Imperious khans and assorted dignitaries gaze into the distance. Meanwhile, fierce battles are raging all around. These are scenes from artworks at a recently opened exhibition in Kazakhstan, representing a reimagining of key events in the nation’s history.
The A. Kasteyev Museum of Art – Kazakhstan’s leading art gallery, situated in Almaty – commissioned the works as part of a national competition to create a pictorial representation of Kazakhstan’s past. The idea for the contest came about after the museum discovered a significant gap in its collection: it had almost nothing on Kazakhstan’s history.
“We had thousands of paintings and sculptures of Soviet Realism, or Socialist Realism … but we didn’t have anything about Kazakh history,” Clara Isabayeva, head of the museum’s Foreign Relations Department, told EurasiaNet.org.
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Paul Bartlett is an Almaty-based freelance writer.