World famous Siberian sculptor Dashi Namdakov has been commissioned to create a new landmark sculpture in Kyzyl - the capital of Tyva - marking the spirit of Asia.
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'We believe it is important to implement this project by the 100th anniversary of Tyva's unification with Russia which will be celebrated in 2014,' said head of the Tyva administration Sholban Kara-ool.
'The embankment of the Yenisei river in Kyzyl should represent a new spiritual symbol in Asia, uniting different nations. It should be a fundamental construction to symbolise the geographical centre of Asia anew.'
An obelisk already stands in Kyzyl denoting the centre of Asia, a long standing claim by this republic in southern Siberia.
Local leaders in the city of 109,000 people want to emphasise 'the Asian brand' and hope the new Namdakov monument will 'send shivers down the spine' of visitors, encouraging them to return time and again to Tyva.
'Reconstruction must radically change the face of the central part of Kyzyl, to make the capital of Tyva the Asian brand,' said Sholban Kara-ool.
'The Central Asia obelisk, which symbolises the geographical heart of the Asian continent, now looks a bit lost in the wrong environment of the old buildings.
'The urban exterior and the city's good location at the beginning of one of the greatest rivers of the world, is not emphasised but for thousands of travellers the opportunity to visit this great river is often the only purpose of a long journey.'
The sculptor was in Kyzyl this week to assess the task.
'It is very, very interesting. But I realise that is not always the coolest idea that grows into a masterpiece. I need time to rethink everything I had absorbed here today, on the bank of the Yenisei River,' he said.
He was also quoted saying: 'I realise it is a great responsibility and a hyper-complex task. It is no easy thing to find the right image.'
He went to the National Museum of Tuva, where he carefully examined the Hall of Shamanism, examples of "Scythian Gold", and a collection of stone-cutting works of outstanding masters of the country.
Namdakov is famed for his sculptures horsemen, warriors, shamans and Buddhist lamas depicting the ancient Siberian and Central Asian cultures.
He was born in 1967 in Ukurik, a Siberian village of some 60 families in the Land of the Buryat Mongols. He studied in Krasnoyarsk, and his work is acclaimed in the West as it is in his homeland.
He once said: 'My Grandpa was a very gifted story-teller. He knew a lot of legends and stories about Buryats. And I remember them with my bones, inwardly.
'This feeling is very strong and more on subconscious level. I would like to understand Buryat and Buddhist tradition rationally, yet, I believe, something within me knows it better than I do.
'My teacher at the Art School was Lev Golovnitsky, a very fine and good Russian sculptor. And he helped me to appreciate and understand the art of sculpture and world tradition. And I am a student of Michelangelo and Bourdelle, Bruegel and Old Japanese art. And I am also myself.'
World famous sculptor has been commissioned to create a new landmark sculpture in Kyzyl - the capital of Tyva - marking the spirit of Asia.
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