Eurasian Culture Week in London highlighted Central Asia creativity

LONDON (TCA) — From October 1 to October 6, the capital of Great Britain gathered artists, artisans, writers, filmmakers and art-lovers for the Third Eurasian Culture Week where they were acquainted with the creativity and culture of the Eurasian region through exhibitions, films, and creative meetings. The event was organised by the Eurasian Creative Guild (London), with the support of Premiere Cinemas Romford, The Mercury Shopping Centre, Rossotrudnichestvo London, The Center of Contemporary Art of Tajikistan, The British-Kazakh Society and the Orzu Arts Theater.

On the first day the main event was a discussion dedicated to the 175th anniversary of Abai, the famous Kazakh writer and philosopher. The discussion was led by David William Parry, Daniele H. Irandoost, Jonathan Fryer, Gulsifat Shahidi, Nurym Taibek, Bakhtygul Makhanbetova and John Farndon. Members of the Guild, Jonathan Campion, Gulzada Hamra and others also took an active part in this event. At the end of the roundtable the official opening of the first exhibition of fine arts, ‘Peaks of Asia’ took place. More than 50 works by artists from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Moldova and Russia were presented alongside replicas of the most famous works from the Savitsky State Museum of Art (Uzbekistan, Nukus).

The second day saw an important presentation of the new book by Gulsifat Shahidi (Tajikistan) ‘True Paradise – Lost Paradise.’ A Q&A session was also held with writer, journalist and editor, Stephen M. Bland, who delivered a speech entitled ‘Dictators, Devastation and Dadaism: From Uzbekistan’s Desert of Forbidden Art to Armenia’s Forgotten People.’ Following this event, David Parry presented his newest work: ‘Mount Athos Inside Me: Essays on Religion, Swedenborg and Arts.’ The closing of the second day of the Eurasian Creative Week was marked by a lecture by Jonathan Fryer in which the journalist and author compared the works of Kyrgyz writer Chingiz Aitmatov to those by the English writer, Oscar Wilde.

October 3rd saw the premiere of the film ‘Oasis.’ Made by students from the American University of Central Asia (Kyrgyzstan), the London screening was presented by the University’s Professor, Lauren McConnell. The film revealed the history of Elm Grove, the largest park in Bishkek, which was founded in 1881 by the first Russian settlers. A poetic performance was also given by John Farndon — winner of the EBRD 2019 literary prize for his translation of a book by the Uzbek author, Hamid Ismailov, entitled ‘The Devil’s Dance’.

On October 4th, a panel discussion took place in Rossotrudnichestvo in Central London about the upcoming release of the book, ‘A Poetic Treasury from Belarus,’ dedicated to the English poetess and cultural historian, Vera Rich. David Parry, Daniele H. Irandoost, Alison Cameron and Kapil Gupta participated in the roundtable.

The presentation of the ECG 2019 Book Series and works published by Hertfordshire Press was hosted by Angelina Krasnogir, wherein the audience were familiarised with such books as ‘True Paradise – Lost Paradise’ by Gulsifat Shahidi, ‘The Guardsmen og Hippocrates’ by Vladimir Tulinov, ‘The Kaganate’ by Kanybek Imanaliev, ‘Sof’iny Nebesa, Ili Volshebniy Dar Gnomov’ by Oksana Gordiyko and ‘I day mne Bog’ by Alfred Engalychev.

The culmination of the fourth day was the gala concert and performance, ‘Voices of Eurasia,’ which featured the musicians and writers, Zhanna Kemp, Daria Robertson, Nadejda Nalivkina, John Farndon, Stephen Blunt, Nuryn Taibek and Aiya Maxutova.

On October 5th, the unique exhibition, ‘Peaks of Asia’ — which was visited by a record number of spectators and art lovers — continued in Romford. The works of art presented introduced residents of Great Britain to the different styles of painting by talented artists of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, revealing the picturesque beauty of Eurasia.

The final day (6th October) of the Eurasian Culture Week began with the presentation of Caroline Walton’s book, ‘My Cossack Family.’ Following this, a presentation was given by Nurym Taibek (Eurasian Creative Guild member) of his book, ‘Love for all, hatred of no one.’ In the early evening, participants and guests were able to enjoy a theatrical performance by the Orzu Arts Theatre. Finally, a traditional gala dinner and a certificate awards ceremony was held for all of the official participants in the Culture Week.

The Eurasian Cultural Week was a highlight of creative life in London and the first event of this magnitude and type to be held in Romford. It is one of the few such events in the UK to bring together creative people from around the world – artists, artisans, writers and filmmakers among them.

During the week, a total of fifteen events were held at various venues which won the hearts of Londoners. The events were attended by dozens of representatives from the creative industries of Great Britain, journalists and representatives of the embassies of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Belarus in London.

Sergey Kwan


Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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