Focus Kazakhstan project brings Kazakh artists to the world

ASTANA – The creations of Kazakh artists are being presented abroad through the Focus Kazakhstan project, initiated to support working artists. The project sets up artist residences for eight young painters and photographers in countries around the world and follows them with parallel exhibitions.

By Almagul Menlibayeva. Photo credit:

The first artist residence for Kazakh artists launched in Berlin in June under the guidance of international curators. The project will run until Oct. 20, 2018, with residences in addition to Berlin in London, New York and Suwon, South Korea.

Focus Kazakhstan is being organised by the National Museum of Kazakhstan under the Modern Kazakh Culture in the Global World project, one aspect of the Ruhani Zhangyru programme launched by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev in April 2017.

This specific project intends to boost the development of national contemporary art and popularise it abroad, say organisers.

The young Kazakh artists during their foreign residences will create new works to debut at the closing exhibitions. The residences will provide opportunities for the young artists to learn more about trends in the development of the contemporary art world and to gain experience in creating works using information and communication technologies, an increasingly popular format. Artist residences promote professional growth of artists, competitiveness in the international art scene and the formation of sustainable links between creators and art institutions.

“We are sending eight promising young artists, so they will get more skills and experience. Their tasks are to get acquainted with the trends in the contemporary art world as well as observe how their colleagues work abroad,” said head of the Centre of Contemporary Art of the National Museum Roza Abenova.

The opening of the Focus Kazakhstan exhibit in Berlin coincides with the opening of prestigious international forums of contemporary art: the 10th Berlin Biennale of Contemporary Art (June 9 to Sept. 9) and Contemporary Art Week in Berlin (Sept. 26 to 30). The international art setting will help bring Focus Kazakhstan the widest possible audience.

Two expositions will launch with the conclusion of the artist residences in the end of September. First, Bread and Roses: Four Generations of Kazakh Women Artists will present the paintings of world-renowned masters and young artists.

“Bread and Roses seek to show how the national traditions have changed over time. We will present products made of felt, carpets as well as interior details of yurts. Then, we will show how art changed during the Soviet era, as it acquired special features,” said international curator of the project David Elliot.

The Focus Kazakhstan project also includes special thematic events, meetings with artists, discussions with experts of contemporary art, master classes, lectures and workshops.


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