GUVANCHMYRAT HOJANYYAZOV, They, 2007, oil on canvas, 75 × 100 cm. Courtesy the artist.


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Winning 98 percent of the votes in February 2017 elections, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov maintains his restrictive grip over this closed country. Travel abroad is restricted, leading to Turkmen artists’ exclusion from most regional exhibitions outside of official exchanges with other state museums. Often nationalistic in theme, cultural activities are funded by government entities.

Located in the capital Ashgabat, the Turkmen Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) houses more than 6,000 works primarily of Turkmen and Russian artists. In 2017, the MFA spotlighted paintings and graphic works by Nurat Hojakuliyev (3/19) and marked Victory Day for the Second World War (5/9) with sculptures and paintings by Turkmen artists including Izzat Klychev.  The State Academy of Fine Arts mounted modern paintings by Annadurdy Almamedovich (10/17). The Union of Artists also holds exhibitions of members’ work.

Ashgabat’s 2017 Culture Week (6/22–27) was held before the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, with events showcasing Turkmen visual artists.

The primary private gallery in Ashgabat is Studio Juma, formerly the workplace of sculptor Juma Jumadurdy, now maintained by the late artist’s widow Natalya Jumadurdiyeva. In collaboration with the Embassy of Italy, the gallery presented the art catalog Contemporary Artists from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan from Imago Mundi, a project of the Italian Fondazione Benetton Studi Recerche (6/7).

In the United States, Turkmen painter Guvanchmyrat Hojanyyazov was featured in a show at Gallery 1581 in Boston (3/31–6/30). In Russia, “Carpet Art of Turkmens” was held at the State Museum of Oriental Art in Moscow (5/25–6/11).

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