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Astana, Kazakhstan • 11 March, 2024 | 17:24
3 min read

From Prose to Poetry and the Silver Screen: February's Commemorative Journey in Kazakhstan

This year commemorates anniversaries of Saken Zhunusov, Abdilda Tazhibayev, and Shaken Aimanov

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Shaken Aimanov (Collage by QazMonitor)
Shaken Aimanov (Collage by QazMonitor)

This February is unfolding in Kazakhstan as a month of significant anniversaries, commemorating distinguished figures who have left an enduring impact on the nation's cultural landscape. Commencing with the 90th anniversary of Saken Nurmakovich Zhunusov, a renowned writer and playwright celebrated for his contributions to Kazakh literature, the month also marked the 115th anniversary of Tazhibayev Abdilda, an outstanding poet and playwright. On February 15, the 110th anniversary of actor and director Shaken Aimanov was observed, celebrating his profound influence on Kazakhstani cinematography.

While this is not an exhaustive list of notable figures honored in Kazakhstan this month, QazMonitor has chosen to explore the creative paths of three authors, whose rich artistic legacies are embedded in Kazakhstan's history.

Saken Zhunusov (1934-2006): Prose Writer and Playwright


February 1 marked the 90th anniversary of the birth of the outstanding Kazakh writer and playwright Saken Nurmakovich Zhunusov. Born in the village of Kyzyl-Tu, he made a significant contribution to Kazakh literature.

Zhunusov initiated his career in the magazine Pioneer and later worked in various literary and theatrical institutions. Initially focusing on children's literature, he subsequently delved into more profound themes, creating the novel "The House in the Steppe," which depicted the social contradictions during the period of the Virgin Lands Campaign development.

Engaging in dramaturgy, Zhunusov authored 17 plays, including acclaimed works such as "Stronger than Death" and the State Prize-winning "Equinox." His novel-dialogue "Akan Seri" vividly portrays the life of an akyn and the social structure of Kazakh society in the 19th century. Through his works, Zhunusov skillfully reflected both past and present life, with characters characterized by an unwavering desire to seek truth.

In addition to his original works, Zhunusov successfully translated pieces by renowned authors such as L. Tolstoy and S. Zweig into Kazakh. Despite his passing in 2006, his literary masterpieces remain an integral part of the golden fund of Kazakh literature.

Abdilda Tazhibayev (1909-1998): Poet, Playwright, and Writer


On February 4, Kazakhstan commemorated the 115th anniversary of the birth of Abdilda Tazhibayev, an outstanding Kazakh poet, playwright, doctor of philology, professor, and People's Writer of Kazakhstan. Born in Kyzylorda, Tazhibayev embarked on his career in 1926, contributing to the newspaper "Yenbekshi Kazakh" and later assuming roles such as deputy editor of "Za Med" and "Leninshil Zhas."

The author’s prolific career, which began in 1927, spanned various genres, including poetry, drama, and literary criticism. His notable works explored social and philosophical themes, earning him recognition for his significant contributions to Kazakh literature.

As a playwright, Tazhibayev crafted enduring works such as "White Birch," "Blossom, Steppe!," "Maira," "Fellows" (Priyateli — QM), and "Cliff." He also wrote the script for the feature film "Zhambul" alongside N.F.Pogodin. The writer’s influence extended beyond Kazakhstan, as his works were translated into numerous languages, showcasing the global impact of his literary prowess.

Shaken Aimanov (1914-1970): Maestro of Kazakh Cinematography

On February 15, the 110th anniversary of Shaken Aimanov, the maestro of Kazakh cinematography, was celebrated. Born in 1914, Aimanov made a significant contribution to the development of Kazakhstani cinematography.

Over a decade and a half in the film industry, Aimanov directed more than ten feature films, leaving an indelible mark on the world of cinema. His directorial debut in 1954 with "Poem about Love" paved the way for other successful films like "Daughter of Steppes," "We Live Here," "Our Dear Doctor," and "In One Neighborhood."

Apart from his directorial achievements, Aimanov was a distinguished actor, appearing in films such as "Rayhan," "White Rose," "Songs of Abay," and "The Golden Horn." From 1953 until his death in 1970, he served as the artistic director of the national film studio "Kazakhfilm," which now bears his name.

Shaken Aimanov, a People's Artist of the Kazakh SSR and the USSR, was a recipient of multiple awards, including the State Prize of the USSR and the Order of Lenin. In Pavlodar, a movie theater named after Aimanov stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of this cinematic luminary. His films not only graced the screens of world cinemas but, more importantly, captured the hearts of millions of viewers, solidifying his place in the history of Kazakhstan’s cinematography.

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