Re-legitimising Painting in Tashkent, Uzbekistan after the Fall of the Soviet Union (1991-2004)

Okada, Kochi. 2006. Re-legitimising Painting in Tashkent, Uzbekistan after the Fall of the Soviet Union (1991-2004). Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

Text (Re-legitimising painting in Tashkent Uzbekistan after fall of the Soviet Union (1991-2004))
ANT_thesis_OkadaK_2006.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (27MB) | Preview

Abstract or Description

With the Soviet Union's fall, the overarching Soviet institution, the Union of Artists of the USSR, also collapsed. This institution had been solely responsible for the production, consumption and circulation of arts, and for regulating subordinate Republican Unions of Arts. Each national Union was now independent; later, these too, were supplanted by several different institutions and social domains that affected the production and consumption of painting in the post-Soviet era. The newly diffuse means of validating painting provokes the central questions of this dissertation: what are the new criteria for the economic, moral, and social valuation of artists and their work in different contexts, and what do these changes tell us about broader social changes in the city?

In order to explore the changed environment in which artists now work, I present five ethnographic case-studies of post-Soviet arts in Tashkent (1991-2004) that illustrate changing understandings and practices of authority, state legitimisation, labour, production and consumption of arts, and gender. Each case study examines an institution or social domain that has re-emerged in slightly changed form or content after 1991. These five new social 'configurations' are: the independent state's commissioning system, the illegal art market conducted in foreign currency, the traditional mahalla neighbourhoods of Tashkent, the Russian Orthodox Church, and the Besh-Agach mosque.

With the Union of Artists' authority ended, I examine the process of developing legitimisation in each of the emerging social configurations using the insights from Weber's typology of authority. I emphasise the importance of arts to legitimise both the Soviet and the post-Soviet states. I consider the effect of the commodification of paintings on the idea in the Soviet period that an artist was a living embodiment of his work's moral, economic and social values - and how in some areas this connection between the person of the painter and the value of the product endures in different forms.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Soviet Union, painting, Union of Artists of the USSR, post-Soviet arts, ethnographic case studies

Departments, Centres and Research Units:




Item ID:


Date Deposited:

22 May 2020 09:56

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 15:40


View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)