Not only nomads

Date of event: 
Tuesday, 1. October 2013

The first serious exhibition of the Kazakh modern art over the last 25 years was opened in Moscow with the assistance of the well-known trustee Marat Gelman.

“It happened so that for the last 20 years after the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the break of cultural links following it, our idea of Kazakhstan was forming mostly under the influence of the official communications policy…” such were the solemn opening words of Marat Gelman at the first serious exhibition of the Kazakh modern art in Moscow.

This is an absolutely new image of Kazakhstan – the set of Kazakh culture stereotypes is replaced by its real representation. The display of the exhibition is an attempt to overcome the popular belief about the determination of the Kazakh art by nomads’ culture. The exhibition demonstrates the more complicated structure of the Kazakh cultural code, which is formed under the influence of oppositely directed vectors. The true identity of Kazakhs is developed not only through their traditional everyday life or the images of the wild steppe idols, but also through various artefacts of the Soviet and post-Soviet ‘colonialism’, the bilingualism of the government bodies and mass media of Kazakhstan, the rapid Islamisation of the Middle Asia, the ambivalent status of women in the family and the social life of the country.

The exhibition organizers showed Russians the actual state of the modern art of Kazakhstan. The participants of the exhibition in Moscow are the following: Rustam Halfin, Said Atabekov, Erbossyn Meldibekov, Almagul Menlibaeva, Moldakul Narymbetov, Alexander Ugai, Oksana Shatalova, Arystan Shalbaev, Aleksey Shindin. According to the visitors and fine art experts, this generation of artists is totally different from its Russian colleagues both in their themes, thinking method and approaches to the work with materials.

The exhibition in Moscow contained some artworks that were demonstrated at the exhibition The Face of the Bride at the PERMM museum - the most major display of the Kazakh modern art in Russia over the resent 25 years, but it is not going to be the last one, judging from the interest towards the creative activity of Kazakhstani artists.

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