Irkutsk Art Museum (Siberian Art Branch)
Художественный музей (Отдел сибирского искусства)
Карла Маркса, 23
Open from 10am to 6pm, Closed Mondays
Entrance: 200 rubles (foreign adults), 150 rubles (foreign students)
100 rubles (photography permit)
In downtown Irkutsk, not far from the Central Market (Tsentral’niy Rinok) you’ll find the Siberian Art Branch of the Irkutsk Art Museum, a small, two-storied museum featuring special exhibitions of Siberian art which change every few months. The museum also holds several permanent exhibitions: Siberian Portrait, featuring portraits of Siberian merchants and intelligentsia from the 18th and 19th centuries, Siberian Icons, and Primitive Art of Siberia: From Antiquity to the Future, which features art from native peoples of Siberia.
I attended the museum while it was featuring an exhibit of sculpture and drawing by the Buryat artist Dashi Namdakov, who is also famous for having designed the costumes for the critically-acclaimed 2007 movie Mongol. On display on the first floor were some of his larger sculptures and drawings, as well as a viewing area set up to show a four-part documentary on his life and art, featuring interviews with him on his life and artistic process, as well as footage showing rituals of the Buryat shamanistic and Buddhist culture in which he was brought up.
Upstairs the exhibit continued, in a large, spacious hall with plenty of room for many more of his sculptures, which range from two to seven feet in height. Adjoining this hall are the permanent exhibition halls, which are included in the admission for the special exhibition.
If you get the chance to visit the Museum of Siberian Art, don’t forget to sign the guestbook left for the featured artists of the current special exhibit. It’s interesting to see all the different places people have come from to visit the museum, and nice to add your own note to the collection.