Little known to outside world, Kazakhstan’s contemporary art scene is slowly awakening and Almaty is becoming a crucible of activity. With support from a few well-established and renowned art galleries, as well as with emerging art initiatives and projects, contemporary Kazakh and Central Asian artists are gaining international recognition. You can appreciate their work at these 10 exciting art galleries and museums in Almaty.
Although without a space of its own, the newly formed International Art Development Association has without a doubt emerged as one of the leaders in supporting and promoting contemporary Central Asian artists in the global art market. After recently launching a superb Kazakhstani contemporary art exhibition prior to the Venice Biennale in 2015 called ONE STEP/PE FORWARD at Palazzo Bragadin in Venice, the Association continues to promote contemporary art both at home and at various international art fairs, conferences and auctions, whether in Brussels, Miami or Dubai. The artists represented by the gallery include such contemporary artists as Gaisha Madanova, Said Atabekov, Galim Madanov and Zauresh Terekbay.
Between Paris, Venice and Almaty
One of the most active and vibrant Almaty art galleries, Arvest Gallery not only regularly organizes individual and group art exhibitions, conducts weekly master classes, but also functions as an art agency, selling exhibited artworks, providing art advisory services and offering quality custom framing. To properly celebrate its seventh anniversary in February, the gallery hosted exhibition by showcasing the best of Kazakh modern and contemporary artists, working in traditional art mediums such as paintings, photography, graphics, ceramics and sculpture. Located in the bustling city center, Arvest, meaning art, creation and knowledge in Armenian, offers a myriad of arty souvenirs, ranging from small sculptures and jeweler to wooden carvings and Kazakh-themed felt works.
Arvest Galler, 75/78 Bogenbay Batira Street, Almaty, Kazakhstan, + 7 727 291 47 97
Located in the Medeu district of Almaty, ARK Gallery has played an active part in the promotion and development of Kazakhstan’s modern and contemporary art scene. The gallery follows an incredibly egalitarian policy, showcasing the leading contemporary artists of Kazakhstan and Central Asia along with undiscovered talents and long forgotten or obscure Soviet underground artists. The gallery mostly displays artworks in traditional mediums such as paintings, sculptures and graphics; however, lately various mixed-media pieces have also found their way in the exhibition halls. The gallery hosts both solo and group exhibitions, with past exhibitions including such artists as Alexander Kuvshinov and Vyacheslav Lui Ko.
ARK Gallery, 240 Dostyk Avenue, Almaty, Kazakhstan, + 7 727 258 4066
A recent newcomer to the emerging art scene in Almaty, ArtSpace KZ features a variety of modern and contemporary art, as well as displays the most exquisite traditional artworks – distinctive jewelry pieces, traditional tufted carpets, fine ceramics, and a variety of wooden and leather accessories from Kazakhstan and all over the former Soviet Union. As in the case of the exhibition of Zhangir Umbetova and Amangul Ihanovoy, who used calfskin as a canvass for their paintings, or the Silk Road themed exhibition of Akhmet Akhat, the past exhibits of modern and contemporary art often show a certain reverence towards the Kazakh ancestral legacy and nomadic traditions.
Artspace KZ, 119 Furmanov Street, Almaty, Kazakhstan, + 77272732660
Established two years ago, independent art initiative Nedelka Project carries out a variety of educational and innovative projects in the following seven categories: visual art, architecture and design, cultural studies and philosophy, music, youth initiatives, literature and anthropology. Launched by entrepreneurial duo of young intellectuals, Timur Nusimbekov and Asel Yeszhanova, the initiative has launched a variety of contemporary art exhibitions, lectures and art events all over Kazakhstan, with the most recent exhibition, 1937: Territory of memory/ Zhoktau, exploring the nature and impact of Soviet political oppression on generations of modern artists in Central Asia, taking place in A.Kasteev Museum of Arts in Almaty.
Almaty, Kazakhstan, + 7 705 8603051