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Giant Uzbek Painting Celebrates Pre-Islamic Culture

30/06/2012

After more than two years of work, Lekim Ibragimov put the final touches this spring on an enormous undertaking — spreading the unifying message of a famous collection of folk tales compiled during the Islamic Golden Age.

To bring the tales of “One Thousand and One Nights” to life, the Central Asian artist painted 1,000 individual canvases, each depicting an angel. Linked together, they create “Thousand Angels and One Painting,” a work that, at more than 500 square meters, is vying for a Guinness World Record (see promotional video here).

“I had an immense pleasure in reading the book ‘One Thousand and One Nights,’ and in Uzbekistan we have a very important culture of murals. It was very popular before Islam,” says Ibragimov, who was born in Kazakhstan and is now based in Uzbekistan.

“So there are two reasons that pushed me to begin this project: the first reason was the book ‘One Thousand and One Nights,’ and the second reason was tradition.”

Ibragimov describes his 8-meter-high, 66-meter-long artwork as a representation of unity in diversity and diversity in unity.

Record Size
The large-scale painting is about to embark on a world tour to bring the artist’s message of peace to a global audience.

The tour will start in Prague, where the painting will be exhibited from July 9 to July 21.

Ibragimov says that “Thousand Angels and One Painting” is to make stops in other places included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in Western Europe, the United States, and Japan.

The artist’s son, Murad Ibragimov, is the head of the Global Event & Construction firm, a sponsor of the tour. He says the mega-painting has been submitted to the Guinness World Records Committee as “the world’s largest painting consisting of 1,000 pieces.”

“For the creation of the painting, whose size is 66-meters-high, we used around 3 tons of paint. We submitted applications for two records: for the Guinness Book of Records and, secondly, for the Record Book of Russia,” the younger Ibragimov says.

Written by Antoine Blua, based on reporting by RFE/RL Uzbek Service correspondent Shukhrat Babadjanov
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* Uzbek artist’s painting nominated for Guinness World Records

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