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Almagul Menlibayeva

emerging contemporary artists: Almagul Menlibayeva

Born in Kazakhstan in 1969, Almagul Menlibayeva's subject matter is the cultural, historical and geographical landscape of her homeland.

Her videos and accompanying photographs seek to investigate and represent Kazakhstan's past; both as a country of nomadic peoples with age-old beliefs and traditions, and as a constant target of Russian occupation that culminated in its annexation as a Soviet state.

These contrasting influences are fused into dream-like, highly poetic works in which both major facets of the Kazakhstani identity overlap and, to an extent, reconcile.

Almagul Menlibayeva (detail)Almagul Menlibayeva - emerging contemporary artists (detail)

The protagonists of her videos are often semi-mythical figures resurrected from legend and folklore; shamanistic rituals that were repressed under Soviet rule are played out against a backdrop of vast steppes and barren, mountainous terrain.

Yet the Soviet era was as much a shaping force as the country's indigenous traditions, and its vestiges continually appear in Menlibayeva's work. From crumbling factories to characterless cityscapes, the remnants of a recent past intersect with ancient history and a present in the making.

July 2008


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