The Central Asian Pavilion at the the 55th Venice Biennale (La Biennale di Venezia), curators Ayatgali Tuleubek and Tiago Bom would like to invite artists to submit proposals of works to be hosted at the exhibition.
La Biennale di Venezia has for over a century been one of the most prestigious cultural institutions in the world. Ever since its foundation, it has been at the forefront in the research and promotion of new artistic trends. The 55th Venice Biennale will take place from June to November 2013.
The exhibition’s working title “Winter” is inspired by Abay’s poem. This project aims to address and bring a visual reflection on the complexity of the current socio-political context of the Central Asian region by employing the tools of the poetical and metaphorical language.
Artists from or living in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan are invited to propose works that could explore this given context. Young and emergent artists are encouraged to apply.
For more information: http://www.cap2013.net/opencall/
Deadline: 15th of October 2012
Editor’s note: British student Danny Gordon has been cycling across the world to raise money for UNICEF and Sports Relief. He recently passed through Central Eurasia, and NewEurasia managed to catch up with him to ask his impressions about crossing borders here…
Somewhere on the dusty, Kyzyl-Kum desert road between Nukus and Bukhara, I was stopped and offered tea by a large man who ran a roadside stall. It was a kindness that had been a common theme since Turkey. I leaned my bicycle against a post and children materialised as if from nowhere, curious about this alien form of “velosiped”.
I sat down, and the usual questions came, only now they came in Russian since my host presumed it more likely that he could be understood in Russian than Uzbek. “Where are you from?”, was the inevitable opener. It seemed innocuous enough, but so many before this man had asked me, and subsequently been overjoyed that the answer had been “England”, that it was obvious that this was more than just a conversation starter. It seemed to be a method by which you could quickly determine friend from your enemy.
Yet another one of British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen’s characters has been banned in parts of Central Asia, based on what one might consider being merits of cultural and political disrespect. First, it was the comical and offensive Kazakh journalist Borat, and now it’s the comical and repressive dictator Admiral General Aladeen of the fictional African country the Republic of Wadiya.
“The heroic story of a dictator who risks his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed.”
“The Dictator,” featuring a “Middle Eastern-style camel-riding tyrant,” is a satirical take on the culture of African governments. But, the film is supposed to be based on former Libyan leader, oppressor and indeed “Dictator”, the late Colonel Muammar Qaddafi. “The Dictator” himself, Admiral General Aladeen, appears clad in a military uniform and is overloaded with award badges. Overbearing sunglasses in place, white gloves assembled and posture perfected – Cohen’s character looks exactly the part and the images and practices of the “Dictatorial” culture of Republic of Wadiya follow suit, too.
A Tajik singer has summed up his support for Russia’s pro-Putin political culture via music.
Tolinjon Kurbanhanov has mixed music, politics and religion in a melodious melting pot, void of separation and flourishing with his own expression. The singer’s music is openly, politically expressive and far from traditionally, culturally Tajik. Kurbanhanov’s two videos, that though are a few months old – are still, to this day, being viewed by thousands.
Kurbanhanov has made a name for himself by praising Russian political figurehead Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin through song. Singer Kurbanhanov’s first song/video about Putin was released on the eve of the presidential elections in Russia, with aims to encourage folks to – say the least – vote for Putin! The song, titled “GDP”, quickly became an Internet sensation after hitting the Web on February 4th. In less than one month, “GDP” was viewed 1.5 million times. And on May 21st, the video clocked in at 1,310,373 views.
A new book on Tajik culture and history has come to Tajikistan.
On February 14th 2012, the “Kitobi edgorihoi Tojikiston” (“Book of The Historical Monuments of Tajikistan”) was presented in Dushanbe by Tajik Culture Minister Mirzoshohruh Asrori and the head of the diplomatic mission of the United States to Tajikistan, Ambassador Ken Gross.
170 historical monuments, 250 pages, 500 copies, 3 languages; the book is a prime example of what cultural preservation via literature looks like. During the project, professionals from the Ministry of Culture, Academy of Sciences and the State National University came up with over 500 significant sites and monuments throughout all of Tajikistan, and of those, over 150 were chosen for publication.
The World Bank Board of Executive Directors today approved additional financing of US$ 18 million for the Energy Loss Reduction Project in Tajikistan. The project assists in reducing the commercial losses in the electricity and gas sectors, and lays the foundation for the improvement of the financial viability of the electricity and gas utilities in a socially responsible manner, WOrld Bank’s press-service reports.
The Energy Loss Reduction Project was initially approved in June 2005 and was funded by an International Development Association (IDA) credit and grant of US$ 19 million, and a US$ 8 million grant from the Government of Switzerland’s Secretariat for Economic Cooperation (SECO). The project was restructured in February 2011 to include financing for the assessment studies for the proposed Rogun Hydropower Project. Read the full story »
The snowfall in Tajikistan is legendary, but you’ve really got to experience it to understand why. Thursday was +14 degrees, today it will be
-11; such abrupt changes make it a difficult trip to pack for. I’m sitting in a hotel in Dushanbe looking out of the window at a gentle blizzard, thinking about a trip to the mountains earlier today, stealing a short break, while out on assignment for Oxfam. Below are the photos from that trip. Ah, yes, and one of what I think was a Tajik hair salon named in honor, of glamor personified, Princess Diana, who has obviously been adopted as a national treasure.
Dodojon Atovulloev, according to Wikileaks, is:
“One of the foremost journalists from Tajikistan, Atovulloev has fearlessly sought to get the news out on his native country, where violence and state authoritarianism have been the norm for years.”
Tajik journalist Dodojon Atovulloev – founder and editor of the Tajik opposition monthly Charogi Ruz (“Daily Light”), was stabbed in the Italian restaurant “Viaggio” in Moscow on January 12th. The attack led Atovulloev to be hospitalized at Moscow’s Sklifosovsky Institute, where he underwent surgery.
On January 14th, on their Facebook page, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty said:
“Police apprehended a man who was found with blood on his hands within hours of the attack but released him after concluding that he was not connected to the attack. There are no other known suspects at this time, police said.”
“And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thy own eye?”
Official Uzbek media keep downgrading Tajikistan’s Emomali Rahmon regime by reprinting online critical articles written by journalists who are, in fact, perfect “Uzbek state enemies.”
Nowadays, apart from finding disadvantages and ‘assisting’ in postponing the construction of the Roghun project in Tajikistan, Uzbek media representatives decided to impose themselves as ready-to-analyze independent online sources on the search for as much information as possible that tells of the Rahmon’s regime’s failures and lies.
One of them, Tashkentskaya Pravda (Tashkent Truth) allowed itself to publish an article from Paruskg.info website, which refers to Wikileaks information, entitled, “Apple Does Not Fall Far From The Tree.”
Shamsullo Gulov, author of the ‘kompromat’ starts with calling Wikileaks a “famous web site” that gives opinions of U.S. State Department employees regarding Rahmon’s family seizing control over main industrial and financial facilities in the counrty. Later on, the author says that the information provided by Wikileaks are “concrete facts.”
Well, first of all, the fact of using Wikileaks as a source of information is something out of reality for Uzbek media since Wikileaks itself, based on American diplomatic cables, called Karimov an “authoritarian leader” and linked his regime with the Uzbek mafia. Read the full story »
After Tajik President Emomali Rahmon signed into law a bill “On the responsibility of parents for their children’s upbringing and education” in August, 2011, citizens of the poorest country in Central Asia have mixed feelings — it’s good to make sure their kids will be prevented from going to places where future extremists and fundamentalists are raised. On the other hand, why does the government puts all the religious organizations in one melting pot as if they are going to ‘share’ their negative practices with each other?
To remind, the bill that bans minors from attending religious places of worship, was initiated by the President in December, 2010. It become effective right after it had been published by state media.
Article 8, one of the most contradictory points of the bill, lists parents’ responsibilities, who:
“must not allow children’s particiption in religious organizations’ activities, excluding children officially studying in religious establishments.”
I talked to a few Tajik friends of mine. Here are their opinions: Read the full story »