Famous Kalmyk sculptor Vladimir Vaskin celebrates his 80th birthday

On February 12, Honoured Artist of the Russian Federation, Honoured Worker of Arts of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Honorary Citizen of Kalmykia Vladimir Vaskin turned 80. Vladimir Vaskin was born in Elista on February 12, 1941. He spent his childhood and youth with his family in Siberian exile. His grandfather and father were skilled artisans; his uncle was an icon painter and goldsmith. Therefore, after a decade, the young man did not think twice about choosing a profession. He graduated from the Rostov Art School named after Mitrofan Grekov and the Leningrad Higher School of Industrial Art named after Vera Mukhina.

The artist began with the design of the interiors of buildings. One of his first and most successful works was the design of the Teegin Girl bookstore in Elista. Impeccable taste, knowledge of the traditions of national art and high professionalism allowed the sculptor to soon become a real master. He created many wonderful works, such as "Zaya-Pandita", "Girl", "Bather", "Country Artist", "Dante", "Legend of the South Seas", "Genghis Khan" and other compositions made in wood, metal and stone. They are kept in state collections and private museums in Russia, Mongolia, Slovakia, the USA, etc. Many sculptural compositions adorn the Chess City, parks and squares of Elista.

The images inspired by the Kalmyk epic "Dzhangar" and Buddhist art became the main theme in the work of the artist. He is the author of the sculptures installed not only in Elista khuruls, but also in many localities of Kalmykia. The main one is the nine-meter statue of Buddha Shakyamuni located in the Central Khurul of the republic. On the territory of the temple, there are statues of 17 pandit scholars of his work.
Editor’s note: On December 27, 2005, a new temple was opened in Elista: The Golden Abode of Shakyamuni Buddha. This temple is known as the largest in Europe, with the largest statue of Buddha and the world's only sculptural composition of 17 pandit scholars of the ancient Indian University of Nalanda.
The Golden Abode of Buddha Shakyamuni was built with the blessing of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama (during a visit in 2004, the Dalai Lama consecrated the site for construction). The khurul was built in record time, in just nine months.
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov contributed personal funds to its construction, and made many efforts to attract additional funds. Residents of all districts of Kalmykia, regardless of religious affiliation and beliefs, made donations for the construction of the shrine. The temple has become the hallmark of Elista - the capital of the steppe region.