The Head of Kazakhstans Union of Artists Speaks Out on Culture During Central Asias Transition
Some Soviet-era cultural institutions, such as Kazakhstan's Union of Artists, have survived the transition in Central Asia from Communism to a more market-oriented system. But as Yerkin Mergenov, the president of Kazakhstan's 500-member Union of Artists, told EurasiaNet in a recent interview, the artists' union has a very limited ability to promote the revival of the arts. According to Mergenov, the arts remain endangered throughout Central Asia. The text of the interview follows:
EurasiaNet: What trends have you noticed in the development of the arts in your country?
Mergenov: The situation has changed critically. As for the tendencies, as you may know, many changes have taken place in the country. Kazakhstan's Union of Artists has taken an active part in demonopolization and reconstruction of our new society and new country.
Certainly, the Union of Artists has faced many new and unexpected problems. There are problems in the cultural sector due to the absence of special programs and lack of legislation in regard to the creative associations. The Union of Artists still experiences a plethora of problems. We do not receive any governmental support. It is hard to sell any creative works. The main reason for this is that the government does not have enough money. We have problems with houses and studios. It is far from being optimistic and encouraging.
There are several generations of artists in my country. There are still artists alive who