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Home / Mintimer Shaimiev: “It would be nice if the statue “Khranitelnitza (Guardian) ” found its place in the Year of parks and gardens in Tatarstan”
Mintimer Shaimiev: “It would be nice if the statue “Khranitelnitza (Guardian) ” found its place in the Year of parks and gardens in Tatarstan”

Mintimer Shaimiev: “It would be nice if the statue “Khranitelnitza (Guardian) ” found its place in the Year of parks and gardens in Tatarstan”

A Statue “Guardian”, which received a mixed assessment in a republic, will not be mounted in Bolgar. About this in an exclusive interview with the newspaper “Vechernyaya Kazan” State Counselor Mintimer Shaimiev said. Nevertheless, by his words, relation to the creation of the Buryat sculptor Dashi Namdakov, the society is gradually changing for the better, and now in Tatarstan a new place for the statue is being looked for.

The exhibition of statues opened this week in London’s Hyde Park reminded Tatarstaners of the existence of the statue of “Guardian” made by the Buryat sculptor Dashi Namdakov which at the initiative of Mintimer Shaimiev had been planned to be installed in Bolgar, still in 2012 on the anniversary of the adoption of Islam by the Volga Bulgaria, but failed. As it turns out, in London today not the original “Guardian” is displayed but its copy. But where is the real one? And if it still appear l in front of the people? These questions by “Vechernyaya Kazan” were put to the RT State adviser, Chairman of Board of Trustees of the Fund ” Vozrozhdenie (Revival)” Mintimer Shaimiev.

– Mintimer Shaimiev, in the absence of official information on the whereabouts of a 12-meter statue, men say that the “Guardian” has settled in your summer residence…

– I am familiar with this version (laughs). It can not be in my summer house, because it is the property of Fund “Revival”. “Guardian ” was and currently is in Bolgar. It is perfectly safe.

– What is the cost of “Guardian”? According to some reports, 30 million rubles.

– Yes, it’s true, it costs about 30 million. I want to say that for this work this is not a lot of money.

– The doorway into your private office “guards” a miniature “Guardian ” (a height of not more than one meter. – EG). Where is it from?

– It’s a gift from Dashi Namdakov. I first met him at the exhibition, which took place in our gallery “Hazine” in June 2011. Prior to that, I saw only a few his works that interested me for its originality. There, at the exhibition, I saw “The

Guardian,” that I liked immediately. After all, this is the most winged snow leopard, a totem, a symbol of the Bulgarian state. I’ll tell you that a strong state always chose a strong animal as its symbol. A winged snow leopard – a symbol of strength, on land and in the sky. It turns out that it is – “An All-Powerful” … I had an idea to set the “The Guardian” in the ancient Bolgar. The next day we flew with the sculptor to Bolgar. Dashi said, “That would be here on a high bank, to mount it up, overlooking the reservoir.” Since the work ” not to be lost,” it needs more space. We ordered the statue in Italy. Dashi recommended, he said that the quality of performance there is the highest.

– Finally, religious leaders and the public did not appreciate your idea…

– When we started, we articulated it before spiritual leaders, and the public. We worked openly. We have repeatedly met and discussed the idea with the Supreme Mufti of Russia Talgat Tadzhuddin, chairman of the Russian Council of Muftis Sheikh Ravil Gainutdin and the then Mufti of Tatarstan Ildus Hazrat Fayzov. We have heard the opinion of each of them. And I saw that there are doubts … But no one can deny history. They say that there are elements of paganism statue … And why they do not have it , if the majority of the peoples for many centuries

ago were pagan? It is only later, new religions – Christianity, Islam have appeared … Dashi Namdakov while working on his “Guardian ” was not even in Tatarstan, and he could not imagine that we put eye on him.

– Over the past three years in the republic, in your opinion, the attitude to the “Guardian ” has changed? It seems to me the society has already begun to develop the opinion that the work by Namdakov should be perceived solely as an art object. Especially, since we have a secular state…

– I emphasize the “Guardian ” – a work of art. While everyone understands the art in his own way, and nobody can be blamed for what they like or do not like, because we are all different. I remember how, during the first wave of discussion over the statue notes sounded: why the “Guardian” on the wings has no feathers (laughs) … But I also see that the supporters of the sculpture by Namdakov is growing, more positive public opinion already is formed. Now in London, an exhibition of copies of our “Guardian.” I like the statement by the mayor of Westminster: “Every day I go past her, and she likes me.”

– So, in the near future “Guardian ” still will find its place in Tatarstan? When will this historical event to happen?

– Now a winged snow leopard is looking for its place. There are many options. Someone offers to install the statue at the Kazan railway station, someone says, “The Guardian” will look great in a river port. Increasingly offers about Innopolis are received. It seems to me that this work should be in a large area, open space … This year the Year of parks and gardens has been declared in Tatarstan. The old squares are recreated, new ones are laid … This factor must also contribute to finding a suitable place for the statue. I think it will be. It would be nice if the place for the “Guardian” to be defined this year.

Elena Gorbunchikova, The Vechernyaya Kazan

Photo by Alexander Gerasimov

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