Sidorkin, Yevgeniy Matveyevich
Yevgeniy Matveyevich Sidorkin was born in 1930 in Lebyazhye, Russia. After graduating from the Kazan Art School in 1951 and the Repin Leningrad Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in 1957, Sidorkin moved to Almaty. He fell in love and married a well-known artist and actress, Gulfairus Ismailova.
Sidorkin is best known for his work in graphic art, illustrating some of the best-selling books of his age with his monochrome drawings and etchings.The artist is known for his distinctive style that integrated various influences from his adopted Kazakhstan, from the dynamism of Scythian art to the patterns and themes of traditional Kazakh culture.
Sidorkin entered the world of monumental art in 1963, when together with the architect Vladimir Katsev and the trained monumentalist Ivan Bogomolov, he won a contest to decorate the pediment of the Children’s Theater in Almaty. Given that Sidorkin had no background in the medium, he would always work in collaboration with other artists, providing the sketch or “cartoon” (karton) while more experienced artisans brought the design into three dimensions. In this way he made several works with Bogomolov, three of them (at the Children’s Theater, at the Kazakhfilm Studio, and at the Musical College) in an innovative format that combined the colored cement of sgraffito with the stones and tiles of mosaic. The artist Genrich Danderfer would join the duo for their works at Kazakhfilm and the Musical College, and also work as a duo with Sidorkin on his bas-relief at the Auezov Museum.
Sidorkin died in 1982, survived by his wife and their son Vadim, an artist like his parents. In the early 2000s, his family fought to save two of Sidorkin’s sgraffiti, at the Palace of Sports and the Tselinniy Cinema, that faced destruction after state-owned buildings were privatized and marked for renovation. In both cases, the works were declared impossible to save and poorly-made reproductions were installed in their place. In 2018, during the latest renovation of Tselinniy Cinema into a cultural center, it was discovered that Sidorkin’s sgraffito wasn’t completely destroyed after all, but simply covered up by drywall panels. The discovery was a major event, even covered by The Guardian in the UK, and the the building’s new owners declared their intention to preserve Sidorkin’s sgraffito in the lobby of the planned cultural center.