Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute




Through the Eyes of Durdy Bayramov: Turkmen Village Life, 1960-80’s

Durdy Bayramov (1938-2014) grew up in an orphanage in Turkmenistan and overcame the significant challenges of his youth to become an acclaimed Eurasian artist. Through a prolific career as a painter that spanned more than 55 years, Bayramov was best known for his compelling portraits. His tender approach evokes the special character and qualities of each of his subjects, with whom he shared a deep rapport.

These photographs were selected from Durdy Bayramov’s personal archive. Although he took great pleasure in photography, Bayramov used it primarily as a tool in his artistic process and never expected that others would find them fascinating in their own right. The images provide a rare and intimate glimpse into the customs and material culture of Turkmen villagers during this period, and at the same time reflect the profound human spirit shared by all communities.

The photographs are sectioned into three categories: “Portraits of Turkmen Villagers”, “Villagers at Work”, and “Villagers at Home and Play”.

About the Artist

Acclaimed Turkmen artist Durdy Bayramov (1938–2014) grew up an orphan but rose to become one of Central Asia’s best-known and most celebrated painters. During a career that spanned over 55 years, Bayramov created more than 5,000 artistic pieces and his work has been featured in over 100 solo and group exhibitions worldwide. He was a recipient of numerous prestigious awards and distinctions, including the honorary title of People’s Artist of Turkmenistan (1991), Academician of the National Academy of Arts of Kyrgyzstan (1998), and the “For the Love of the Motherland” medal (2008), presented by the President of Turkmenistan. In addition to being represented in all the main museums in Turkmenistan, Bayramov’s paintings can be found in private collections and museums around the world.

Durdy Bayramov believed passionately in the power of art. In his own words, “Art is deeply human. It expresses hopes, lifts the spirit, and inspires confidence in one’s abilities.” We are committed to advancing his legacy by sharing with all people the profound joy of creating and experiencing fine art.