ASTANA – Painter Anara Abzhanova, one of the country’s 100 New Faces, recently won the Recognition Prize at the Palm Art Award 2017 in Germany. Her paintings, mostly highlighting the country’s natural beauty and breathtaking views, are popular among art lovers worldwide.
A talented girl with a hearing impairment, Abzhanova became famous for her own style and mastery. She depicts the world the way her heart sees it.
“I’d like to present my country through painting. My three pictures about my native land were exhibited at the contest. I chose these paintings as a source of inspiration,” she said in an interview for this story.
Abzhanova knew she would be an artist since childhood.
“I was born and have been living in Almaty. There’s a lot of interesting and mysterious things in each picture. One of the pictures, Landscape of Almaty. February at Noon, depicts the city’s warm and fresh landscape. Two and three-storied buildings convey the spirit of the old city with its tranquillity and plethora of trees. I aimed to show the city streets and atmosphere that is always variable depending on the weather and time of day. The trees in the foreground ‘talk to each other’ and they have a different character, which was conveyed with an expressive image of the trunk and branches,” she said.
The painter received her first award as a student in 2011 at the Art Curated Classic September Prize in Chile. The honour inspired her to further her creativity.
“I understand that I am a person with physical limitations, but my opportunities are limitless. When I draw a picture, my thoughts closely connect with my emotions and my heart,” she said.
Abzhanova teaches at the Zhurgenov Kazakh National Academy of Arts.
“Students are glad to work with me. They fully understand me. We communicate using gestures and they can read my lips. We have many gifted young people. I want to present their works at the world exhibition,” she said.
“My art educator, Alexey Utkin, opened the world of art to me. I am so thankful to have such a good teacher. At first I painted very badly, but my teacher was strict and improved my painting skills. Despite some financial difficulties, I started to attend painting classes because Utkin told my mother that I have a talent. I promised myself to become a painter and make my mother happy,” she added.
Abzhanova’s husband, Timur Israilov, accompanies her during business trips as a sign language interpreter. She noted she has learned a lot from him.
“He’s kind-hearted and always supports me,” she said.
Abzhanova’s favourite subjects are Almaty and the capital, nature, mountains, steppes, canyons and flowers.
“A mountain landscape with poppies is a quite large canvas painting. Despite the inspiration, the work required a lot of time. I tried to create an image of the natural world with majestic mountain peaks. Magically fascinating sunlight amazes me so much. There was a tremendous creative satisfaction,” she noted.
The painter sincerely believes that everyone who sees the painting can feel her positive emotions, joy of life and admiration of nature, its beauty and perfection. She especially admires winter illustrations.
“I adore the picture titled Snowiness. An abundance of shades of blue makes this work attractive at first sight. I started to draw it in January 2015 and it was ready in five months. The canvas depicts a winter landscape in all its beauty and charms. I wanted to convey my feelings from what I saw – the special state of purity and the loftiness of the winter morning. I still enjoy watching. This painting is in the National Museum collection in Astana. I received the Leonardo Da Vinci – The Universal Artist International Prize for this work of art on Jan. 20,” she said.
Last year, Abzhanova was appointed Kazakh “Ambassador to the World Art Academia,” a French association.
“I want to introduce people to our culture and arts. There’s a lot of work to do. It is a big responsibility, too. I plan to organise exhibitions to popularise Kazakh art abroad, to promote our culture among foreigners and to support our artists in cooperation with other members of the academy,” she added.
The painter intends to organise a solo exhibition in the spring.
“I want to create a series of pictures united by several themes including light of nature, 100 landscapes of Astana, 100 landscapes of Almaty and flowers of life dedicated to my daughter, Alua, and my mother. I want to make our women happy on this day,” she said.
Some people describe her works as ‘fabulously realistic.’ As for the artist, she tries to depict natural colour combinations in sunlight. To her, the sun bestows life as the source of beauty.
Abzhanova’s works are in private collections in France, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Russia, Switzerland, Turkey and the U.S.
“The authorship of my pictures is certified by a handwritten certificate. I am currently looking for my own art dealer, which will help promote my work abroad. Of course, I would like to open a workshop for people with hearing problems and for others, too. To be an artist means to cultivate your creative life. A true artist should remember that he or she with the desire to create is the most valuable thing. You have to learn to create ‘your own’ pictures. Most importantly, listen to your heart; it never cheats you,” she said.
Abzhanova’s paintings are available for purchase at www.anaraartist.faso.com/works.