About Boris Uan-Zo-li, the Artist from Russia
Boris Uan-Zo-li was born in Moscow, Russia. His ancestry is amazingly multi-cultural – he is 1/4 Chinese, 1/4 Cossack and 1/2 Jewish. His mother was half-Cossack and half-Chinese. His Chinese grandfather Wang Zo Li came to Russia in 1904. After the communist revolution Zo Li Wang adopted the Russian first name, but decided to keep his Chinese name. When a Russian bureaucrat was recording his name, he made a spelling error, and the last name became Uan-Zo-li. This mistake spawned the generation of Uan-Zo-li’s.
Boris’s father, Lazar Goykhman was a Jew from a famous town of Odessa, and he worked as a civil engineer. In 1953 he was arrested and accused of “Zionism”. During the court proceedings, KGB played the recording of Lazar Goykhman telling his “friend” (who later was revealed as a KGB undercover agent) that he would walk to Israel on foot if he could. Lazar was sent to a labor camp, but luckily he survived and was released in 1955.
In 1954, Boris’s mother bribed the passport organization and changed his name from Goykhman (a Jewish last name) to Uan-Zo-li in order to protect him from the anti-Semitic prosecution and make it easier for him to be admitted to college.
Boris graduated from the Moscow Power Institute in 1962. His diploma work (equivalent to the US Master’s degree) was so original that he was awarded two patents for it.
He was employed as an electronics engineer for 30 years and during his career he authored 165 patents. He designed power supplies for Soviet Aerospace industry and was one of the leading engineers in the USSR.
In spite of his evident engineering talents, Boris always felt a strong desire to paint. While continuing to work as an engineer, he enrolled in Moscow Polygraphic Institute and graduated with a Master’s Degree in Book Illustrations in 1969. Working during the day as an electrical engineer, he would spend nights and weekends perfecting his paintings, and developed a unique style, later referred by his friends half-jokingly as “Uan-Zo-lism”.
During the Soviet times, Boris participated in four exhibitions. During one of the exhibitions a Soviet bureaucrat withdrew his paintings at the last moment because they “did not fit the communist vision” – while his name was still mentioned in the catalogue. After the fall of communism, Boris’s paintings were shown in a number of exhibitions, including the “Central House of Artists” and Exhibition Hall of the Moscow Union of Artists, which are among the most prestigious Russian centers of art. Boris’s paintings are now privately owned in Germany, Switzerland, France, and the United States.
In 2010, Boris immigrated to the United States, and currently resides in Oregon. Oregon Jewish Life has published an article about Boris in June 2018. He is a member of ORA, a Jewish cooperative of the Artists of Oregon.
Podolsk Exhibition Hall, 1985
Central House of Artists, 1987
Exhibition at the Shelkovskiy District, Moscow, 1988
Cultural Center "Motherland", Khimki, 1988
Central House of the Artists, 1990
Exhibition Hall of the Moscow Union of Artists, 2009
Concordia University, 2015
Artists Repertory Theatre, 2015
Winner of 2nd 2014 Showcase at artslant.com, Self-Portrait in Buddhist Style
Juried winner of 1st 2015 Showcase at artslant.com, Portrait N1 of Bob Dylan
Winner of 3rd 2015 Showcase at artslant.com, Portrait N1 of Woody Allen
Winner of 4th 2015 Showcase at artslant.com, City of Paris
Winner of 5th 2015 Showcase at artslant.com, Portrait N2 of Bob Dylan
Winner of 5th 2016 Showcase at artslant.com, Portrait of a young Jewish woman
Winner of 7th 2016 Showcase at artslant.com, Portrait N3 of Bob Dylan
To learn more, please contact his son, Alex Uan-Zo-li.
Phone number: 503-545-7001