Dashi Namdakov

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.

Selected Works

Boy on Cat

Dashi Namdakov

Bronze

Amazonka

Dashi Namdakov

Bronze

Genghis Khan

Dashi Namdakov

Bronze

Biography

Dashi Namdakov
Russian, b. 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 former 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.

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

Exhibition Highlights

TRAINING
1986–1988  Studio of Gennady Vasiliev, Ulan-Ude, Russia
1992  Artist-sculptor Diploma, Krasnoyarsk State Fine Art Institute, Russia

SOLO EXHIBITIONS
2013  Dashi Namdakov, Tempere Art Musuem , Finland 
2012  Dashi Namdakov: A Nomad’s Universe, Halcyon Gallery, London
2011  Bronze Asia of Dashi Namdakov, Irkutsk Regional Museum of Fine Arts named after V. P. Sukachev, Irkutsk, Russia
2011  Dashi Namdakov's Universe of the Nomads, Khazine Art Gallery, State Museum of Fine Arts of the Republic of Tatarstan, Kazan, Russia
2010  Nostalgia for the Roots: Dashi Namdakov's Universe of the Nomads, State Hermitage, St Petersburg, Russia
2009  The Element of Dashi Namdakov: Sculpture, Graphics, Jewellery Collection, New Manezh Moscow State Exhibition Hall, Moscow
2009  The Element of Dashi Namdakov, Omsk Regional Art Museum named after M. Vrubel, Russia
2009  Transformation: Sculpture, Graphics and Jewellery of Dashi Namdakov, Buryat Art Museum named after T. Sampilov, Ulan-Ude, Russia
2008  Transformation: Sculpture, Graphics and Jewellery of Dashi Namdakov, Dom Nashokina Gallery, Moscow
2008  Transformation: Sculpture, Graphics and Jewellery of Dashi Namdakov, Irkutsk Regional Museum of Fine Arts named after V. P. Sukachev, Irkutsk, Russia
2008  Dashi’s Bronze Asia, Dalian Modern Museum, China
2007  Dashi’s Bronze Asia, Dongguan Exhibition Centre, China
2007  Dashi’s Bronze Asia, Guangzhou Museum of Art, China
2007  Dashi’s Bronze Asia, Municipal Museum of Zhongshan, China
2007  State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
2006  The Nomad’s Universe, Beijing World Art Museum, China
2006  Knight under the Firmament, Taichung City Seaport Art Centre, Taiwan
2005 Jeff Hsu’s Art Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan
2005  Hanart Gallery, Hong Kong
2005  Sunjin Gallery, Singapore
2005  Knight under the Firmament, Kaohsiung Museum of History, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
2005  Knight under the Firmament, Taiwan History Museum, Taiwan
2004  Tibet House, New York
2004  The Nomad’s Universe, State Museum of Oriental Art, Moscow
2004  Gertsev Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
2004  Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
2003  Krasnoyarsk Culture and History Museum Centre, Russia
2003  Irkutsk Regional Museum of Fine Arts named after V. P. Sukachev, Irkutsk, Russia
2003  State Museum of Oriental Art, Moscow
2003  Russian Ethnographical Museum, St Petersburg, Russia
2003  Museum of Fine Arts, Yekaterinburg, Russia
2002  Zurab Tsereteli Art Gallery, Moscow
2001  Museum of Buryat History, Ulan-Ude, Russia
2001  Klassika Gallery, Irkutsk, Russia
2000  Irkutsk Regional Museum of Fine Arts named after V. P. Sukachev, Irkutsk, Russia

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2014  Avatar, Halcyon Gallery, London
2010  Transformation: Sculpture and Graphics of Dashi Namdakov, Pietrasanta, Italy
2007  Expression of Spirit, State Central Museum of the Contemporary History of Russia with the participation of the Dom Nashokina Gallery, Moscow
2006  Open Russia, National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China
2006  China International Gallery Exposition, Beijing, China
2005  Palm Beach Connoisseurs, West Palm Beach, Florida, USA
2004  Central House of Artists, Moscow
2004  Russian Week, Palace Hotel Gstaad, Switzerland
2002  Central House of Artists, Moscow
2001  Union of Artists’ Gallery, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

ART FAIRS
2010  Russian National Exhibition, Grand Palais, Paris
2005  Art Miami, Florida, USA
2005  Chicago Contemporary & Classic, USA
2005  Los Angeles International Antique, Fine Art and Jewelry Fair, USA
2005  Moscow World Fine Art Fair, the Manege, Moscow
2005  Singapore JewelFest, Singapore
2005  Art Taipei, Taiwan

SELECTED PUBLIC PLACEMENTS
2012  Genghis Khan, Marble Arch, London
2011  Little Buddha, Ivolginsky Datsan, Republic of Buryatia, Russia
2010  Golden Shoria, Tashtagol, Kemerovo region, Russia
2010  Centaur, State Hermitage (during solo show), St Petersburg, Russia
2008  Four Friends (Tunshe), Aginsk, Russia
2008  Khanshaim, Astana, Kazakhstan, Russia
2003  Ust-Orda, Ust-Orda, Irkutsk region, Russia

COLLECTIONS
State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
State Museum of Oriental Art, Moscow
State Hermitage, St Petersburg, Russia
Russian Ethnographical Museum, St Petersburg, Russia
Irkutsk Regional Museum of Fine Arts named after V. P. Sukachev, Irkutsk, Russia
Buryat Art Museum named after T. Sampilov, Ulan-Ude, Russia
Tibet House, New York
Guangzhou Museum of Art, China
Chi-Mei Museum, Tainan County, Taiwan
National History Museum, Taipei, Taiwan

AWARDS
2011  Corresponding membership of the Russian Academy of Fine Arts
2009  State Prize of the Russian Federation in the field of culture
2007  Russian Academy of Cinematographic Arts’ Nika Award
2007  Membership of Russian Academy of Cinematographic Arts
2006  Honorary Artist of the Republic of Buryatia
2003  Honorary title ‘Siberian of the Year’
2003  Silver Medal of the Russian Academy of Fine Arts

PUBLICATIONS
2012  Dashi Namdakov: A Nomad’s Universe, published by Halcyon Gallery, London

Exhibitions

AVATAR

6 Sep 2014 - 4 Oct 2014

144-146 New Bond Street, London

Dashi Namdakov: A Nomad’s Universe

16 May 2012 - 14 Jul 2012

144-146 New Bond Street, London

Catalogues

AVATAR

Public Art Catalogue

2011

Artist Videos

News & Press

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AVATAR Exhibition Film

Dashi Namdakov: A Nomad’s Universe Press Coverage

Genghis Khan by Dashi Namdakov unveiled at Marble Arch, London

Dashi Namdakov: A Nomad’s Universe Private View Film

Genghis Khan by Dashi Namdakov at Marble Arch Film

Dashi Namdavkov a Nomad’s Universe Press Release