Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Oscar & BAFTA wins: Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You're a Girl) - Afghanistan

There are several posts on this website about the remarkable Skateistan. Founded in 2008 in Kabul, it runs skateboarding and creative education programs for over 2,800 children in Afghanistan, Cambodia and South Africa.

Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl) won the 2020 BAFTA for British Short Film and the 2020 Oscar for Best Short Documentary.

Skateistan is the focus of the documentary film, which was shot in Kabul and produced by Grain Media for A & E Networks. The film follows a group of girls who are attending the "Back to School" program at Skateistan to help them enter or rejoin formal education.

The Skate School is seen as a refuge from the dangers and insecurity of life outside its walls. The film shows the interaction between the girls and their female teachers, some of whom are former Skateistan students, and the bonds that are created between women and girls in challenging environments.

It is fitting that the film was shot with an entirely female crew, on location in Kabul in 2017. It was directed by Carol Dysinger and produced by Elena Andreicheva. Afghanistan is consistently ranked as one of the worst places in the world to be a girl, but the film shows another side to life and childhood in Kabul.

We see the girls in the classroom at Skateistan, being guided by their teachers who encourage them to be brave by coming to the board. They tell stories to each other, joke around and clap each other when they get things right.

In the skatepark, they watch their educator in awe as she demonstrates her skills, before getting on the boards themselves and helping each other to balance.

Australian Oliver Percovich, who founded Skateistan in Kabul in 2008, said:

"We are delighted that Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone has won these awards. We see so many negative stories about Afghanistan and this is a story of real hope which can help to challenge perceptions. Here at Skateistan, we’re firm believers that when girls and women are empowered, they can achieve great things. That’s what is demonstrated so well in this film - the story of a group of girls who are defying expectations in Afghanistan, being told by an all-female film crew and getting the recognition it deserves." 

Watch the inspiring 1-minute trailer below. [If the video clip does not appear on your device, please go directly to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILmuqWCe2Yc] 

Related posts:
White Silk Road - Snowboarding Afghanistan
Skateistan: Kabul's Skate School Turns Five
Skateistan - Empowering Afghan Youth Through Skateboarding   
Duke Ellington's Kabul Gig 1963


Monday, March 16, 2020

Fashion of Uzbekistan: Yesterday and Today - Tashkent Exhibition

central asian designers, uzbekistan contemporary design, exhibition Fashion of Uzbekistan
Catalogue from the exhibition Fashion of Uzbekistan: Yesterday and Today,
published by the Islam Karimov Foundation. Cover photo of
Hilola Sher's minimalist design.

When art historian Binafsha Nodir and contemporary artist Bobur Ismailov collaborate on an exhibition, the results are always sensational.

Their latest exhibition, at the Tashkent House of Photography, Fashion of Uzbekistan: Yesterday and Today, is dedicated to the history of the fashion of Uzbekistan from the mid-twentieth century to today.
 
The exhibition is designed to promote the cultural and historical fashion heritage of Uzbekistan and the creativity of modern designers.

The exhibition comprises two areas. In the first hall, the exhibition is dedicated to the history of Uzbek fashion from 1960-2000. It presents photos, clothes, sketches and magazines of the time.

Time to dust off those notions of drab Soviet fashion - look at these pieces from the 1960s and 1970s.

central asian designers, uzbekistan contemporary design, exhibition Fashion of Uzbekistan
A collage of Tashkent symbols of the early 1970s

Bell bottoms in Tashkent, 1970s!


Tashkent super model Leyla Khodjaeva wearing an extravagant ikat gown, 1984

The second hall is dedicated to modern fashion in Uzbekistan. Here collections of six contemporary designers, drawing on shapes and designs from the 60s, 70s and 80s are displayed: Saida Amir, Taisiya Chursina (label Tais & I, Zuhra Inat (label Moel Bosh), Hilola Sher, Lali Fazylova and Markhamat Umarova (label Maru).

Their collections are displayed on both sides of a runway. So visitors can play model and sashay along the runway, viewing the clothes. Images of their designs are below.

The exhibition was sponsored by the Islam Karimov Foundation. It is open daily, except Mondays, until 30 March at the Tashkent House of Photography,  from 10:00 to 17:00. The Foundation also produced the catalogue.

central asian designers, uzbekistan contemporary design, exhibition Fashion of Uzbekistan
Ikat mini inspired from the mod 1960s - Moel Bosh

central asian designers, uzbekistan contemporary design, exhibition Fashion of Uzbekistan
Markhamat Umarova took inspiration from the 1960s.
Her designs are famous for the intricate cut.

central asian designers, uzbekistan contemporary design, exhibition Fashion of Uzbekistan
Taisya Chursina's take on the voluminous shapes and silhouettes of the 80s

central asian designers, uzbekistan contemporary design, exhibition Fashion of Uzbekistan
Saida Amir's intricate detailing on her hip hop inspired collection

central asian designers, uzbekistan contemporary design, exhibition Fashion of Uzbekistan
Lali Fazylova's designs
Related posts:
Celebrities in Ikat 
Sacrament of Magic Yarn - Madina Kasimbaeva's Exhibition, Tashkent
Uzbek Haute Couture - Lali Fazylova's Retro Collection

Monday, March 2, 2020

Dilyara Kaipova Takes on New York

Readers of this website know that I think Uzbek textile artist Dilyara Kaipova is the most innovative artist working in Uzbekistan today.

contemporary ikat designs, dilyara kaipova ikat artist, new york exhibition dilyara exhibition
Traditional hand woven Uzbek chapan (coat) by Dilyara Kaipova with pattern of Edvard Munch's The Scream

Following solo and group exhibitions in Tashkent, Bishkek, Tbilisi, Astana and Almaty, Kaipova is now featured in a New York exhibition New Mythologies of Central Asia at the Sapar Contemporary Gallery.

The exhibition was featured in the Wall Street International weekend edition.

All Kaipova's pieces sold out immediately.

As well as Kaipova, the exhibition includes works of Kazakh Saule Dyussenbina and Aziza Shadenova from Kyrgyzstan. These female artists propose a revisionist art history that inserts both women and Central Asia into the Western art historical canon. They do so with a sense of humor and pictorial confidence while paying homage to traditional ornaments, ancient textile traditions and a deep influence of 20th century Russian avant-garde in Central Asia.

From Sapar's press release: "Encoding Western pop iconography — Batman, Darth Vader, Mickey Mouse, the mask from "Scream" — into the traditional Uzbek textile technique of ikat, Dilyara Kaipova’s artwork comments on the passage of cultural knowledge via global routes. 

contemporary ikat designs, dilyara kaipova ikat artist, new york exhibition dilyara exhibition
Traditional hand woven Uzbek chapan (coat) by Dilyara Kaipova with Mickey Mouse design

In the age of the internet, Western mass culture pervades even the most remote regions of the world. Yet milennia-old pre-modern silk road trade routes — an earlier form of networked global culture — carried Uzbekistan’s trademark textile secrets as far as Europe and Tokyo. 

The suppression of local traditions under the Soviet rule would have obsolesced the ikat tradition altogether had it not been for a handful of weavers. Kaipova works with these weavers who preserved and perfected the Central Asian textile technique in the bleak and inaccessible Ferghana Valley, often considered the cradle of the weaving tradition. Colorful, thoughtful, critical, and humorous, Kaipova’s work brings older forms of knowledge into the 21st century".

contemporary ikat designs, dilyara kaipova ikat artist, new york exhibition dilyara exhibition
Traditional hand woven Uzbek chapan (coat) by Dilyara Kaipova with Batman design

Kaipova's works are now sold exclusively at the Sapar Gallery, New York and the Aspan Gallery, Almaty.  Until 12 April, Kaipova's work is part of the Ornamentum group show of contemporary artists of Central Asia at the Aspan Gallery. What a pity that her work is not truly appreciated, understood and supported  in Uzbekistan.

Bravo Dilyara!  These exhibitions and gallery relationships will provide her with the means to pursue her artistic vision. Stay tuned for updates about this talented artist.

contemporary ikat designs, dilyara kaipova ikat artist, new york exhibition dilyara exhibition
Traditional hand woven Uzbek chapan (coat) by Dilyara Kaipova with homage to the first cosmonaut, Yuriy Gagarin

Related posts:
contemporary ikat designs, dilyara kaipova ikat artist, new york exhibition dilyara exhibition
Dilyara Kaikpova - self portrait
The Fantasy World of Uzbek Textile Artist Dilyara Kaipova
Dilyara Kaipova Conquers Bishkek at the Asanbay Center
Tashkent and Tbilisi Exhibitions - Dilyara Kaipova Ends the Year with a Flourish
Dilyara Kaipova Strikes Again at the International Applied Arts Festival, Tashkent