Tovtin, Vasiliy Ivanovich
Vasiliy Ivanovich Tovtin was born January 10, 1935 into an ethnic Ukrainian family in the vilage of Velikiy Luchki (Velikie Luki) in the Carpathian mountains of Ukraine. In 1961, he graduated from the Lviv Institute of Decorative and Applied Art along with Mikhail Antonyuk, who would become his close friend and frequent collaborator. The two both moved to what is now Astana, then named Tselinograd as the center of the Tselina, or Virgin Lands, campaign. Antonyuk and Tovtin would become Tselinograd’s resident monumentalists, decorating the city with several works in mosaic and stained glass.
In 1969-1970, the pair worked on their only Almaty commission, a mosaic relief at the headquarters of the Komsomol organization in Kazakhstan (later the headquarters of the UN).