Askhat Akhmedyarov

July, 2022 — September, 2022


Askhat Akhmedyarov studied under the founders of Kyzyl Tractor art group Vitaly Simakov and Moldakul Narymbetov. In his youth, he experimented with surrealism, but in the early 2000s, he burned his works in the plane of surrealism and moved to Astana to start from scratch. For 20 years Askhat Akhmedyarov lived in Astana and during this time he produced a huge number of projects in a variety of different techniques including painting, drawing, video, photography, installation and performance, he also held various actions, such as in defense of the Bozzhyra tract and Taldykol Lake or against arrests of journalists and activists detained following tragic events in Almaty in January 2022. In 2016, his major solo exhibition was held at the National Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Astana “Singular Plural”, however, the exhibition “UMIT” will be the first solo show of the artist in Almaty.

The title of the exhibition “UMIT” (from Kazakh “hope”) is a tribute to the era of change that Kazakhstan is going through now (or rather, the era of hope for change), as well as a tribute to the artist’s grandmother, whose name was Umit. She lived for 93 years - almost a whole century - and in her lifetime there were two world wars, a revolution, a famine, repressions, the Cold War, the collapse of the Soviet Union... The monumental installation of white and red kese (bowls) called "The Centenary", which opens the exhibition of Askhat Akhmedyarov from the street is about these historical events experienced by the Kazakh people over the past century, and, in particular, civil war of the 1920s in Central Asia.

Askhat Akhmedyarov: “Once an important official from the law enforcement agencies advised me to stay at home and paint landscapes. "That's all that's asked of you to keep the peace," he assured me.

When the patient begins to talk about the disease, they take the first steps towards recovery. They unconsciously search for the reason why this happened to them. Opening my exhibition, I ask myself directly or indirectly: “Why is this happening to us?”

“In 1900, my grandmother's parents gave her the name Umit (hope). Then, on the threshold of the 20th century, the world held its breath, and in the steppe they also hoped that everything would be fine.”

The exhibition is divided into four parts. The first part - "The Centenary," installation - opens the exhibition and is located outside. All the rest are in three separate rooms in the gallery space. The first hall includes a new installation of the artist from his favorite material - cauldrons for pilaf. The name of the new installation "Sabyr" refers to the frequently used phrase by the police when detaining citizens "Sabyr etiniz", which means "keep calm, be silent." The irony of the installation lies in the fact that it is impossible to fulfill the author’s call – in order to pass through the exhibition it is necessary to squeeze between the cauldrons suspended from the ceiling, thereby pushing the cauldrons together and flooding the entire exhibition with the sound of metal. In the steppe culture, an inverted cauldron is a symbol of loss, a destroyed shanyrak, a hearth and home.

The exhibition will feature the premiere of a new two-channel video by the author “Ile”, filmed in 2022. In it, the artist leads his poetic story about the life of the Balkhash village of Orta Deresin and the meeting place for its inhabitants near the trunk of a huge tree, once brought to the shore by a river that left its bed. The log itself, temporarily borrowed for the exhibition, is located in the second room.

In the third hall you can see a series of drawings of 2021 "Square Sun", made with a dry brush and gunpowder - these are portraits of the artist's ancestors, repressed by Stalin, a girl who was persecuted in Xinjiang today, a victim of the January events in Almaty and an oppositionist, poet and publicist Aron Atabek, who died in November 2021 after 15 years in prison. The name of the series was inspired by the drawing of one of the prisoners for whom Askhat Akhmedyarov held a master class. At the request of the artist, the prisoners drew the places where they would like to go, many drew their home. In the drawing of one of them, Askhat was impressed by the square-shaped sun.

Askhat Akhmedyarov is an artist who is represented by Aspan Gallery since 2022, along with such artists as Yerbossyn Meldibekov, Gulnur Mukazhanova, Alexander Ugay, Yelena and Viktor Vorobyov and others.

Askhat Akhmedyarov (b. 1965, Ural region, Kazakhstan) graduated from an art college in Shymkent, studying under the founders of Kyzyl Tractor art group Vitaly Simakov and Moldakul Narymbetov. He participated in several exhibitions of the Shymkent 'Trans-Avangard' group, but later steered away from the collective and moved to Astana to develop his solo practice.

Akhmedyarov now lives and works in Almaty. In his artistic practice he uses a variety of different techniques including painting, drawing, video, photography, installation and performance. His works can be analyzed and read on different levels. Akhmedyarov’s work is inseparable from his life and social activism. In his works and actions, the author plays with ambiguity and audience perception.

Among the artist's recent exhibitions is a solo show at the National Museum of Kazakhstan, Astana (2016) and group shows include Focus Kazakhstan: Post-Nomadic Mind, London (2018), Energy of the Future, Pavilion of Kazakhstan, Expo-2017 Astana (2017), Protagonists. The invisible Pavilion of Kazakhstan during the 56th Venice Biennale (2015), Lost to the Future: Contemporary Art from Central Asia, LASALLE College of Arts – ICA Singapore, Singapore (2013), Off the Silk Road: No Mad's Land: Contemporary Art from Central Asia, Berlin (2002).

Exhibition dates: 7 July – 18 September 2022


Thursday 7 July | 7 pm - 9pm – opening reception

Saturday 9 July | 4 pm - 5 pm – artist-led exhibition tour

Saturday 10 September | 4 pm - 5 pm – artist-led exhibition tour

Curator-led tour registration link

Opening hours:

Tue-Sat: 11 am - 7 pm

Sun: 12 pm - 6 pm

Address: Villa Boutiques & Restaurants, 140A/3 Al Farabi, lower ground floor, Almaty. Free entrance.

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