Usto Mumin

Николаев, Александр Васильевич (Усто Мумин)

Painter, graphic artist

Born Voronezh, 30 August 1897

Died Tashkent, 27 June 1957

Usto-Mumin was born as Aleksandr Nikolaev, the son of a military engineer. After his study in the Sumsk military school he attended art classes in Tver and at A. Buchkuri's studio in Voronezh. In 1919 he studied under K. Malevich at the Moscow Vkhutemas. The same year he was called to join the Red Army and after demobilization he was sent to Tashkent with the mandate to develop and improve art and culture in the central Asian republics. From 1929 to 1931 he lived in Leningrad and worked with V. Lebedev as an illustrator. Nikolaev was fascinated by the traditions of Uzbekistan which would influence his works. After conversion to the Islam he took the name Ustin Mumin, which means Faithful Master. In 1938 he was imprisoned in Moscow, but after his release in 1942 he returned to Tashkent and started working for the theatre and established the Uigur theatre.