1919 - 1995
Galiya Imasheva was born on May 17, 1915 in a small Siberian town of Kamen (now Kamen-na-Obi, Altai Krai) into a schoolteacher’s family. Her father greatly encouraged her artistic talents that she already showed as a child. In 1921, the family moved to Barnaul, and in 1931 to Ufa, where the artist studied at the Bashkir Art College until 1934. During her student years, she spent a lot of her free time at theaters, where set design interested her more than acting. Unfortunately, only easel painting was taught at the College at the time. She studied under Kasim Devletkildeev and Aleksandr Tyulkin, whose influence can be seen in her set designs. After graduation, she briefly worked as a tour guide at the Nesterov Museum.

Imasheva began her work as a set designer in 1935 at the Baimak State and Collective Farm Theater. It was a small provincial theater that nonetheless toured a lot, and the artist barely had enough time to create set designs. She did everything herself, from sketching and modeling to creating the designs. Soon, her work was noticed, and she was invited to work at the Bashkir Drama Theater. Imasheva was soon entrusted with working on stage plays, and in 1936 she was already making set designs for Shakespeare’s Othello, Burangulov’s A Bashkir Wedding, and Chekhov’s The Vaudevilles; in 1937, she worked on Ibragimov’s Slippers and Fayzi’s Galiya-banu.

For Galiya-banu, Imasheva was awarded with a trip to Moscow to become acquainted with theater design there. She was especially impressed by works by Viktor Simov and Vladimir Dmitriev, Fyodor Fedorovsky and Vadim Ryndin. Later, in the 1950s, she would study under Ryndin and Fedorovsky at creative workshops for artists from regional theaters.

During World War II, the drama theater and the opera theater (which opened in Ufa in 1939) shared the same building. Imasheva worked on musical plays as well as on TASS Windows—a nationwide project of propaganda posters that boosted people’s morale and informed them about news from the frontlines.

In 1943, Imasheva and her theater company visited Stalingrad (now Volgograd) at the risk of their lives. There, she made portraits of the Bashkir division soldiers. The same year, once she returned to the republic, she was awarded with the title of Honored Artist of Bashkir Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1944, Imasheva and her husband, Bulat Imashev, were sent to Uchaly to organize a state and collective farm theater there. The theater was recognized as one of the best in the region. However, in 1946, the artist’s husband suddenly passed away, and she returned to Ufa.

While working as a set designer, Imasheva created a lot of sketches but also made easel paintings and drawings. Dmitriev, whom she saw as an authority figure when it came to work, said that it is important for an artist working in theater to maintain and develop their skills as a painter at all stages of their career.

In 1955, Imasheva created set designs for Uncle Vanya. The same year, she received the title of an Honored Artist of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. An important stage in Imasheva’s art was work on Mustay Karim’s On the Night of the Lunar Eclipse, which is considered the first Bashkir tragedy.

The last play that Imasheva worked on was Mothers Wait for Their Sons in 1975 and 1979.

Galiya Imasheva passed away in Ufa in 1995.