Original article in PDF

March/April 2013

Having a painting is not the most important thing, it is more important to understand it.

6 for web(1)

A ballet dancer and a model in the past and a restaurateur at present, Makpal is writing a book about cooking, and heads the Sports Dance Federation of the Republic of Kazakhstan. With her contribution, for the first time in the history of competitive ballroom dancing, Kazakhstan was ranked second in the world championships. A successful Star Dances project was launched, thanks to which hundreds of adults and children wanted to take up dancing.

However, we won’t talk about Makpal’s achievements and plans today. She will appear in a different role for our readers as a collector of paintings.

Makpal is the President of the Sports Dance Federation of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

When I studied at the Almaty Choreographic School, besides dancing, we were taught fine arts, philosophy, history of theater and culture, world literature and music. But it was actually my family that promoted a love for the arts, not my alma mater. I remember how my father often went to Moscow while working on his scientific research. He took me with him to show me the Tretyakov Gallery or the Hermitage in Leningrad. Once we went to the Arbat, and while we strolled along it from one end to the other buying paintings, we spent all our money. That upset my mother. As a practical person, she really hoped that we would bring some hard-to-find things from the capital, but instead our bags were filled with paintings by Soviet artists. My mother scolded us about it for a long time.

Nothing is accidental in life. Maybe it was my love of arts that somehow influenced me to marry a son of the famous Kazakh artist Taboniyaz, a member of the Artists Union of the USSR. His paintings are in the A. Kasteyev State Museum of Arts of the Republic of Kazakhstan. He left us a huge number of paintings as a legacy. We keep them all carefully – they’re a part of our large collection of works of art.

Each painting comes to this collection in different ways, and each of them has its own story. We have a painting brought as a gift from Kyrgyzstan. It belongs to the famous Kyrgyz artist Gapar Aitiev, who, it can be said, opened doors for our grandfather Taboniyaz. This is a very interesting family story. Our great-grandfather was a rich bai (landowner) from the Senior Uysun Zhuz. During the years of Stalin’s repression, he fled to China through Kyrgyzstan. He met a Kyrgyz girl in a remote aul, fell in love with her and remained there with her. That was where our grandfather Taboniyaz was born. He grew up without thinking about high arts, but he was very fond of drawing. He didn’t have any pencils or albums, of course. That’s why he drew with charcoal on walls. Semyon Chuikov (a Corresponding Member of the Academy of Arts of the USSR) passed by a house decorated this way, and seeing drawings, wanted to get meet the artist. After the meeting, the boy received a gift of paper and pencils, as well as a blessing to enter the world of artistic creativity. Chuikov wrote a letter of reference for the boy to be admitted to an institute of arts. A little later, Gapar Aitiev helped our grandfather leave the village and enter the university in Tashkent. We understand that two great artists helped our grandfather to succeed, to find his path, to enjoy his profession. That’s why we love this touching story, and paintings by these artists are dear to us.

In general, the whole our family treats fine arts with great respect, as a kind of genetic heritage. Our children didn’t attend art school, but they like drawing very much.

I think if we chose to develop their talent, they would create more significant things. My husband and I are sure that if it’s their mission, they’ll find time for self-fulfillment later. The understanding of arts is a part of them, and cannot be taken away. When we travel the world, we try to go to museums with the children, so that they will develop a more complete, multifaceted understanding of the world of fine arts. Walking around the city, we often come unexpectedly to some art shop, where we buy a painting that appeals to us that later gives us pleasant memories of the magical trip. Thus, I have a painting from Prague done in the Impressionist style. It depicts a ballet dancer gathering up her hair. I hung this impasto painting in the bedroom, and when I look at it, it always reminds me of Prague.

In general, I don’t have any favorite paintings, they all occupy an important place in my heart. But there is one work that’s especially dear to me. My cousin Kanat Nurbaturov was a famous sculptor and artist. There are a lot of sculptures in Astana created by him. He created the Kulager monument, the Samruk bird figure from the Kazakh Eli monument, the entrance group of Aray park and others Last summer, alas, he passed away. And the last painting that appeared my collection was painted by his hand. He painted me. That work was given to me after his death. Kanat was a very kind and nice person. When I studied at the Academy of Arts, and he studied at an art institute, he often took my ballet photographs, studied them, and tried to make sculptures of wood. We met on weekends, my mother set the table, his friends came and we talked about art for a long time. These are very dear memories for me. At the entrance group of the new Astana Opera and Ballet Theater there is a quadriga made by his hands. He cast it in Italy, where we lost him. Italians used the respectful word maestro for him, because they recognized him as a master.

Buying paintings is more of a hobby for me, rather than serious collecting. In total, I have about fifty paintings by various artists: Aitbaev, Shemyakin, Kalmykov, Selenin, Chuikov, Shardenov. There are also American contemporary artists, as well as Kyrgyz, Baltic, Ukrainian, and Uzbek artists. I always buy paintings at the call of my heart. I have landscapes, portraits, graphics, photography, genre paintings created by artists for ballets, industrial paintings, classical paintings.

I treat fine arts with great love, even in my cafe, the ceilings are painted with canvases by Impressionists. If I want to feel new awareness, the museum is a great alternative. Possession is not the most important thing. It’s more important to understand that we can always come in contact with great masterpieces.