Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence



Faridun Zoda

Corn Madien

When I first moved to Nebraska in 1994, what I saw was a small community with a lot of cornfields. I got a very specific impression of the landscape; it had its own personality and charm. It motivated me to paint the Corn Maiden with the farms in the background and the falling corn.

In the early ’90s, my focus was on creating paintings that used visual images and symbols to express a rational idea. The idea behind Souls of Eyes within the Husk was from reading about Native American tribes who were farmers. For them, corn was a symbol of life. It was interesting for me to think of corn as many lives in one body. I used the image of eyes to represent this.

Objects also can be motivations for paintings. Wedding was based on the pairing of bottles of different shapes, and what the pairing can represent. Wine bottles are a symbol of celebration, so I thought of weddings. On the other hand, Sustenance is a pairing of objects that express the opposite of celebration; I painted a simple still life with bread and water to symbolize the very basic needs necessary for life to continue.

A lot of the time, the visual is what gives me ideas about my paintings. Fish was a pure technical design of fish as still life, using abstraction on the subject. I used the image of trout because it has beautiful red dots on its body.

Mother’s Bread is a portrait of my mother. She was well-known in our neighborhood for baking wonderful bread in her traditional oven, and she always shared her bread with our neighbors. I painted her with a breadbasket in front of her oven; it was her humanity, in the simple gesture of sharing bread, that inspired me. In high ceremony in Russian tradition, a guest is served bread and salt as a symbol of friendship, honor, and respect.

For me the process is the most important; the results will come. Before I start a painting, I already know what I’m going to paint. In the process, I find out how I’m going to paint it. I start by making a fast loose sketch, and then a watercolor. If I like the results, I transfer the sketch to canvas. Sometimes, the sketch fails on a larger scale, and then I have to develop the painting on canvas. Sometimes I never achieve the results I want and the sketch remains a sketch. For me, the painting succeeds or fails based on the strength of the idea.


Faridun Zoda was born in Tajikistan in 1958. In 1970, Zoda attended the Moscow High School for the Arts. He attended the Moscow Institute of Fine Arts in 1976, where he spent another six years and earned his MFA. His work has been featured in numerous publications, including the books Young Artists of Tajikistan, the United Nations’ Chronicle Magazine, and Manhattan Arts International. Kiechel Fine Art in Lincoln, Nebraska currently represents him.

Faridun Zoda
  • Souls of Eyes within the Husk
  • Wedding
  • Sustenance
  • Mother's Bread
  • At Fire
  • Fish
  • Silver Set
  • Quince