Bayramov approached his work with great intentionality and adopted the words of Leonardo da Vinci: “Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.” Bayramov was born in Baýramaly in the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic, then part of the Soviet Union, on April 14, 1938. In his native Turkmen language, Durdy Bayramov’s name is simply Durdy Bayram, without the Slavic-style “ov” suffix added to Russify names during the Soviet era.
In Turkic languages, Bayram means “celebration.” Having much to celebrate, Durdy Bayramov enjoyed a prolific career as a professional painter for over 55 years, creating over 5,000 artworks. However, before rising to fame Bayramov lost both parents and lived as a homeless child before being placed in an orphanage in Kyzyl-Arvat (now known as Serdar). He endured hardships and post-war devastation, yet overcame life’s challenges in the pursuit of his dreams. Bayramov benefited from the guidance and support of exceptional teachers who recognized his talent and supported the young artist in his efforts to become a professional painter. Three, in particular, made a lasting impact on his career: Gennadiy Brusentsov, Izzat Klychev, and Dmitri Mochalski. His first art teacher, Gennadiy Brusentsov, was a Russian artist who instructed budding talent at the Shota Rustaveli Turkmen Art College in Ashgabat.
Bayramov and Brusentsov developed a lifelong friendship, with Brusentsov acting as Bayramov’s mentor over the course of his career. Brusentsov’s portrait of a young Bayramov who was torn between following his dreams of becoming both a soccer player and an artist, titled Young Soccer Player. Bayramov, who was encouraged by his mentor to focus his energy and passions on the arts, painted three significant portraits of his teacher, with the most famous being Portrait of My First Teacher, created in 1997-98. Through his relationship with Brusentsov, Bayramov met renowned Turkmen painter Izzat Klychev. Between both mentors, Bayramov’s work was frequently a point of contention, yet they would first come to a consensus before offering their advice the young artist.
I turned my head to the left and as I squinted I could see Izzat Klychev’s sketch and turning to the right I saw the subject of Gennady Brusentsov’s masterpiece. This is when the revelation came to me that each artist must be true to his own vision and I retain this rule to this very day.” Another great influence on the artist’s life and career was Dmitri Mochalski, his professor at the prestigious Surikov Art Institute in Moscow, which Bayramov attended between 1959 and 1965. Mochalski was a recipient of the highest honorary title in arts in the former Soviet Union—People’s Artist of the USSR—and was widely respected for his “ability to highlight the essential, while setting aside the extraneous details.”
He passed on this approach to his students, including Durdy Bayramov. As he drew inspiration from his mentors, Bayramov went on to cultivate his own style and receive numerous prestigious awards and distinctions, including: the honorary title of People’s Artist of Turkmen USSR (1991), Academician of the National Academy of Arts of Kyrgyzstan (1998), and the For the Love of the Motherland medal, presented by the President of Turkmenistan in 2008. Represented in all of the leading museums in Turkmenistan, Bayramov’s work can also be found in a number of private collections and museums around the globe.
Durdy Bayramov was raised as an orphan in Soviet Turkmenistan but rose to become widely recognized as one of Eurasia’s preeminent artists. During a prolific career that spanned nearly six decades, Bayramov created more than 5000 artworks, many of which were acquired by prominent museums around the world. His work has been featured in over 100 solo and group exhibitions, a number that continues to grow with every passing year. Bayramov worked and traveled extensively within Turkmenistan and around the world, a practice he continued until his final years.
Canada was a country he longed to visit, a land he idealized as isolated yet, home to uniquely captivating scenery.
In 2012, his dream was realized. Instantly, he became enamored with the country’s natural beauty, geographic diversity. Not surprisingly, the artist found himself inspired to paint the landscapes he encountered. During his stay he witnessed Canada’s vibrant seasonal transitions, from a breezy and serene summer to a colorful autumn. Although he lived in North York, a district in the city of Toronto, Bayramov also traveled throughout Ontario and Quebec where he was moved to create his 2012 series “Canadian Autumn”, capturing the colours and character of the country. Through his daily interactions, Bayramov was touched by the hospitality and warmth of the Canadian people.
Inspired by Canada’s diverse and multicultural population, Bayramov, as a Turkmen artist, expressed his desire to someday organize an exhibition of his work in the land he came to love.
However, after enjoying six months in what had come to feel like his adopted homeland, Bayramov returned to Turkmenistan to attend a solo exhibition of his work held in honour of his 75th birthday. Although he did not know it at the time, this was to be his final exhibition as a living artist. Shortly after, Durdy Bayramov was diagnosed with liver cancer and, within a few weeks, he passed away.
Devastated by her father’s passing, Bayramov’s third daughter, Keyik Bayramova, was burdened by the likelihood that his dream to share his work with the Canadian public might go unfulfilled. Determined to honour the artist’s final wishes, she organized a solo tribute exhibition of a selection of his paintings in 2014 in the Toronto home she once shared with him. The exhibition was a success as visitors proclaimed the significance, and beauty of Bayramov’s art was celebrated in the Canadian press. The flood of positive feedback encouraged Keyik and her family to continue building the artist’s legacy in Canada.
Bayramov left behind an estate of over thousands of artworks in addition to innumerable letters, notebooks, and other archival materials.
As executors of his estate, the Bayramov family was determined to give the public access to his extensive collection, and continue his legacy. In 2015, the Durdy Bayramov Art Foundation was established with the aim to cultivate cultural exchange and provide a space where artists are invited to be inspired, create, and explore.
Durdy Bayramov is an Academician and Artist who was awarded the highest honorary title in his country – “People’s Artist of Turkmenistan”. His paintings are the epitome of fine art in the late 20th century.
Durdy Bayramov was born in 1938 in Bayram-Ali, in the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic, then part of the Soviet Union. Having lost both parents in early childhood, he was raised in an orphanage in Kyzylarvat. Being an orphan and a homeless child, he lived through the starvation and hardships of World War II. He managed to overcome unfathomable difficulties while still in his early years.
But life delivered not only severe ordeals for him; it also sent him a stroke of luck – an encounter with his first teacher, an artist by the name of Gennadiy Brusentsov. Durdy was also blessed with happy years of studying fine art: first at the Turkmen State Art College named after Shota Rustavelli ( graduated in 1959), then in Moscow State Art University named after V.I. Surikov (graduated in 1965).
Being a very talented artist, Bayramov created numerous monumental compositions. However, psychological portraits brought him a wide recognition, as he manages to penetrate deep into the character and inner life of his models and to masterfully depict many diverse personalities on canvas. Bayramov makes his observations, chooses appropriate artistic media, and continuously develops his painterly art.
The end results are his meticulous portraits of prominent public figures, artists, friends, and family members. His paintings reflect the achievements of his extraordinary technique and his deep knowledge and respect for traditional realism. Artist Durdy Bayramov is a man of virtue: he has worked hard all his life, but at the same time stayed humble. He is also an excellent teacher, instructing many a generation of young artists.
The art of Durdy Bayramov is always appreciated by viewers and highly revered by critics. It is not easy to name all the awards that were given to this extraordinary talent. In 2008 Durdy Bayramov was awarded a medal “For Love of The Motherland” by the President of Turkmenistan. In 1998 Master was awarded an honorary title of Academic of Kyrgyzstan. He is also a full member of the Kyrgyzstan Academy of Arts.
Honoured Artist of Turkmen SSR, Durdy Bayramov, was awarded honorary title of “People’s Artist of Turkmenistan” in 1991. He was also awarded a gold medal at the National Exhibition in Moscow (1974).
Earlier in his career, when Turkmenistan was still part of the Soviet Union, he was a prize-winner of the Turkmen Komsomol in 1970 and of the USSR in 1972. Paintings by Durdy Bayramov are found in the permanent collections of many museums in Turkmenistan, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Germany, Hungary, and Ukraine. Many reside in private and corporate collections through-out Europe, The United Arab Emirates, Latin and North America.
Durdy Вayramov had died in Ashgabat on February 14th, 2014 at the age of 75.
The Durdy Bayramov Art Foundation (DBAF) is a non-profit organization located in the former home of the artist in Toronto, Ontario. We are dedicated to celebrating the life and legacy of Durdy Bayramov by inciting cultural exchanges and stimulating the vitality of the arts by actively engaging artists and the public through a variety of initiatives including exhibitions, research and educational outreach activities. We strive to create opportunities for young artists to pursue their dreams in the arts.
The Foundation is committed to expanding knowledge and art appreciation through collections-based research and publication, as well as facilitating access for scholars and the public to our permanent collection, library, and archives.
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