Location: Ukurik, Chita Region, Russia
Looking at Dashi Namdakov’s sculptures, you can almost see them come alive in a fantastical world where all of your wildest dreams exist. His artwork has a twist of modern that melts perfectly into an ancient style of art, crossing the boundaries of time and space, forming an epic story of the ancient world with the new.
Dashi Namdakov’s family comes from the ancient clan of blacksmiths– the Darkhan. Only the people of that clan were entrusted with working with fire, a sacred symbol of the chosen. The families apart of the Darkhan always made the finest jewellery and art. Danshi was born in the Buryat village of Ukurik, Chita Region of Russia and was the sixth of eight children of Balzhan and Buda-Khanda Namdakov.
In 1988, Dashi started to study at Krasnoyarsk State Institute of Fine Arts. Upon graduation in 1992, he returned to Ulan-Ude in order to continue working as an artist.
During the 1990s, Dashi opened a small jewelry workshop in Ulan-Ude. He once said that all the profits made from that venture was spent on bronze. “Casting bronze is a complex technological process which cannot be performed on one’s own and requires trained staff who need to be paid. We would have had more sculptors among us had the process been made easier to set up.”
It was in 2000, when Dashi had his first exhibit in the Irkutsk Art Museum. The exhibit was a huge success, which would lead him a few years later to his next exhibit in Moscow. As part of a group exhibit at the Central House of Artists, Dashi presented his works among other young Russian sculptors. Soon the public began to talk about Namdakov’s art in the Russian capital. He then moved to Moscow in 2004.
Since his first exhibit, Dashi has had many exhibits of his art around the world –Tokyo and Beijing to New York and Los Angeles and many of his artworks are in museums and he has many private collectors, including The Russian Ethnographic Museum in St. Petersburg and the Museum of Oriental Art.
In 2012, he unveiled his huge sculpture of Genghis Khan on his horse in London at the Marble Arch.
Here is the artist’s statement regarding this piece:
This majestic equestrian statue shows a rider wearing medieval Mongolian armour, with arms outstretched, lost in deep contemplation. His erect posture, powerful body and the self-confidence exuded by the whole heroic image suggest a sense of dignity, spiritual strength and a life both long and hard. The warrior’s proud steed is standing still, its head held low, while the wind plays with its streaming mane.
Despite the wealth of decorative detail (golden plaques on the livery, scenes of hunting beasts shown in relief, the special ‘antique’ patina of the plaited hair), this is a powerful and consistent image of the ancient hero of the Mongols who has become part of global civilisation. The horse seems like a throne supporting a divine being.
Namdakov has a special reverence for his subject. What he offers is a new interpretation of a man whose life was full of terror and valour, who has become an epic hero and has been deified by his descendants.
Onlookers are presented with the classic epic situation: facing a difficult choice, horse and rider pause at the very brink of an invisible chasm – the edge of the sky they are about to leave in order to descend to the human world. This evokes associations with the story of Geser, the great hero of the Buryat and Mongol epic traditions.20 A folk saying comes to mind: ‘Mortals cannot judge the affairs of the gods.’ -Dashi Namdakov
My favorites of his equine collections are his Genghis Khan statue and his sculpture of archers “Royal Hunting and the Center of Asia” below. I like the movement in this statue, it feels as if the horses will run right off the base! And with the archer’s arm drawn back, makes the feeling of tension as the arrow would have left the bow to strike it’s target.