ASTANA – As of Jan. 24, the Kulanshi Modern Art Centre, located on the 6th floor of Astana’s Palace of Peace and Accord, is welcoming visitors to view art history films, exhibitions by domestic and foreign artists and special studio classes for children and adults.
The centre aims to improve the overall arts scene and appreciation for the visual arts through a comprehensive programme for art enthusiasts and professionals.
Founded in 2006 by Kazakh artist Leyla Mahat, Kulanshi’s primary activity is organising exhibitions by local and foreign artists at least once a month, but the centre also works in other areas of art and art promotion.
Recently, to foster public interest, the gallery has started organising public viewings of art history films. “These films create an appreciation of the long history of the development of arts in various parts of the world,” said a student from the National University of Arts who visited the Jan. 24 screening of the first part of the three-part series of BBC’s Sister Wendy’s Story of Painting. “I hope they continue, as they add to my academic programme,” she added but chose not to give her name.
Students and visitors can also view some of the works from the films first-hand. One of the main halls of the centre hosts a permanent exhibit of classic prints and displays original lithographs by Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and Marc Chagall. The classics hall has graphic works by Rembrandt van Rijn and Albrecht Durer, restored by German art conservators.
The centre’s exhibitions are backed by serious research, according to Mahat, and every project at the centre includes a requirement for a series of theoretical and practical master-classes, giving local artists a chance to explore various painting techniques and graphic solutions by adopting the skills of famous masters from around the world.
Apart from master-classes by visiting artists, the Kulanshi centre also hosts regular studio classes of academic drawing and modern art on weekends. The classes are aimed at all age groups, from children as young as three to working professionals who want to learn to express themselves on the canvas.
The Kulanshi centre also organises occasional projects to popularise the fine arts of Kazakhstan abroad and foreign art in Kazakhstan. Among these projects is the annual flagship event, “Art Forum Kulanshi.” Artists from far and wide bring their work and skills to the capital of Kazakhstan, and, the idea is, leave with impressions, new creative ideas and memories of the capital’s public and its creativity.
Every year, young Kazakh artists fill the exhibition areas of the centre with work for the “Here and Now” project, which aims to showcase the spirit of young contemporary art in Kazakhstan.
Recently, the centre’s halls have held exhibitions by artists from all regions of Kazakhstan, as well as artists from the U.S., Brazil, Italy, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, India, China, Russia, France, Turkey, Georgia, South Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Germany and Spain.