ASTANA – An exhibition of original work by Zamzegul Oralbayeva, as well as crafts from a children’s village supported by the Dara Arulary (Women of the Steppe) public fund opened in the Ramada Plaza Hotel. The exhibition, entitled Horn of Salvation, is being presented by the Shezhіre Gallery of Modern Art.
Oralbayeva works in felt, one of the oldest and most traditional materials in Kazakh handicrafts. Kazakh homes (yurts), carpets, interior decorations and clothing were for centuries made partially or completely of felt. Compact and easy to transport, felt was an ideal material for nomads, and, over time, traditionally Kazakh patterns emerged. One of the most common is the koshkar myuizy (sheep horns), symbolising strength, victory, wealth, abundance and prosperity.
In recent years, however, felt-making, along with other traditional handicrafts, has fallen into decline. Modern conditions of life in Kazakhstan, the predominance of urban population over rural, uselessness of felt products in modern apartments, as well as historical factors influenced the decline of this kind of folk art.
Oralbayeva has remained faithful to the tradition of felt-making, though, while combining with it techniques from modern figurative painting. From a largely pastel colour scheme spring animals, trees and flowers as well as landscapes and nature scenes. She also reworks certain themes, notably in the triptych “Spring” and her “Steppe Legends” series. The figures she depicts are recognisable, easy to read and create a light, contemplative mood.
During the opening, the master artist led a felt-working class for children. Oralbayeva is one of the organisers of the exhibition and president of Dala Arulary. She works to promote the cultural values of the peoples of Kazakhstan.