О. М. Manuilova (1893-1984) founded the sculpture movement in Kyrgyzstan. Her life and creativity was a unified process of knowledge, self-sacrifice, and constant interest in society and people. She combined her creative work with her public work and was dedicated to educating young people.
Highly educated and familiar with French, German and Latin, Manuilova chose a difficult path through life and her creative work. Her life was notable for its simplicity and asceticism. She was invited by the government to Kyrgyzstan in 1939 to take part in the T. Satilganov memorial project and liking the new country decided to stay. She studied the history of Central Asia, its folklore and literature. Her astonishing productivity and her outstanding skills as a painter and sculptor led her to create over 600 sculptural compositions, the majority of them devoted to Kyrgyzstan. Distinguished for her delicate artistic flair and acuity of expression, she combines ornamentation with thorough and detailed forms in all her works (even monumental). Her works such as the frieze on the Office of Public Prosecutor (1941), the monumental-decorative groups on the Theater of Opera and Ballet (1952-1954), the portrait of composer M. Kurenkeev (1949) and many others became a treasured part of Kyrgyz art.
In 1943, for remarkable service in the sphere of art, 0. Manuilova was awarded the title of Honored Worker of Kyrgyzstan SSR as well as other diplomas and orders.
In 2000 her former studio was opened as a museum. Today it consists of four exhibition halls displaying material on Manuilova’s whole life and works. Among the exhibits are unique photos from the early 20th century, exclusive books in French and Russian, books from M.R Tihomirov’s library (dated 1889), a photo album belonging to the Tihomirov family and Olya Tihomirova’s christening shirt. Bas-relief, sculptural portraits, small plastic figures, and bust portraits are also exhibited.
The museum frequently houses exhibitions for young sculptors and painters. It also serves as a center for lectures, seminars and concerts and special exhibitions for invalid children.
Discovery Central Asia # 25