Exhibition of the work of seven Central Asian artists

Studio 65a
12 February –7 March 2015

Part of a private collection of artists from the Central Asian countries of modern Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.  

Central Asian art which encompasses a large portion of Asia —with its highly varied topography and climate and its diversity of ethnic and linguistic backgrounds— has a complicated history and these differences in turn encouraged the formation of distinctive schools of varied artistic styles. The work of the seven artists represented clearly shows this richness and diversity. Many of the paintings displayed deal with questions of social justice and cover subject matter including war, freedom and a love of country.

Yuristanbek Shygaev (Kyrgyzstan) is the head of Bishkek’s museum of fine arts, he found inspiration in European art and some of his pictures remind us of Picasso, whose work inspired him the most.  Shygaev is one of the first artists who brought modern art sensibilities to Kryrgyzstan.

As an artist, Shigaev is considered a master storyteller of ancient Kyrgyz myths. He shapes the legends and heritage of the people by layering geographical, philosophical, religious, and national symbols to create rich, abstract canvases that have won him international praise. The picture “Freedom” shows his idea of the liberation of Kyrgyzstan in 90s as a bird that has been caged for a long time. 

Baltabai Bapyshulu (Kyrgyzstan) became well-known in his country in the 90’s as the Soviet Union was on the brink of dissolution. Bapyshulu’s way in expressing the national identity of Kyrgyz people is remarkable. You can see this in his ‘Kyrgyz Beauty’ with mixed technique, combining various types of paint and pigments. His fine way of expression makes this picture unique. 

Bapyshulu was made famous in Kyrgyzstan with a significant work of ‘Kurmanjan Datka’, an important political and military leader during the late 1800s. Kurmanjan, was a strong-willed, courageous and independent woman before her time who ran away from an arranged marriage.  Her feisty reputation got the attention of the ruler of Altai, who married her and she became known as “The Queen of the South”. 

When her husband was murdered in a palace coup in 1862 Kurmanjan was recognized as ruler of the Alai and given the title of "datka" (general). To this day she is revered for her diplomacy in saving her nation from complete destruction by the Russians.

An epic historical film ‘Kurmanjan Datka: Queen of the Mountains’ billed as Kyrgyzstan's biggest ever blockbuster was released last year.  A spokeswoman for the Aitysh Film studio which made the production said “the film is a visual legacy for the next generation, an attempt to arouse a spirit of patriotism among the young Kyrgyz, preserve the history, and perpetuate the names of national heroes."

Bahtiyor Umarov (Uzbekistan) His colourful picture title takes as its central theme a pomegranate, a motif found frequently in the decorative arts of many Silk Route countries. No other motif, whether floral or geometric, seems to have had the same prevalence and the same richness of meaning as the pomegranate.

Qulîxanê Javoev (Kazakhstan) Kurdish born artist Javoev (b 1948) shows the national ethnic diversity of this big country in his pictures. In his paintings, Javoev celebrates the beauty of life, goodness and love; with bright colours pleasing the eye and inspiring hope.  The uniqueness of his work lies in his artistic touch in interpreting Kurdish history. 

He has succeeded extraordinarily well in describing the artistic elements of the Kurdish philosopher and poet, Ehmedê Xanî, reviving him from the ruins of history and giving him a visage that was acknowledged by millions.  Javoev is also known for his portraits of famous Kurds and is one of the most talented illustrators of the Kurdish Renaissance.

Vladimir Svetlov (b Witebsk, Belarus 1957 - d 2008 Hofgeismar, Germany) His first creative work was in clay at 14 years old, then at 17 he went to the Leningrad Secondary Art School for gifted children. Svetlov lived on and off in Yaroslavl, Russia (250 kilometres northeast of Moscow) and the museum there has some of his works of art. He was a member of the Russian Society of Artists, and from 1982-1986 lived in the GDR, where he worked for the Russian Armed Forces Administration. 

After the unification of Germany, he lived and worked in Hofgeismar (in the district of Kassel, Germany) and in1995 became a member of the The Kassel Art Association and his work are in the permanent collection the Hofgeismar City Museum

His work is in the style of the Russian avant garde, a large, influential wave of modern art that flourished i n the Russian Empire and Soviet Union, approximately 1890 to 1930.  Its creative and popular height was in the period between the Russian Revolution of 1917 and 1932, at which point the ideas of the avant-garde clashed with the newly emerged state-sponsored direction of Socialist Realism.