ARTIST / Dashi Namdakov

Dashi Namdakov

Dashi Namdakov

  • Birthday: Feb 16, 1967

Dashi Namdakov is a Russian sculptor, graphic artist and jeweller whose works draw on the ancient culture and artistic styles of the Eurasian steppes and on Buddhist and shamanic mythology. His mysterious figures of warriors, princesses, bulls and imaginary creatures create a world of imagery that is powerful yet intricately detailed, conveying an ancient spirituality.

Namdakov was born on 14 February 1967 in the small village of Ukurik in the Chita region of Siberia, close to the Russian-Chinese border. His father, Balzhin, was a skilled craftsman who sculpted wooden statues and painted Buddhist tangkas (icons) as commissions for local monasteries. All eight of his children learned from him an ability to observe nature and translate it into images. Many became artists, but only Dashi received professional training.

At the age of seven, Namdakov was sent to boarding school in Mogzon, an austere place where he was the only ethnic Buryat among the students. Major illness afflicted him when he was 15, and it was several years before he was diagnosed and cured by a shaman doctor. Namdakov was told that the ‘spirits’ wished him to become a shaman but, although he was still only a teenager, he felt his destiny was to be an artist. The shaman doctor responded, ‘Your art is your shamanic practice’. From 1986 to 1988 Namdakov studied in the workshop of sculptor Gennady Vasiliev in Buryatia, continuing from 1988 to 1992 with a course at the Krasnoyarsk State Fine Art Institute that gave him Russian academic training under the famous artists Lev Golovnitsky, Yuri Ishkhanov, Azat Boyarlin and Eduard Pakhomov.

On graduation, Namdakov moved to Ulan-Ude, capital of the Republic of Buryatia, and focused on graphic art. The flowing line and sharply delineated imagery he honed on paper gave way to a remarkable period of creative activity as he transformed his images into sculpture. His first solo show, at a museum in the Siberian city of Irkutsk in the year 2000, successfully launched his artistic career and Namdakov joined the professional Union of Artists. Through his art he personified the historical imagery, mythical creatures and totemic figures of the past, depicting them with a true modernity of form.

‘My concept of beauty took shape during my now distant childhood when, as children, we used to sit around the bonfire in the steppes and look at the bottomless black skies with shimmering stars above our heads ... it’s the harmony, the single law of universe,’ says Namdakov. Maurizio Vanni describes the nomads’ conception of everlasting laws of transformation, death and miraculous revival as sacred processes of shamanism and Tibetan Buddhism: ‘There are living beings that transform themselves into animals, others that change into plants or flowers ... there are statues that become animated and people that become statues or stones. Hence the feeling of a universe in perpetual alteration.’

Namdakov’s sculpture is strongly influenced by the legacies of the ancient Asian nomadic empire and the Middle Ages, from the Iron Age art of Scythians, Sarmatians and Hunnu of the first millennium BC to Mongolian works of the tenth to thirteenth centuries AD. The imagery of warriors, horses and bulls and their attributes – helmets, saddles and twisted horns – echo their ancestral sources. His materials draw on Buryat crafts, for as well as sculpting in bronze, silver, gold and copper Namdakov employs wood, mammoth tusk, leather, horsehair and precious stones. Working equally comfortably on a monumental scale and in miniature, he makes sculptures that recall the intimacy and decorated intricacy of heirloom jewellery.

Despite a cultural taboo, Namdakov has addressed the subject of Genghis Khan, sculpting the great Mongolian leader in bronze (2003, 2011) and acting as art director in the film Mongol (2007), for which he received Russia’s Nika Award for Best Art Direction. Other professional achievements and honours include admission to the Russian Union of Artists (2001), the prestigious Silver Medal of the Russian Academy of Arts (2003), ‘Siberian of the Year’ (2003), Honoured Artist of the Republic of Buryatia (2008), State Prize of the Russian Federation in the field of culture (2009) and Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Fine Arts (2010).

Namdakov’s art can be found in the collections of the State Tretyakov Gallery, the State Museum of Oriental Art and the Russian Contemporary Art Museum in Moscow; the State Hermitage and the Russian Ethnographical Museum in St Petersburg; the Guangzhou Museum of Art in China; the National Museum of History, Taipei, and the Chi Mei Museum, Tainan, in Taiwan; and in Tibet House in New York. His works are held in private collections in the United States of America, the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan and China. Within Russia, collectors include Russian president Vladimir Putin; the first president of Tatarstan, Mintimer Shaimiev; ex-mayor of Moscow Yuri Luzhkov; and oligarch Roman Abramovich.

Many international galleries and major Russian museums have held solo exhibitions of Namdakov’s work in Moscow, St Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Irkutsk, Kazan, Almaty, Beijing, Guangzhou, Zhongshan, Hong Kong, Singapore, New York, Atlanta and Pietrasanta. In 2012, Halcyon Gallery mounted his first solo exhibition in London. Dashi Namdakov: A Nomad’s Universe, presenting 45 sculptures and drawings illustrating the scope of his creativity between 1998 and 2012, was received to great acclaim. This was followed in 2014 by Dashi Namdakov: Between Heaven and Earth, an exhibition of 25 new bronze pieces also held at Halcyon Gallery. Representing the culmination of more than three years work, the show featured animals both real and mythical created on a domestic and monumental scale. In May 2015, Dashi returned to London to unveil She Guardian, an 11 metre high bronze sculpture of a female feline protecting her young. Installed in London’s Marble Arch, the work rises majestically above the backdrop of green parkland and urban architecture.

Since 2004 Namdakov has lived and worked in Moscow. He is currently engaged on public art projects for Kazakhstan, Buryatia and Beijing.

ARTWORKS

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Amazon
Amazon
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Taurus
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Frog
Frog
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Rhino
Rhino
Rhino
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Idea
Idea
Idea
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Skull
Skull
Skull
Skull
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Idea
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She Guardian
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Excitement
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Face of Africa
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Heavenly Guardian
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Bukha-Noyon
Bukha-Noyon
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Target
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Pearl
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Turtle
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Flight
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Astrologer
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Idol
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Cocoon
Cocoon
Cocoon
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Little Tiger
Little Tiger
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Seter
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Steppe Nefertiti
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Lion
Lion
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Steppe Wind
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Eternity
Eternity
Eternity
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Apis
Apis
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Capricorn
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Minotaur
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Spider - Derdak
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Little Mammoth
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Nectar
Nectar
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Amazon
Amazon
Amazon
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Tropical Fly
Tropical Fly
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Victory
Victory
Victory
Victory
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King of the Beast
King of the Beast
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Grace
Grace
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Enlighten
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Prince
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Princess
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From the CHAM MISTERY Masks series (Cham Garuda)
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From the CHAM MISTERY Masks series (Cham Sculls)

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From the CHAM MISTERY Masks series (Cham Dragon)

EXIBITIONS

KNIGHT UNDER THE FIRMAMENT Kaohsiung Museum of History, Taiwan: exhibition project with the participation of A. Ivaschenko, an art collector of Buddhist icons (tangkas) 2005
ART TAIPEI Taiwan: participation 2005
KNIGHT UNDER THE FIRMAMENT National History Museum, Taiwan: solo show 2005
OPEN RUSSIA National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China. International exhibition project. Group show of Russian artists 2006
CHINA INTERNATIONAL GALLERY EXPOSITION Beijing, China: participation 2006
THE NOMAD’S UNIVERSE Beijing World Art Museum China exhibition project with the participation of the Buryatia History Museum and Irkutsk Museum of Regional Studies 2006
KNIGHT UNDER THE FIRMAMENT Taichung City Seaport Art Centre, Taiwan: solo show 2006
EXPRESSION OF SPIRIT State Central Museum of the Contemporary History of Russia with the participation of the Dom Nashokina Gallery Moscow: group show 2007
DASHI’S BRONZE ASIA Dongguan Exhibition Center, China: solo show 2007
DASHI’S BRONZE ASIA Guangzhou Museum of Art, China: solo show 2007
DASHI’S BRONZE ASIA Municipal Museum of Zhongshan, China: solo show 2007
STATE TRETYAKOV GALLERY Moscow: solo show 2007
TRANSFORMATION: SCULPTURE, GRAPHICS AND JEWELLERY OF DASHI NAMDAKOV Dom Nashokina Gallery, Moscow: solo show 2008
TRANSFORMATION: SCULPTURE, GRAPHICS AND JEWELLERY OF DASHI NAMDAKOV Irkutsk Regional Museum of Fine Arts named after V. P. Sukachev, Irkutsk: solo show 2008
DASHI’S BRONZE ASIA Dalian Modern Museum, China: solo show 2008
THE ELEMENT OF DASHI NAMDAKOV: SCULPTURE, GRAPHICS, JEWELLERY COLLECTION” New Manezh Moscow State Exhibition Hall . Solo show 2009
THE ELEMENT OF DASHI NAMDAKOV Omsk Regional Art Museum named after M. Vrubel: solo show 2009
TRANSFORMATION: SCULPTURE, GRAPHICS AND JEWELLERY OF DASHI NAMDAKOV Buryat Art Museum named after T. Sampilov, Ulan-Ude: solo show 2009
RUSSIAN NATIONAL EXHIBITION GRAND PALAIS Paris: participation 2010
NOSTALGIA FOR THE ROOTS: DASHI NAMDAKOV'S UNIVERSE OF THE NOMADS, STATE HERMITAGE St Petersburg: solo show (this is the original title of the show held in State Hermitage, please refer to the catalogue of the State Hermitage) 2010
TRANSFORMATION: SCULPTURE AND GRAPHICS OF DASHI NAMDAKOV Villa Versiliana, Pietrasanta, Italy: exhibition project 2010
DASHI NAMDAKOV'S UNIVERSE OF THE NOMADS Khazine Art Gallery, State Museum of Fine Arts of the Republic of Tatarstan, Kazan: solo show 2011
BRONZE ASIA OF DASHI NAMDAKOV Irkutsk Regional Museum of Fine Arts named after V. P. Sukachev, Irkutsk: solo show, participation in the program of the Baikal Economic Forum 2011
“25 Irkutsk Regional Museum of Fine Arts and Artists’ Union. Irkutsk. Group exhibition. 2012
“TRANSFORMATION”. Russian Centre of Science and Culture. Prague, Czech Republic. 2012
HIKO MIZUNO COLLEGE OF JEWELRY Tokyo, Japan. Exhibtion of jewellery and graphics. 2012
“DASHI NAMDAKOV: A NOMAD’S UNIVERSE”. Halcyon Gallery, London, Great Britain. Solo show. 2012
“WORLD OF MYTHS”. Tampere Art Museum, Finland. Solo exhibition. 2013
THE NOMAD: MEMORY OF THE FUTURE National Arts Club, New York, USA: solo show 2013
MYSTERY Buryat Art Museum named after T. Sampilov, Ulan-Ude. Group Exhibition 2013
MAGICAL VISIONS: THE JEWELRY AND SCULPTURE OF DASHI NAMDAKOV Gilbert Albert Gallery, New York, USA: solo show 2013
THE NOMAD BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH State Historical Museum, Moscow 2014
NOSTALGIA FOR THE ROOTS. THE NOMAD UNIVERSE OF DASHI NAMDAKOV Krasnoyarsk Art Museum named after V.Surikov 2014
«AVATAR» Halcyon Gallery, London, Great Britain. Group show. 2014
DASHI NAMDAKOV. BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH. Halcyon Gallery, London, Great Britain. Solo show. 2014
NOMAD. WORKS OF A RUSSIAN SCULPTOR DASHI NAMDAKOV Beijing World Art Museum, China. Solo show. 2014
NOMAD. WORKS OF A RUSSIAN SCULPTOR DASHI NAMDAKOV Henan Museum Zhengzhou, China. Solo show 2015
THE ART OF CREATING Halcyon Gallery, London, Great Britain. Group show. 2015
JOURNEY TO A MYSTIC LAND: DASHI NAMDAKOV’S IMPRESSIONS OF ASIA Shchukin Gallery New York, USA. Solo show 2015
NOMAD. WORKS OF A RUSSIAN SCULPTOR DASHI NAMDAKOV Zhoushan Museum Zhoushan, China. Solo Show 2015
MASTERING MYTH AND CONNECTING TO SPIRIT: Drawings by Dashi Namdakov and Historical Photographs of Shamanism from the Russian Museum of Ethnography National Arts Club New York, USA 2015
TRANSFORMATION Academy of fine arts Florence, Italy. Solo show 2015
ASIA’S SOUL V.Bronshtein Gallery Irkutsk, Russia. Group show 2015
NOMAD. WORKS OF A RUSSIAN SCULPTOR DASHI NAMDAKOV Erdos Sculpture Museum China. Solo show 2015
UNIQUE DOLLS OF DASHI NAMDAKOV’S FAMILY ULGER V.Bronshtein Gallery Irkutsk, Russia. Group show 2015
TRADITIONS & CONTEMPORANEITY Central Exhibition Hall "Manezh" Moscow, Russia. Participation 2016
Awarded the honorary title ‘Siberian of the Year’ 2003
Awarded a silver medal of the Russian Academy of Fine Arts 2003
Awarded the title of Honorary Artist of the Republic of Buryatia 2006
White Elephant: Received the Russian Film Critic and Film Press’s 2007
Golden Eagle: Received the Prize of the Russian Academy of Motion Picture Arts 2007
Nika: Received the Russian Academy of Cinema Arts 2008
Prize of the Russian Federation in the field of culture 2009
Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Fine Arts 2011
Awarded the State Prize of the Government of the Republic of Buryatia in the field of the Fine Art 2012
Awarded the Order of Mongolia «The Polar Star» 2013
Prize of the 11th Annual Russian Heritage Month 2013
Main prize at the International Award Ceremony "Pietrasanta and Versilia in the World" 2013
Order of the Tuva Republic 2014
Honorary Member of the Florence Academy of Arts and Design 2015
Awarded the State Prize of Mongolia 2015