama priests and Siberian shamans, totemic animals and mythological creatures, is traditional by its roots, but at the same time very modern by its world outlook and mentality.
The unique blend of traditions is especially prominent in the artist’s jewelry, which is well represented in the New York exhibition. Sculptural and delicate, his jewelry pieces resemble historical artifacts. He balances both traditional and non-traditional materials, such as silver, gold and mammoth tusk, in one piece, finishing it with colorful precious stones. Evocative of ancient amulets and talismans thought to bring luck or defend from evil, the artist’s wild birds and animals, insects and anthropomorphic creatures have a distinctly unique style and, despite their sculptural quality, are comfortable to wear. Dashi’s treatment of precious stones is often unorthodox-for example, he often uses cut diamonds, setting them deep in the material for a cloisonné effect instead of raising a stone above its setting to bring out the play of light. But stones are not precious in and of themselves for the artist: they are merely a material used to convey the artistic imagery envisioned by him and allowing for the figures to come to life.
Marina Kovalyov and her daughter Rina Kirschner founded the Russian American Foundation (RAF) in 1997. Its mission is to encourage interest in and understanding of Russian heritage among all communities in the US, as well as to promote reciprocal interest in and understanding of American heritage among global Russian-speaking communities.
Some of the Russian American Foundation’s nationally and internationally acclaimed initiatives include the Annual Russian Heritage Month, Annual Battles on Ice Hockey Matches, the Annual Bolshoi Ballet Academy Youth Program, the Moscow Arts Festival on Broadway and many more.
The Honorable Michael A. McFaul, US Ambassador to Moscow, recently stated, “The Russian American Foundation’s continued contributions to cultural, educational, and sports programs in the United States and Russia help foster greater understanding between the people of the United States and the Russian Federation.”