Tuesday, January 10, 2017

New Silk Roads: Fresh Perspectives Through Art

central asian art course, contemporary central asian art, uzbek art craft tours
Alexandr Barkovskiy's photocollage
Based in Singapore, ENECAA is a fresh, exciting, online gallery, art advisory and research company specialising in Central Asia.

Founder Sally J. Clarke has developed an art course that explores the revitalisation of the new silk roads through the region's artistic practices.

This seven week course combines lectures with debates, as participants explore over 120 paintings, depicting subjects ranging from metaphorical landscapes, traditional symbols, abstract and semi-abstract compositions to portraits.

The course is open to everyone who has an interest in learning more about modern and contemporary art. It starts on 20th April 2017.

Many of the artworks examine subjects distinct to Central Asia yet universal in their discussion of human experience. Executed in styles ranging from the photo-realistic and figurative to the narrative or naive, to the surrealistic and abstract, they highlight the sophisticated breadth and depth of post-Soviet Central Asian art practices.

It was only in 1991 that the post-Soviet states of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan were founded.  Timur, the merciless conqueror chiefly remembered for his barbarity, is revered today in modern day Uzbekistan where mythologies are created enforcing the concept of the Uzbek nation.

central asian art course, contemporary central asian art, uzbek art craft tours
Uzbek painter Mukhtar Khan's "Sunduk (Trousseau) Wishes"
Similarly in modern day Kazakhstan stories are woven around the Golden Horde and the identity created by the nomadic cultures.

Since that time art movements have notable twists and turns: a rejection of Soviet art styles, and renaissance of nomadic related art themes, an exploration of sensual forms and a revisiting of Sufi tales.

Kazakh artists such as Leyla Mahat and Almagul Menlibayeva explore the ancient cultures of the steppe.  Simultaneously challenging the exoticisation of the Kazakh people while embracing contemporary themes and developing new ways of seeing.

Uzbek artists are considered exceptional painters and colourists.  In the early 1920s artists such as Alexander Volkov and Usto Mumin worked in Tashkent.  It was also in the autonomous region of Karakalpakstan in Uzbekistan that the famous Nukus Museum was founded by Igor Savitsky. To this day the Nukus Museum houses the world’s arguably most important Russian avant-garde art collection.

In the works of Alexandr Barkovskiy we experience a visual paradigm for whoever seeks to understand the contemporary cultural scene in Uzbekistan and Central Asia at large.

Having recently exhibited at the Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art and Gallery Andakulovoy in Dubai and been honoured by the Moscow Museum of Modern Art and by the Contemporary Art Museum ART4.ru, this 37-year-old artist encapsulates the key cultural transformations Uzbekistan has been undergoing in recent years.

central asian art course, contemporary central asian art, uzbek art craft tours
Almagul Menlibayeva's "My Silk Road to You"
In Sally's quest to make Central Asian art more accessible, her work has recently involved theatre. She is collaborating on a production of Hamlet, which fuses Central Asian visual arts, theatre, fashion and contemporary music.

Hamlet will be staged February 2 and 3 in Singapore. Maximum audience numbers will be 25. It would be fascinating to see how they have reinterpreted the works of leading Tashkent artists into costumes for the actors and scenery.

Below is an image of Timur Akhemdov's reinterpretation of the forest scene with Ophelia.

The art course will be held on Thursday evenings at La Salle College of the Arts, Singapore, starting 20 April for seven weeks.

For further details about the course and Hamlet, contact Sally Clarke at:

Related posts:
Central Asia in Art: From Soviet Orientalism to the New Republics 
Tashkent Nostalgie - Eugene Panov's Exhibition, Tashkent
Homage to Savitsky
Bukhara's Contemporary Art Museum
Alexander Volkov: Of Sand and Silk, an Exhibition at Christie's

central asian art course, contemporary central asian art, uzbek art craft tours
Timur Akhemdov's reinterpretation of the forest scene with Ophelia. Oil on canvas.