While I was in Tashkent, I visited the Uzbekfilm Studios and met director Sergei Alibekov, who asked me to do some very brief English-language voiceovers for his animated film “Echogram,” about the collapse of the USSR. Following the recording session, for which he insisted paying me the prevailing wage–$5 US–he invited me to see his art studio, located in a spare bedroom of his small family apartment, located in unfashionable district on the outskirts of Tashkent that appeared to be a bit rougher than the center. I met his wife and son–who worked as his assistant–saw his large collection of historic Uzbek headgear, and watched him explain the meaning of hidden symbols in each work. Subsequently he moved to Moscow, where I met him again in 2004-5, when I was an ACCELS visiting professor at RGGU. It was a unique opportunity to see how Uzbek artists lived and worked and coded their messages on many levels. Following my return, I donated a painting of his to the Zimmerli Collection of Russian and Soviet Nonconformist Art at Rutgers University, although I don’t think it is on display.
Laurence Jarvik – Fulbright to Uzbekistan 2002