ARTBAT FEST 2014 in Almaty is a forum for the art and the city

The variety of ephemeral interventions in Almaty aim to show the complementarity of art and city and the bonding power of culture to a broad audience. Photo: courtesy Artbatfest

The 5th International Contemporary Art Festival in Kazakhstan capital focuses on the role of creative disciplines in programs of urban development.

ALMATY. The 5th International Contemporary Art Festival – ARTBAT FEST (28 August – 29 September 2014) is a public art event in the most literal meaning possible. The fifth edition of the festival once again brings a dazzling array of Kazakh and international public art and urban cul­ture to the streets of the Arbat area of Kazakhstan’s most happening city of Almaty, announced artbat.kz.


SmartCity is an art project exploring the potential impact of art on social behaviour favorable to the environment and society and also studying the aesthetic impact on the development of infra­structure of the city. The project, based on the principle of using art and design to improve the public space, focuses on the role of creative disciplines in programs of urban development. The project offers an ambitious plan to develop the city as a space for life, balancing social, economic and environmental issues with infrastructure needs,” says Christina Steinbrecher-Pfandt, curator 5th International Contemporary Art Festival ARTBAT FEST – Smart City (and artistic director VIENNAFAIR The New Contemporary).

The backbone of ARTBAT FEST is the Public Art Project of site-specific installations which starts in the pedestrian area, locally knows as „Arbat”. The insertion of these objects in the urban context and a varie­ty of ephemeral interventions aim to show the complementarity of art and city and the bonding power of culture to a broad audience. International artists participating in the Public Art Project are: Sam Adams and Mohammed Jan (UK), Aleksander Lysov (RU), Martin Denker and Friedermann Banz (DE), EVOL (DE), Pavel Kiselov (RU), Rashad Alakbarov (AZ), Societe Realiste (FR), Pierre Laurent (fr), Refunk (NL) and MishMash project (RU). Kazakh artists are: Said Atabekov, Sarlibek Bekbotaev, Saul Suleimanov, Georgi Triakin-Bucharov and Smail Bailiev. Performances in the framework of the Public Art Project by Salvatore Viviano (IT) and Rene Stessl (AT).

In addition to the Public Art Project, UK artist Sickboy, known for his signature Save the Youth, will spearhead the Street Art Project and draw graffiti on a building in the Samal district. Sickboy creates beautiful and complicated, sometimes ripping-your-head-off pictures, which can be examined for a long time. The Street Art Project is made possible with the support of the British Council in Kazakhstan.

In addition to the outdoor projects ARTBAT FEST 5 also presents a series of indoor exhibitions in various venues around the city of Almaty.

For On Love and Other Teachers… curators Dina Baitassova (KZ-FR) and Emilie Trice (USA) work around the main theme of Love as a universal concept, understandable and exciting for everyone. The exhibition introduces young Kazakh artist such as: Alexandra Ali, Srylybek Bekbotayev, Kamilla Kadyrkhanova, Aigerim Mazhitkhankyzy, Gulnar Mukazhanova, Sholpan Sharbakova, Anastasiya Silkina, Suinbike Suleimanova and Ada Yu. The project showcases artists younger than 35 and is staged in the underground parking space of the Almaly Shopping Centre.

Photo: courtesy ArtbatfestKazahk artist and curator Gaisha Madanova and Dutch artist group REFUNK team up for two projects in two distinct areas of the city. The Non – Central City Project will take place in the Koktem micro-district and the Communication Playground Youth Project on Abylai Khan Street. Madanova currently working in Germany develops the concepts, which will be visualized by REFUNK. With used industrial and household materials Dutch art-group REFUNK creates unusual spaces for useful and pleasant pastime. REFUNK is guided by the approach that anything can be utilized for creation of anything. The artists find ideas for design in the things themselves following their own composition, stories and social context.

Visual Library by Ivars Gravlejs, Misha Most and Andrey Syaylev shows works of all three artists united by „text“ as media and the principle of literature. The artworks on display are part of the collection of the Vladimir Smirnov and Konstantin Sorokin Foundation, which was created in 2008 in Russia. It is actively involved in the Russian and Foreign artistic life. Foundation mission is to promote young Rus­sian artists. „Visual Library” – Esentai Mall, Serik Booxikov Workshop.

As from September 4, Artwin Gallery, a new Moscow gallery established by sisters Madina and Mariana Gogovs, presents a solo exhibition of well-known Ukrainian artist Oksana Mas at the Kasteyev State Museum of Art in Almaty.

Besides the main artistic elements ARTBAT FEST finds its aim in contributing to dialogue between Ka­zakh and foreign artists on one side and a more detailed introduction to the world of contemporary art of Almaty citizens on the other side reaching out to both professionals and untrained audience and children…

ARTBAT FEST was organized for the first time in 2010, starting out as a local initiative, growing ever since. The organizers of the event are ambitious and aim, through the project, to impact positively on the city’s urban development and show local and international art to a broad audience in Almaty. Raising interest for contemporary art and educating the public at large is a very important aspect only superseded by the overall mission of ARTBAT FEST which is to support the growth of Kazakh contemporary art, its artists, galleries and art institutions.

Igor Sludsky, Head of the Public Association Eurasian Cultural Al­liance, organizers of ARTBAT FEST, says:Originally the festival was conceived as an event to develop the pedestrian area – Arbat – in Al­maty. Soon it became clear the event should grow not only domestically but also internationally. We started inviting curators and artists from the US, Europe and CIS countries but also paid great attention to Kazakh participants. The main purpose of ARTBAT FEST is to create a communica­tion platform for cultural exchange between representatives of international and Kazakhstan artis­tic communities. In addition, we aim to bring a new artistic vision to the urban development of our young and emerging city.

The Eurasian Cultural Alliance is a non governmental and non of profit organization founded in 2011 in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Today the Eurasian Cultural Alliance works towards socio-economic development of the Republic Of Kazakhstan in the fields of culture and creative economy. The main goal of the Alliance is the promotion of Kazakh modern art, Kazakh artists and cultural projects locally and abroad.

Culture and art are the base and infrastructure for urban development. It is also important for a number of major industries, primarily – education, tourism and entertainment,” said Dmitry Y. Aksenov, CEO RDI, strategic partner of the fifth edition of ARTBAT FEST. No wonder that ad­vanced businesses tend to get the objects of culture in asset management as they see another one benefit in culture – economic one. In addition the role of culture is increasing due to urbaniza­tion and the growth of cities. Culture helps to meet the vital needs of the modern people , to cre­ate decent living conditions, contributes to the development and personal fulfilment . Urban stud­ies have nowadays acquired a special meaning and it is a long-term process. To implement a new master plan of the city will take at least a quarter a century. However the people should get a sign immediately to avoid the feeling that everything is created only for the future generations. It is art and culture that give this instant communication.

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Photo: courtesy Artbatfest5th International Contemporary Art Festival
ARTBAT FEST – Smart City 2014

Main Projects:

Public Art Project – Arbat area and adjacent venues (28.08 till 29.09).

Sam Adams and Mohammed Jan (UK), Aleksander Lysov (RU), Martin Denker and Friedermann Banz (DE), EVOL (DE), Pavel Kiselov (RU), Rashad Alakbarov (AZ), Societe Realiste (FR), Pierre Laurent (FR), Refunk (NL). Kazakh artists are: Said Atabekov, Sarlibek Bekbotaev, Saul Suleimanov, Georgi Triakin-Bucharov and Smail Bailiev;

Street Art Project – Samal district (28.08 till 29.09).
Sickboy (UK);

On Love and Other Teachers… – Almaly Shopping Centre (28.08 till 20.09).
Alexandra Ali, Srylybek Bekbotayev, Kamilla Kadyrkhanova, Aigerim Mazhitkhankyzy, Gulnar Mukazhanova, Sholpan Sharbakova, Anastasiya Silkina, Suinbike Suleimanova and Ada Yu (all participants from Kazakhstan) – curated by Dina Baitassova (KZ-FR) and Emilie Trice (USA);

Non – Central City Project – Koktem microdistrict (30.08 till 29.09).
REFUNK (NL) – curated by Gaisha Madanova (KZ);

Communication Youth Playground Project – Abylai Khan Street (30-08 till 29.09).
REFUNK (NL) – curated by Gaisha Madanova (KZ)

Visual Library – Esentai Mall, Serik Booxikov Workshop (30.08 till 20.09).
Ivars Gravlejs (LV), Misha Most (RU) and Andrey Syaylev (RU). Works part of the collection of the Vladimir Smirnov and Konstantin Sorokin Foundation;

Solo Exhibition Oksana Mas – Kasteyev State Museum of Art (04.09 – 20.09)
Oksana Mas (UA). Presented by Artwin Gallery, Moscow, (RU).

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Organisers:
Eurasian Cultural Alliance;
Strategic Partners:
The Major’s Office of the City of Almaty, RDI and IADA;
Partners: British Council in Kazakhstan, Alliance Francaise, Goethe-Institut Kazakhstan, Vladimir Smirnov and Konstantin Sorokin Foundation, Artwin Gallery, Buro 24/7, Almaly Shopping Center, Serik Booxikov Workshop and shopping mall TSUM Almaty.

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