• KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09432 1.18%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09432 1.18%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09432 1.18%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09432 1.18%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09432 1.18%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09432 1.18%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09432 1.18%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09432 1.18%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%

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Decolonial Futurism: A Focus on Kazakhstan’s Pavilion at the 60th Venice Biennale

Kazakh artists have traditionally been marginalized in the global art scene due to political intricacies and a complex cultural identity. With historical influences and colonization by both Russia and China, Kazakh artists are now carving out a unique artistic identity and sharing it with international audiences. The Kazakh pavilion "Jerūiyq: Journey Beyond the Horizon" at the 60th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, from April 20 to November 24, represents a major milestone in changing perceptions of Kazakh art. Staged in the Naval Historical Museum, the exhibition reinterprets the ancient legend of Jerūiyq, drawing inspiration from Kazakh myths and the visionary journey of the 15th-century philosopher Asan Kaigy. The word "kaigy" means "pain" in Kazakh, symbolizing the nation's traumatic encounters with modernity's darker aspects: the devastating famine of the 1930s, the craters left by nuclear tests in Semey, the shrinking of the Aral Sea, and the wounds inflicted on the Kazakh landscape. The exhibition traces the evolution of Kazakh utopian imagination from the 1970s to today through artists’ visions of ideal worlds, where their utopian imagination merges with the artistic movement of "decolonial futurism." On behalf of TCA, Naima Morelli interviewed curator Anvar Musrepov on the concept and significance of Kazakhstan's participation in the Venice Biennale. TCA: How did the idea for the Kazak pavilion “Jerūiyq: Journey Beyond the Horizon” evolve? A.M: In our curatorial research, we found that the theme of utopia and futuristic imagination has concerned several generations of Kazakhstan's artists since the 1970s. Using this as a starting point, we decided to establish, in chronological order, a collection of works by multiple generations of artists. Divided by decades, the collection manifested a wave of Kazakh futurism, including themes of spirituality, cosmism, nomadism, and utopian ideas. This in turn, will help formulate a term to comprehensively describe and unite all these intuitions that have concerned Kazakh artists in different historical periods. [caption id="attachment_18933" align="aligncenter" width="522"] Sergey Maslov, "Baikonur" at the Venice Biennale [/caption]   TCA: The exhibition’s title alludes to the ancient legend of Jerūiyq. What is it about and  how have you interpreted it? A.M: Jeruiq is an ancient legend about a utopian land that according to many myths, was sought by Asan Kaigy, advisor to the first Kazakh khans Zhanibek and Kerey. Legend describes it as a land that has fermented, a place where time has stopped, a land full of vividness, devoid of disease or longing. We found in this ancient Kazakh legend, an ideal metaphor to unite all the intuitions presented in the exhibition and manifest the chronology of post-nomadic futuristic imagination. If established, the definition of this unique phenomenon, could become a movement in Kazakh art. TCA: What can you tell us about the philosopher Asan Kaigy? A.M: Asan Kaigy is a quasi-historical character who features in Kazakhstan’s rich oral tradition where history and memory are passed down from mouth to mouth. Every region of Kazakhstan has local legends about miracles performed by Asan Kaigy. One such legend says that he found...

Uzbekistan Plans to Earn $300 Million a Year From Medical Tourism

Nuz.uz reports that Uzbekistan plans to earn $300 million annually from medical services and tourism. At the meeting chaired by President Mirziyoyev, the program “Medical Hospitality” was announced, under which the budget will cover the costs of private clinics for international certification and participation in foreign exhibitions. Doctors traveling abroad to advertise and provide diagnostic services will be reimbursed for transportation and accommodation expenses. In addition, value-added tax will be refunded to foreign patients visiting clinics. "Last year, more than 60,000 foreign tourists were treated in 86 sanatoriums and medical institutions of the country. Suppose the number of such institutions is increased. In that case, it is possible to attract an additional 100,000 foreign patients, making it possible to earn $300 million a year from medical services,” the publication notes. Zumrad Bekatova, a member of the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis, said that Uzbekistan is paying special attention to expanding the network of private medical organizations, diversifying their activities, and strengthening their material and technical base. However, despite these efforts, only two private clinics have received international certification, and the share of foreign patients has yet to exceed 12%.

Elite Kyrgyz Climber Gets Warm Homecoming After Himalayan Ascents

A 52-year-old climber from Kyrgyzstan has returned home after scaling two of the worlds’ highest peaks in a 10-day span in May. He said he climbed both Himalayan mountains without supplemental oxygen. Eduard Kubatov, head of Kyrgyzstan’s mountaineering federation, was welcomed with flowers at Manas International Airport in Bishkek on Thursday after climbing the Lhotse and Makalu mountains, which are both more than 8,000 meters above sea level. Kubatov, who ascended Mount Everest three years ago, previously said he wanted to climb K2 in Pakistan this month in his bid to summit the 14 mountains internationally recognized as “eight-thousanders.” Kubatov and climbing sherpa Dawa Chhiring got to the top of Makalu on May 30, 10 days after Kubatov summited Lhotse, said 14 Peaks Expedition, a trekking company based in Nepal that assisted him. The Kyrgyz climber said on Instagram that both ascents were “non-oxygen,” meaning he took on the greater challenge of ascending without bottled oxygen, and that he accomplished “the first major mountaineering double in the history of Kyrgyz mountaineering.” Climbing the world’s highest mountains without supplementary oxygen can be about 40% harder and so few climbers go without it that they are “like an endangered species,” Kubatov said on Facebook. “It is extremely honorable and highly valued in the world mountaineering system!” said Kubatov, adding that he believes stronger Kyrgyz climbers will eclipse his accomplishments in the future. In 1978, Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler became the first people to climb without supplemental oxygen to the summit of Everest, the world’s highest mountain at 8,849 meters above sea level. Messner was also the first person to climb all 14 so-called “eight-thousanders.” Veteran climber Tim Mosedale has said there will always be a debate about using supplemental oxygen to climb the highest mountains. “Whether or not it is viewed as being ethical, it is undoubtedly sensible,” he wrote. “After all, a client who becomes debilitated puts the lives of other climbers, and the Climbing Sherpas, at risk.” Kubatov returned to Bishkek with other Kyrgyz climbers who also climbed in Nepal. Ilim Karypbekov became the fourth Kyrgyz citizen to summit Everest, and Kadyr Saidilkan, who climbed Everest last year, added Lhotse to his list of accomplishments on this year’s trip. Kyrgyzstan has a strong mountaineering tradition, and several peaks in the Central Asian country are in the 7,000-meter range.

Story of a Statue: Turkmenistan Shapes National Identity

The giant bronze statue of a robed man holding a book stands on the southern outskirts of Turkmenistan’s capital, Ashgabat, and is visible from many parts of the city. Including the granite base, it is more than 80 meters high. The sculptor says the rising sun illuminates the structure at dawn, giving it a hallowed aura. Diplomats and other dignitaries recently assembled for the inauguration of the statue of Magtymguly Pyragy, a revered poet and philosopher who serves today as a state-sponsored symbol of national and cultural identity. Some carried bouquets of flowers as they walked up the steps toward the looming monolith. Later, there were fireworks, a multi-colored light show and a drone display in the sky that formed the image of a quill pen. Led by President Serdar Berdimuhamedov, the ceremony on May 17 marked the 300th anniversary of the official birthday of Pyragy, who is little known outside Central Asia but is vital to a campaign of national cohesion in a country whose brand of personalized state control often seems opaque and eccentric to observers. Pyragy was born in the 18th century in what is today Iran, and is associated with Sufi spiritualism. He wrote about love, family and morality, and also laced his poetry with yearning for Turkmen solidarity at a time of conflict and fragmentation. Today, his image adorns postage stamps and banknotes in Turkmenistan. A theater carries his name. A symphony. A street. A university. People put his verse to songs at festivals. His lines form aphorisms in Turkmen, a Turkic language spoken in parts of Central Asia. Turkmenistan is of interest to foreign powers for its deep energy reserves, but this year its diplomats made an intense push in world capitals to get people interested in something else about the country: Magtymguly Pyragy. They promoted events about the poet in cities including Washington, Paris, Beijing and Seoul. The message was, as the state news agency put it, that Pyragy´s work is “an invaluable asset of all mankind.” Indeed, the park where the giant Pyragy statue stands in Ashgabat also contains much, much smaller statues of writers from other parts of the world, including William Shakespeare, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Rabindranath Tagore. One commentator has even compared Pyragy to German philosopher Immanuel Kant, saying they were born around the same time and had similar ideas. Russian granite was transported in nearly 100 railway cars to Ashgabat for construction of the new Pyragy statue, according to contractor Alexander Petrov. The statue is among the more grandiose monuments in a capital studded with them. Sculptor Saragt Babayev noted that the statue shows Pyragy in a turban, in contrast to an older image of the poet that shows him wearing a peaked Astrakhan hat, which was made of sheep fur and had no religious significance. That image dates to the time when Turkmenistan was part of the Soviet Union and Moscow was cracking down on expressions of Islamic piety. “During the time when the...

VI ECG Film Festival Goes Beyond the Moving Image

The VI ECG Film Festival staged in London from 24-28 May, in partnership with the eighth UK Romford Film Festival at Premier Cinemas Romford, attracted over 100 entries from 22 countries. The Eurasian Creative Guild (ECG) is the sole platform promoting Eurasian cinema in the UK and this year’s festival featured work by directors from Poland, the UK, Kyrgyzstan, Spain, Russia, Iran, Uzbekistan, China, Armenia, and Kuwait. The non-profit organization was founded by Marat Ahmedjanov in London in 2015 to unite and promote Eurasian cultural and artistic practices to English-speakers, and as befits its mission, the festival went far beyond the ‘moving image’ to showcase work by visual artists, authors, poets, and musicians. In film, the competition attracted over 100 competition entries from 22 countries and with support from  SIFFA film festival organiser Lubov Balagova-Kandur, included screenings of several Russian films such as the comedy ‘Aul's Challenge;’ the war drama ‘Maria. Save Moscow;’ a documentary on the poet ‘3723 Voznesensky’, and a Jordanian love story ‘Cherkes’. Central Asian films took several awards, including Best Eurasian Short film: ‘Happy Independence Day’ by Camila Sagyntkan (Kazakhstan); Best Eurasian Documentary Film: Sailing Seven Seas by Tatania Borsh (Russia-Kyrgyzstan); Audience Choice Award: ‘Sharaf Rashidov- Inspirer for the Development of Mirzachul’ by  Shukhrat Khaitov (Uzbekistan); and the Honorary Achievement Certificate for Documentary Drama: ‘Behtarin’ by Mohsen Rahimi (Kuwait-Tajikistan). Visual artists from Kyrgyzstan took centre stage in the exhibition ‘‘Nomadic Narratives’, which also highlighted work by Dungan artist Rahima Arli, created during her ECG Horizons Rugby residency near London. ECG has a long and ongoing tradition of publishing works by Central Asian writers which would otherwise remain inaccessible to English readers, under Hertfordshire Press. Editor John Farndon took pleasure in presenting three new stories under the collective title ‘Akhriman, Lord of Darkness’ by highly renowned Tajik author Gulsifat Shahidi, as well as ‘Is It Necessary to Worship at Notre Dame?’ by Kazakh author Alikhan Zhaksylyk. Lovers of literature also enjoyed the opportunity to view the Kazat Akmatov Memorial in Romford, which both honours the esteemed Kyrgyz writer and serves as a beacon of strength for all Central Asian artists living and visiting London. The well-established Azerbaijani poet Sahib Mamedov read poems which he dedicated to the festival participants. Music too, featured highly at the event. In addition to a concert, medals of appreciation from Marta Brassart, ECG Chair, were presented to the musical duo Sherkhon, alongside artist Rahima Arli and young film director Timur Akhmedjanov, and recitals given by the duo from Uzbekistan Sherxon and the director of the Kazakh Cultural Centre in London, Kamshat Kumysbai. Now in its sixth season, the festival continues to gather momentum and this year, attracted audiences from Italy, Kazakhstan, Poland, USA, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Austria, and Uzbekistan, and welcomed as guests of honour, the Mayor of Romford, Gerry O'Sullivan with MPs from the London Borough of Havering, and representatives from the embassies of Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Russia and Belarus. As testimony to ECG’s unique promotion of Eurasian film, cinema audiences were...

Child Malnutrition Hits Central Asia

In its recently published report “Child Food Poverty 2024,” UNICEF has identified 63 countries, including four Central Asian countries, where child malnutrition has reached a  crisis point. Severe child food poverty threatens the survival, growth, and development of an estimated 181 million children under five globally, denying them the opportunity to escape social and economic deprivation. As stated in the report, “Child food poverty harms all children, but it is particularly damaging in early childhood when insufficient dietary intake of essential nutrients can cause the greatest harm to child survival, physical growth, and cognitive development. The consequences can last a lifetime: children deprived of good nutrition in early childhood perform worse in school and have lower learning capacity in adulthood, trapping them and their families in a cycle of poverty and deprivation.” The indicator of food ration determines children’s food security. It was developed by UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO). For healthy growth and development, children should consume at least five products from the following eight groups: Breast milk Grains, roots, tubers, and plantains Pulses, nuts, and seeds Dairy products Fresh foods Egg Vitamin A-rich fruits and vegetables Other fruits and vegetables. If children consume products that belong to just two groups, they live in extreme nutritional poverty; if they consume products belonging to three-four groups, they live in a moderate state related to nutrition. If they consume products belonging to five or more groups, they are considered not to be in a poor situation related to nutrition. Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan have average levels of child malnutrition, Turkmenistan has a low level, and Tajikistan has a high level.

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