Gulnara Kasmalieva & Muratbek Djumaliev
Gulnara Kasmalieva and Muratbek Djumaliev live and work together Milan in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. Their work offers an insight into Central Asia and its links to modern Russia.
Through video and photographic installations they explore how the fall of communism has affected the lives of thousands of Kyrgyz people. They examine how economic and political unrest have changed lives, local economies and the ways of making a living.
Kasmalieva and Djumaliev, born in 1960 and 1965, received the customary academic art training in Moscow and Leningrad respectively, before the USSR split into separate countries in 1991. Their own birthplace became one of the Central Asian Republics and started life as an independent country. Kyrgyzstan lies to the west of China, north of Afghanistan with Tajikistan in between, and is located in part by what it contains, the Silk Road. This ancient way connected China to other parts of Asia as well as Europe and North Africa, was not as its names suggests one single road, but an extensive network of trading routes. Named after the successful trade in silk pioneered by the Han Chinese, it led over the centuries to cultural and commercial exchange. Kasmalieva and Djumaliev focus their interest on today’s exchanges.
Gulnara Kasmalieva and Muratbek Djumaliev have had solo exhibitions at The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, USA, the Winkleman Gallery, New York, and a film screening at MoMA New York, USA. The couple have shown their work in many biennales internationally and been included in group shows and the Zendai Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai, China, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, Taiwan. They have also established ArtEast, a not-for-profit organisation for art education in Bishkek in order that younger artists might experience and be able to exchange with others in the contemporary visual arts beyond Kyrgyzstan.