Three heroes on the walls of # 81 high school appear as if they came to life from a fairytale. A brave girl, valiant men, and а fire-bird proudly adorn the grey walls of the school. These three mosaics are assembled on the walls of a building that was built in 1974. Initially, this building was built to house kindergarten #116, and only in 2005 it was given over to the school. A man who was schooled in this kindergarten, now remembers the following: “One of the things I remember from the time when I went to that kindergarten is that I loved looking at the mosaics and touching their glossy surface.” The school now has a big area and 915 schoolchildren study at this school.
Mural painting throughout the Soviet Union was in its heyday in the 1970s, and the buildings were often adorned by decorative mosaics. On the one hand, mosaics added an atmosphere of conviviality to boring, grey and monolithic buildings, and on the other hand educated people about the ideals of the time, namely hard work, love for the homeland, and a revolutionary mind. Unfortunately, we don’t know the author of this mosaic. But, according to another Tajik artist, it is possible that the mosaic belongs to Leon Gurjieff, a Tajik muralist of Armenian roots. And he explains his theory as follows: “You can see the Caucasian motifs in this mosaic. It seems as though the author was trying to portray Tajik folklore heroes, but he wasn’t quite successful.
The characters of this mosaic are on three separate buildings. A brave girl is placed on one of the buildings with a bird-shaped bow in her hands. The artist has put courageous young men encircled by simurgh on the other two buildings — the happiness bird (known as firebird in Russian mythology) and some other creatures. The first mosaic shows an image of a warrior girl. She is stretching her bow, which is symbolically depicted in the form of a mountain eagle, and her black plait is the string of the bow. She is aiming. Aside from the eagle, a deer stands next to the warrior girl, it is her loyal friend. The deer is looking at her as though it is waiting for her instructions. “This is a Tajik heroine. This could be Queen Tomiris (the ruler of the Saks who defeated the Persian king Cyrus), or the fabled Gordāfarīd (a female warrior from Shahname), the Soviet Zeboniso Rustamova (World Champion in Archery) or it could be the heroine of modern Tajikistan, Mavzuna Chorieva (a boxer, Olympics medalist). In fact, that’s how powerful the Tajik women are,” a shool girl said.
All characters are painted in bright orange colour, and their images are embedded by the sun. The heroes shine with bright colours against a backdrop of blue-grey ornaments that immediately catch the viewer’s eye. The artwork is complemented by various national floral patterns and geometric ornaments. We could assume that the author was inspired by Shahname (an epic poem about Iranian Kings, by Firdousi, circa XI c), and depicted the image of the heroine on the mosaic based on Gordāfarīd – the shieldmaden. And indeed, Gordāfarīd is one of the most striking female characters in Shahname. She is bold, and courageous, a shiledmaden, ever ready to defend her homeland, and certainly her image is in no way inferior to the image of male warriors. Gordāfarīd fought alongside men, skilfully wielded a sword and was excellent at archery.
When portraying the image of a woman warrior, the author has endowed her with certain national features. Dressed in a bright Tajik dress, her head is adorned with a traditional skullcap. When looking closely, one can see a sword-shape ornament in each of the four corners. Perhaps the author decided to add swords to the painting, thus symbolically referring to Shahname heroine. Female heroism described in Shahname, was also introduced into cinematography to impact the public perception and shape the image of heroic women. The film “Rustam and Sukhrob”, for instance, shot in 1972 by Tajikfilm, tells the story of a duel between a father and a son. However, it also introduces the image of Gordāfarīd to the Soviet audience.
"Духтар бо тиру камон"
Мактаби 81, кӯчаи Шамсӣ 73/5