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Based on the true story. Part 3: Stereotypes Fair

Written by on Friday, 8 March 2013
Culture and History, Tajikistan
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Loki completes a series of publications about contemporary art exhibitions under the title “Based on a true story”, which were held in Dushanbe since December 2012
This article is about the last exhibition in the series of 3 exhibitions under the common title “Based on the true story”, that was held in Dushanbe from December, 2012.  The  final exhibition called Stereotypes Fair was opened on the 1st of February, 2013 at the traditional for this event place – Dushanbe Art Ground.

The were 3 artworks presented at the exhibition:

Firstly there was a presentation on the web-site www.street.tj. As the author of the work informed, the web-site was created for reporting on cases of various types of violence on the streets of cities of Tajikistan. This interactive project refers back to the American feminist activism group Guerilla Girls. Guerilla Girls used statistics and visual images to problematize violence against women and other social issues, thereby, bringing them out to the general public discussion.

                                                                                          Presenting the web-site  (Foto Loki)

I should add that the site is a map of Tajikistan where visitors have the opportunity to report on the violent acts against themselves and map the place. Presentation of the site ended with a heated debate among the audience and the author. An important issue was brought by someone from the audience. The person has expressed the opinion that the site may not be effective in dealing with any problems in our society unless it cooperates with law enforcement authorities. In my opinion, this site is a big experiment for Tajikistan, and it is important to give it the chance for development. It is also important to constantly track the developments and what is going on around it, before taking further action. Anyway, I have registered on the site, and realized that it is not finalized.

The second work that was presented is a theatrical sketch “Nuts”, which was performed by a young theater group “The Second Floor”, based at the Russian Drama Theater after V. Mayakovsky (Dushanbe) .  According to the curator of the exhibition, the work explores methods of social pressure on the striving for the emancipation individual. The performance is questioning the established social norms. The protagonist of the performance, a woman, is seeking for the personal freedom but is being subjected the trail were she is imposed the feeling of guilt.

                                                            Theatrical sketch “Nuts”  (Foto by Loki)

The theatrical sketch is an “excerpt” from 1987′s movie “Nuts” with Barbra Streisand staring. Barbra plays a prostitute charged with murder. I think this is a film that is certainly worth watching.

The final artwork that gave its name to the whole exhibition “Stereotypes Fair” was presented by the author  Rustam Nazarov.  According to the author, his work is the visual exploration of the Bulk commercial culture. The author explores gender stereotypes that are prevalent in the society and their course and effect link with the commercial.

                       ” Stereotypes Fair” was presented by Rustam Nazarov  (Foto by Loki)

                                 ” Stereotypes Fair” – artwork by  Rustam Nazarov  (Foto by Loki)

Despite the fact that the work has a clear concept, in my opinion, it is not completed and it has been presented more in the form of a show with “funny” commercials, posters, that are playing on gender stereotypes. It would be much more interesting to see a more serious work. It is important in such a work to escape the attractiveness, but to demonstrate how people are affected by the stereotypes and how many people’s lives are broken because of them.

The exhibition is still open to the public. It will be open for at least a couple of weeks. In the next article I will place an interview with the curator of the project and exhibition Farukh Kuziev. Together with Farukh we will try to analyze and approach critically the project in the context of the society of Tajikistan and Central Asia. We will also touch upon the topic of contemporary art, in general, its practices and its perception in the region.

 

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