Notes for an Exhibition of paintings by Faouzia and Michael Lane
Ilkhom Theatre, Tashkent
4-31 May 2017
Faouzia and Michael Barry Lane are a husband and wife team of two British artists living and working in Tashkent, Paris and Andalucia. They have lived in a restored house in a traditional neighbourhood of Tashkent since shortly after Independence. The majority of the paintings in the exhibition are collaborations, where Faouzia provides the initial inspiration and executes the preliminary drawing, which is then elaborated on and colored in oils by Michael. All decisions on the choice of motifs, colours and designs are discussed and decided on together. A personal exhibition of family Lane paintings was held in the Residence of the British Ambassador from 2014 to 2015.
Faouzia’s free, spontaneous style of drawing, deliberately flouting conventional scale or perspective, evolved from her early fascination with the remarkable tapestries woven by villagers under the direction of Ramses Wissa Wassif at the oasis of Haraniya, near Gizeh. Michael’s work reflects his interest in Italian and Flemish primitive and early renaissance painting techniques, as well as the English Arts and Crafts movement and Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood centered around Ruskin and William Morris with their emphasis on craftsmanship.
The recent works on show in this exhibition reflect their fascination with the sights and sounds of this country. A particularly strong source of inspiration has been the luminous colours and archaic motifs of suzani embroideries and traditional Uzbek costumes made of the unique silk and cotton ikat textiles known as atlas, adras and bekasab exemplified by the 18th and 19th century pieces in the collection of Tair F. Tairov published in ‘Ikats from Turkestan; Clouds Coloured in Silk’ by Ekaterina Ermakova and Sayora Mahkamova. The impassive atmosphere and hierarchical attitudes of the enigmatic figures in these paintings, their enamel-like colours and gold backgrounds are reminiscent of Eastern Orthodox icons and of Central Asian miniatures.
Born in Cairo, Egypt, Faouzia Lane is the great grand-daughter of Ismail Pasha Sabri, famous poet, Attorney General of Egypt and Governor of Alexandria. Educated at the Lycée Français du Caire, Faouzia completed her studies in architecture at the University of Fine Arts, Cairo and the École des Beaux Arts in Paris, obtained a scholarship to study earth architecture under Hasan Fathi and was trained in the technique of fresco painting at l’institut International de l’Art Mural at the Abbey of Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe. She has worked for the CNRS as site architect and surveyor at the archaeological site of the Temple of Luxor, in Libya for Thomson and in private architectural practices in France.
Faouzia first came to Uzbekistan in 1995, and immediately fell in love with the country, its historic monuments, its people and its traditional culture, which have been a constant source of inspiration.
Faouzia has exhibited three times at the Salon Internationale ‘Art et Peinture’ de Bourges, where she was awarded the Prize for Innovation, and in the NBU Gallery of Modern Art in Tashkent. She has collaborated on large-scale frescos at the World Heritage site of the Abbey of Saint-Savin-en-Gartempe and in private houses in France and Spain, and her paintings are in private collections in France, Spain, Egypt, Korea and Uzbekistan.
Born in Liverpool in 1944, Michael attended Dovedale Primary School with George Harrison and Quarry Bank High School with John Lennon, before completing his studies in architecture at Liverpool Polytechnic School of Architecture and in town planning at the Sorbonne, Paris. He has worked on a number of prestigious projects in Europe and the Near and Middle East. From 1982 to 1995 he was an international consultant for UNESCO’s Cultural Heritage Division and the World Heritage Bureau, working in some twenty member states on conservation, site management and museum design projects, International Safeguarding Campaigns, World Heritage nomination files and post-conflict emergency assistance missions. He is the author of numerous UNESCO publications.
Michael first came to Uzbekistan in 1994 as a consultant and later Chief Technical Advisor on a UNESCO/UNDP project for the revival of the historical Silk Road Cities of Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva and Kokand, including the restoration of historic monuments and traditional neighbourhoods, along with the revival of the traditional crafts. His strong interest in the revival of the traditional Central Asian crafts, particularly traditional woven textiles and ceramics, dates from that time.
From 1996 he became the first Head of Office of UNESCO’s Office in Tashkent and Culture Advisor to Central Asian countries, until his retirement in 2007, when he was awarded the Orden Dustlik by President Islom Karimov.
In 2008 he was appointed interim Managing Director of Turquoise Mountain NGO in Kabul, one of HRH Prince Charles’ charities.
Michael’s passion for painting dates from his childhood, with regular visits with his parents to the Walker Art Gallery and Sudley House museum with their outstanding collections of paintings by the Victorian English Pre-Raphaelites, as well as early Flemish and Italian renaissance masters, which have remained a strong technical influence on his work.
He has exhibited his paintings twice in the NBU Gallery of Modern Art, carried out private commissions for mural paintings in Spain, and his paintings are in private collections in England, France, Spain, Egypt, Korea, Cambodia, Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan.
The title ‘Qamar al-Nisa’It is a name of Arabic origin, ‘nisa’ meaning lady and ‘qamar’ meaning ‘full moon’, a symbol of beauty in oriental poetry.
The exhibition entrance is free of charge!