Six Uzbek artists start month-long residency at The Art Hub

It’s Central Asia Month at The Art Hub in Abu Dhabi, where six artists from Uzbekistan will work closely with local creatives on a UAE theme.

A piece by Dilyara Kaipova, the only female in the mix. Courtesy Alif Art Gallery

Six Uzbek artists arrived in the capital last week for a month-long residency at The Art Hub, where they will create new works on the theme of “Inspired by The UAE”, and mingle with local artists.

The residency, as part of which the artists will be introduced to the country’s heritage and culture, will coincide with Central Asia Month at The Art Hub.

With facilities in the capital and the Liwa desert, The Art Hub is a creative a community offering emerging and established artists from around the world residential and studio space. This month’s activities are a collaboration with Alif Art, a young Dubai gallery with a strong curatorial programme focused on Central Asian art.

Natalya Andakulova, the founder of Alif Art, is a native of Uzbekistan and on a mission to nurture a growing contemporary-art scene in her home country while introducing Central Asian art to trend-savvy collectors in the Middle East.

“Through this residency, we want to show the artists that they can look at their own culture in a different way and create contemporary art,” she says.

The participants – selected by The Art Hub, with the help of I Y Bourmistrova, curator at Alif Art – are Jamal Usmanov, an established painter known for his dream sequences; emerging artist Sanjar Djabbarov; Murad Karabaev, whose Two Faces appeared in Art Dubai's 2014 Central Asia-themed Markers section; Timur Ernst Akhmedov, whose paintings draw on Uzbek cultural symbolism; Alexander Nikolaev, whose collage series World of Kind People appeared at the 2012 Venice Biennale; and Dilyara Kaipova, the only female artist, who comes from a unique puppetry background that directly informs the figures appearing in her doll-like portraits, representing the various ironies of everyday life.

“There is not yet a commercial contemporary art gallery system in Uzbekistan, and it is critical for galleries such as ours, and residencies like this one, to help to develop the artists and expose them to the international market,” said Bourmistrova. “Uzbekistan always had an art scene. During the Soviet Union, the level of education for Uzbek artists was at a very high level.”

Uzbekistan is no newcomer to the art world, boasting classical textile crafts of suzani and ikat, and the Savitsky Collection, the museum with the second-largest collection of Russian Avant-­garde art in the world, plus a biennial set to set to enter its eighth edition in 2017.

Central Asia Month will include a number of free public lectures, workshops, and activities and will culminate in a group exhibition opening at The Abu Dhabi Art Hub on 31 Oct. For more information visit www.adah.ae

artslife@thenational.ae