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The 'Uzbek van Gogh' is a brilliant female!

During my flight on Uzbekistan Airways, I was flipping through the onboard magazine and to my surprise came across an incredible discovery. The magazine featured a contemporary female Uzbek painter - Dilorom Mamedova.

Photo of the Uzbekistan Airways onboard magazine

In the male-dominated world and in the even more male-dominated world of painting, which loves to obsess with the works of those long gone, while closing its, supposedly tasteful, eyes on contemporary genius, seeing the recognition of a true talent was more refreshing than the long-anticipated sip of water 11 km above the ground.

Some of Dilorom's paintings are deeply philosophical, others are filled with nostalgia, memories, human emotions... She seems to be universal in her mastery and works with landscapes, cityscapes, portraits and still lifes. Dilorom's strokes are thick (hence the comparison with van Gogh), but her paintings breathe light. I am particularly captivated by the eyes of her portrait subjects. These eyes carry stories, as do the streets and clay houses of the old mahallas (neighbourhoods) that she paints. No one gets out alive, such is the rule of this game we are all part of, but the faces, the eyes, and the stories remain sealed in the paint. Too many of the bright old streets that make-up mazes that you can easily get lost in are replaced with wide layers of grey asphalt, which carries no secrets. Clay houses with short wooden doors, which have felt the touch of thousands of hands knocking on them over the centuries are torn to give room to glass highrises with sliding doors. The streets, the doors, the people and the magical light remain on Dilorom's canvas. In a way, she saves them for generations to come.

Photo of the Uzbekistan Airways onboard magazine

When I got off the plane, I immediately found Dilorom on Facebook and she was kind enough to not only accept friendship, but we even exchanged some messages. I expressed my admiration for her work, and she invited me to visit her studio and pointed to a gallery in Tashkent which features some of her work. Unfortunately, COVID-19 had different plans for everyone and the studio visit never took place...but I was able to make it to the gallery in the centre of Tashkent. There they were - the paintings I was craving. Gorgeous. Breathing light, with the recognisable signature in the corner - Dilorom.

Dilorom Mamedova's work I saw in Tashkent

I urge you to discover Dilorom and her work. She frequently updates her social media accounts with new paintings and videos of the creative process. Just look at these colours and the strokes!

Dilorom Mamedova's work I saw in Tashkent

Dilorom Mamedova's work I saw in Tashkent

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