Installation view of DILYARA KAIPOVA’s (top to bottom) Zar-devor, 2019, abr-stained cotton fabric from Margilan, embroidery by the artist and craftsmen from Kashkadarya, 45 × 350 cm; and Chapan “Scream,” 2019, handmade abr-stained cotton fabric from Margilan, height 130 cm, at “Northern Lights of the South,” Zero Line Gallery, Tashkent, 2019. Courtesy the artist and Zero Line Gallery. 


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The new Center for Contemporary Art (CCA) in Tashkent, which had a soft launch in April, is part of Gayane Umerova’s overhaul of Uzbekistan’s art institutions as the executive director of the culture ministry’s Art and Culture Development Foundation (ACDF). The organization has raised hopes of a regeneration of the country’s art scene following years of stagnation. However, inflation continues to leave much of the population struggling. Uzbekistan’s entry into the Turkic Council in October is an attempt to court international investment near and far.

In Tashkent, the CCA’s solo exhibition of filmmaker Saodat Ismailova (4/12–6/1) opened with her performance Qyrq Qyz (40 Girls) (2018/19), involving live traditional music against a video backdrop of Uzbekistan landscapes. The center’s inaugural program also featured film screenings organized in collaboration with Moscow’s Garage Museum of Contemporary Art (4/14–5/25), an increasingly significant player in the Central Asian art scene. The ACDF announced in August that the State Museum of Arts of Uzbekistan will undergo a Tadao Ando-led refurbishment.

The Palace of Youth Creativity hosted the Goethe-Institut’s touring exhibition “The Border” (1/15–2/15), which included Umida Ahmedova and Oleg Karpov’s video Hostages of Eternity (2007). The Art Gallery of Uzbekistan houses an extensive permanent collection of modern and contemporary art, and presents temporary exhibitions, including a solo show by painter Nigina Mirzadzhanova (11/22–12/2). The Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan is located in Tashkent’s Ikuo Hirayama International Caravanserai of Culture. Emerging and established artists alike showcase their works at the Tashkent House of Photography.

Run by artist and curator Vyacheslav Akhunov, Zero Line Gallery mounted the group show “The Service Character of Dreams” (6/14–8/1) with digital and installation art by Andrei Kornienko, Timur Mirzakhmedov, and Angela Trofimova, among others, as well as textile artist Dilyara Kaipova’s “Northern Lights of the South” (11/1–29). 

Bonum Factum (formerly Art and Fact Gallery) mounts exhibitions in partnership with foreign-funded initiatives such as the Embassy of Switzerland’s Swiss Cooperation Office in Uzbekistan. As part of its extensive educational program, the gallery hosted “Art Battle: Identification of Central Asia” (11/26–30), an international forum for curators and art professionals working in the region. 

In the western city of Nukus, the Karakalpakstan State Museum of Art holds one of the most impressive and important collections of Soviet avant-garde art. In Samarkand, Aysel Art Gallery and Art Studio, led by artist Normurod Negmatov, primarily shows painting and applied art with national themes.

Abroad, New York’s Sapar Contemporary, in partnership with Almaty’s Aspan Gallery, hosted “Beyond Fragmentation: Contemporary Collage from Central Asia” (1/11–2/16), which included pieces by Vyacheslav Akhunov with fragments of Soviet-era printed matter. Dubai’s Andakulova Gallery held a retrospective of painter Nikolai Shin, an Uzbek artist of Korean descent (10/22–2/20/20). 

In 2020, the CCA in Tashkent will officially open to the public, expanding the Uzbek capital’s regional profile as a growing art center. 

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