A stone for that monument to the great Kazakh playwright and his close associate poet Shangytbayev was laid in one of the squares on an Aktobe street that bears his name last September during the 31st National Festival of Theaters of Kazakhstan, dedicated to the 90th anniversary of Akhtanov.
The initiative to immortalize in bronze the two famous countrymen was advanced by representatives of Aktobe’s intelligentsia.
Akhtanov and Shangytbayev were inseparable friends and associates. Shangytbayev is known for his lyrical poetry and translations into Kazakh of the works of Omar Khayyam, Goethe, Heine, Musa Jalil and other classics of the East and the West. He was also awarded a special diploma from the Pushkin House in Moscow and an international award for the translation of “Eugene Onegin.” A lot of his poems were set into music and he is the author of plays and opera librettos.
The idea to honour in a single sculpture the two Kazakh national writers was supported by the Ministry of Culture and Information. Zhenis Zhubankos from Aktobe won the right to design the sculpture in a competition that attracted many of Kazakhstan’s famous artists and sculptors.
Regional authorities allocated 27 million tenge (US$174,599) for the monument. The monument was officially unveiled during a ceremony on New Year’s Eve attended by local officials, intellectuals, public figures and relatives of the writers.
Shangytbaev’s daughter Gauhar noted in her remarks at the ceremony that the Kazakhstan Ministry of Culture and Information had published a five-volume edition devoted to the literary heritage of her father.