Myratmergen Kuliyev's “Girlfriends”: a philosophical look at real-life stories

Myratmergen Kuliyev's “Girlfriends”: a philosophical look at real-life stories

Painting, graphics, sculpture depict the world around us – nature, human, objects, historical events. But they not only show the external side of this world, but carry the thoughts and feelings of the author, certain ideas that he put into his creation.

But do you know how to be a good audience? Do you see in the painting what the artist wanted to tell about?

In order to learn to understand paintings, to feel the author’s intention and the main idea of the painting, Turkmenportal talked with a member of the Union of Artists, a teacher of the State Academy of Arts of Turkmenistan Myratmergen Kuliyev, whose paintings are characterized by a special symbolism and philosophical view.

Myratmergen was born in a creative family, his grandfather was an architect, father – artist, thus so he didn't really have a choice who to become when he grows up, Kuliyev himself admits.

“My brother and I spent almost all of our childhood in my father's workshop. I remember that he gave us paper, pencils and just said – draw, without explaining anything. We were 4-5 years old at the time, and we could sit like this for hours, coming up with something. I think that at that time we didn't even realize that there were any other professions. We knew who we would become when we grew up, because it's in our blood,” Muratmergen remembers”.

To date, the 30-year–old artist has years of diligent training and dozens of successful projects, as a result - numerous state awards, including victories in the competition of the President of Turkmenistan Türkmeniń Altyn asyry, Türkmen bedewiniń milli baýramy.

Regarding his style, he says the following: - “I like to draw real paintings, but to endow them with a certain symbolism.

One of Myratmergen Kuliyev’s paintongs  – “Girlfriends” (Joralar) tells about the incredible story of five women, natives of Sarahs village of the Ahal velayat.

“These are real heroines; their age is about 93-95 years. Unfortunately, some of the are no longer alive today, but the story that I transferred through this painting will stay with us forever”, says the author.

In this painting, Kuliyev drew five female figures, each of them has its own story – someone has a happy one, and for someone, on the contrary. In real life, they were all close friends, sitting on the tapchan in the evenings, drinking tea with sweets and having leisurely conversations.

What did the artist want to tell you about?

The main character of the picture is sitting in the foreground. She is unmarried, sent her lover to the war and lived all her life in dreams about him. Fate divided her with her beloved. Next to her lies her dowry, and on top of it is the lover's tahya.

In the background (the first from the left – editor’s note) is sitting a woman who got married, but she never had children. She is sitting in profile, and her background is empty, like her life. The artist conveyed her mood, it is clear that she is sad in her soul.

The women sitting next to her gave birth to eight children, but none of them came of age. And now by the age of 95, she was left totally alone, like grapes with pruned branches. All that she has are memories and an old photo album.

On the opposite brink of tapchan sits a woman who gave birth to four children, sixteen grandchildren and ten great grandchildren, but she was blind from birth and had seen none of them. The artist drew a cane in order to the viewer understand that she is blind. 

In the center of the picture sits a woman in the life of whose is in affluence. She has a big family: children, grandchildren, great grandchildren. On the background grapes are ripening, there is a bag of suzma hanging down, and even a family of feathered sparrows is sitting in the nest. In her hands she holds the sweetest fruits that her beloved grandchildren will get.

But the most important symbolism that the author of this picture wanted to show us is that as the twigs of grapes twist, so life carries different twists of fate.

There are other paintings in the collection of Muratmergen Kuliyev that are worth a more detailed analysis. For example, “Legacy” (Dowamat). Here he depicted a newborn protected by the spirits of her late grandmother.

“Turkmens have a belief that when a child is named after a grandmother or grandfather, the well–being of this ancestor and protection from evil spirits pass to him along with the name”, the author says.

Some works by M.Kuliyev:

“Mercy” (Mähir).

On the painting two orphans are drawn – a lonely elderly man and a lamb who was left without a mother.


A great thinker creates a real portal in his imagination. On the background of the picture on the right side you see a silhouette of a girl named Mengli, whom he loved, but she was married to someone else.

When asked about plans for the future, Kuliyev replies that he would like to draw prominent historical figures of the Turkmen people – Oguz han, Gorkut Ata and others, but in the historical genre.

The artist also dreams of an anniversary exhibition by the age of 35, but admits that he really wants it to be of a certain theme.

In addition, Myratmergen is determined to develop the art business in the national direction and promote it to the international arena.

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