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Remembering Tuman Zhumabaev, Russian painter and lifelong admirer of Vietnam’s landscapes

Thursday, August 13, 2020, 21:00 GMT+7
Remembering Tuman Zhumabaev, Russian painter and lifelong admirer of Vietnam’s landscapes
Russian artist Tuman Zhumabaev is seen with a piece depicting Vietnam’s landscapes in this photo posted to his personal Facebook account.

Tuman Zhumabaev, one of Russia’s most prominent contemporary artists, passed away on August 7 at the age of 58, according to an announcement made on the Facebook account of his eponymous art gallery.

Zhumabaev was a well-known landscape and portrait artist, as well as a leading figure in Russia’s Impressionist art community.

Though his oeuvre has been compared to Rembrandt’s, his fans in Vietnam most appreciate his devotion to their country’s landscapes and people.

Born in a small Kyrgyz village, Zhumabaev later attended the Serov Art College and eventually the Repin Institute of Painting in St. Petersburg, Russia.

A portrait of late Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh painted by Tuman Zhumabaev is presented as a gift to Vietnam’s then-incumbent State President Tran Dai Quang (left) by Russian government representatives in this photo captured in 2017 and provided by Lilac gallery.

A portrait of late Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh painted by Tuman Zhumabaev is presented as a gift to Vietnam’s then-incumbent State President Tran Dai Quang (left) by Russian government representatives in this photo captured in 2017 and provided by Lilac Gallery.

His first solo exhibition was held in 1996 in Austria. He has since held over 30 solo exhibitions in cities throughout Russia, China, Poland, Hungary, France, Japan, Iran, Vietnam, and Australia.

Topping his résumé are two grand prize awards at the international art competition ‘Poppy Prairie’ held annually in Paris, France.

Zhumabaev’s collections can now be found in galleries all over the world, including the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg and the Lilac Gallery, a showroom dedicated to Russian painters in Hanoi.

Russian artist Tuman Zhumabaev (right) and Vo Van Thuong, head of the Central Party Committee's Propaganda and Education, stand in front of one of Zhumabaev’s paintings depicting late Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh, which was presented as a gift to the delegation of Vietnamese leaders during their visit to Russia in this photo captured on February 20, 2019 and provided by Lilac gallery.

Russian artist Tuman Zhumabaev (right) and Vo Van Thuong, head of the Central Party Committee's propaganda and education board, stand in front of one of Zhumabaev’s paintings depicting late Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh, which was presented as a gift to the delegation of Vietnamese leaders during their visit to Russia in this photo captured on February 20, 2019 and provided by Lilac Gallery.

Zhumabaev’s death was a heavy hit to the Vietnamese art community, many members of which held him in high esteem thanks to his dedication to showcasing Vietnam’s scenery and its people. 

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the two owners of the Lilac Gallery – now a married couple – were studying in Russia when they befriended Zhumabaev and were immediately charmed by his “compassionate, ineffable affection for Vietnam.”

Over the last 20 years, the Russian artist took annual trips to Vietnam to explore every nook and cranny of the Southeast Asian country.

He was particularly drawn to the lives of the nation’s working class and showed considerable affection for Hoan Kiem Lake and the Old Quarter in Hanoi.

A close-up snapshot of Tuman Zhumabaev posted to his Facebook account.

A close-up of Tuman Zhumabaev posted to his Facebook account

“I only realized much later that his meander throughout Vietnam was a means of recharging his creative energy and emotions to inspire his works. He painted over 70 pieces depicting Vietnam’s landscapes and people and held several Vietnam-themed exhibits in Russia. He is known in Russia as an artist with a prolific collection on Vietnam,” the owner of Lilac said.

Zhumabaev also put on a handful of exhibits in Vietnam, though they were not extensively promoted to the public.

Writer Le Thanh Minh, a long-time friend and former classmate of Zhumabaev, shared, “Among my classmates in the last standing years of the Soviet Union, he was the biggest Vietnam admirer that I knew of. He yearned to be able to talk with me in Vietnamese and to one day read books that I wrote.”

A self-portrait by Russian artist Tuman Zhuamabaev posted to his Facebook account.

A self-portrait by Russian artist Tuman Zhuamabaev posted to his Facebook account

Below are some photos by Russian artist Tuman Zhuamabaev depicting Vietnamese people and landscapes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Xuan Tung - Thien Dieu / Tuoi Tre News

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