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In the Shadow of "Heroes"

2nd Bishkek International Exhibition of Contemporary Art, Kyrgyzstan. Artists mostly from Central Asia.
Nov 2005


The official post-Soviet images of the heroic are already very well represented on Central Asian territory. The present-day creation of heroic myths has resulted in the cloning of numerous portrait statues on horseback all the way from the Caspian Sea to Mongolia. The search for cultural identity is in crisis. Somewhere within us, we experience an unwavering sense that what is most important has been left behind, beyond the limits of public attention, in the shadow of "heroes."

One of the eternal problems for creative people is the understanding the "heroes" of their time. Artists’ identities are indissolubly connected to their surrounding environments, and their creative works, in one way or another, reflect the processes occurring in society at any given moment.

Contemporary Central Asia is characterized, on the one hand, by collective phobias, skepticism, disappointment, and a lack of faith in tomorrow and, on the other, by adventurism, cynicism, and a desire for pleasure and success. The overwhelming prevalence of these moods and behaviors leads us to ask the question: How can we define the "hero" of our time? What is he like? In what contexts is he represented? Is there an inherent conflict in asking what makes for a "hero" in today’s world, when "anything goes" in the arts? Can we speak with certainty of the loss of "the enemy" in artistic representations? How should artists relate to mass media treatments of "heroes"?

Ernest Abdrazakov (Kyrgyzstan), Lida Abdul (Afghanistan/USA), Ruben Arevshatyan (Armenia), Said Atabekov (Kazakhstan), Vyacheslav Akhunov (Uzbekistan), Olga Chernysheva (Russia), Yelena Vorobiova (Kazakhstan), Victor Vorobiov (Kazakhstan), Gamal Bokonbaev (Kyrgyzstan), Iliko Zautashvili (Georgia), Mariam Ghani (Afghanistan/USA), Alia Girik (Kazakhstan), Dmitri Gutov (Russia), Ulan Djaparov (Kyrgyzstan), Muratbek Djumaliev (Kyrgyzstan), Natalia Dyu (Kazakhstan), Alimjan Jorobaev (Kyrgyzstan), Saltanat Kaibyldaeva (Kyrgyzstan), Elena Kambina (Uzbekistan), Gulnara Kasmalieva (Kyrgyzstan), Roman Maskalev (Kyrgyzstan), Yerbossyn Meldibekov (Kazakhstan), Alexander Nikolaev (Uzbekistan), Koka Ramishvili (Georgia), Valeri Ruppel (Kyrgyzstan), Adis Seytaliev (Kyrgyzstan), Alexander Ugay (Kazakhstan), Cao Fei (China), Alexander Fyedorov (Kyrgyzstan), Oksana Shatalova (Kazakhstan)
Sub-project "In the Shadow of Fallen Heroes", Curator: Sara Raza (Great Britain), Artists from Iranian or Kurdish heritage:, Rey Akdogan (Germany), Shahram Entekhabi (Germany), Nooshin Farhid (Great Britain), Shahram Karimi (Germany), Maria Kheirkhah (Great Britain), Mitra Memarzia (Great Britain), Mitra Tabrizian (Great Britain), Safi Yazdanian (Iran)
Participants of the panel discussions:, Alena Boika, Umelec magazine, Prague, Aron Brudny, American University of Central Asia, Bishkek, Valeria Ibraeva, SCCA-Almaty, Viktor Misiano, editor of the Moscow Art Magazine, Sara Raza, art critic, Great Britain, Georg Schöllhammer, Documenta 12 Magazine, editor of Springerin magazine, Vienna

© Press release from the organizer, October 2005

In the Shadow of "Heroes"
7 - 17 October 2005
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan



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