Klara Tayganova
1946 - 2014
Klara Tayganova’s name is not well-known beyond her home village of Balykly, where she spent all of her life. The isolation from the big city along with her cultural context make her artistic method and trajectory particularly interesting. Tayganova’s artworks can be defined within the terms of the so-called “naïve art”—the art that is characterized by a certain ingenuousness and an intuitive approach to the choice of subjects, themes, and styles, as well as by the artist’s lack of professional training. The main characteristic of this type of art is, however, its pure intention of self-expression. All of these features can be found in Tayganova’s paintings—but her artistic life was broader and more diverse than that.
Klara Parferyevna Tayganova was born in 1946 in a Tatar village of Balykly of Bashkir Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. The tenth child in the family, she studied at a local school for eight years. In 1964, she got married. The same year, she got a job at the Bakalinsky state fruit farm, where she worked growing agricultural crops. After 13 years, she had to retire due to ill health.
As her sister Margarita Parferyevna says, Klara always had artistic talents and a rich imagination. However, her artistic life only started after 46, when with support of her fellow villagers Klara Parferyevna became the director of the Novobalyklinsky village House of Culture. While working there, she graduated from the directorial (?) department of Sterlitamak Art College in the early 1990s, and started playing the harmonica and the squeezebox, as well as writing poems. She was the artistic director of events ranging from holiday celebrations to plays, led the Nur (meaning “ray” in Tatar) drama club and the Tuganaylar (“my dears” or “my kin” in Tatar) folk collective that performed chastushkas—humorous folk songs. They also sang songs written by kryashens (an ethnoreligious group among Tatars of Volga and Urals regions that practice Orthodox Christianity), including Tayganova herself, and studied ancient rituals and traditions of their people.
From the early 90s, Klara Tayganova was actively painting, too. At the request of her sister Margarita who taught English at the village school, she decorated her classroom with portraits of writers: Daniel Defoe, Lewis Carroll, Mark Twain, Agatha Christie (whose portrait can be seen at the exhibition). In her spare time, she painted portraits of her fellow villagers and usually gifted the resulting works to them. Tayganova also worked in the landscape genre, painting what were probably the views of her home village (Untitled. Landscape with Birch Trees and Birds, exhibited here), and turned to national themes as well (Salavat, exhibited here).
Klara Tayganova used the materials she had on hand: for painting, she used wood, plywood, or particle board instead of canvas, and while it is not clear what type of paints she used, it is clear that their color range was quite limited. Masks (exhibited here) were also made from makeshift materials: cutoffs of fabric and fur, rough wooden elements, paper.
Tayganova passed away in 2017 in her home village of Balykly.