British Kazakh Society is delighted to provide a platform for Almaty- based Aspan Gallery for its current exhibition titled “What was my name?” by Saodat Ismailova which explores the complex identity of a Central Asian woman.
The title of the exhibition Menim ismim kim edi? comes from the artist's eponymous installation, consisting of horsetail and neon writing in Arabic script in Old Uzbek "What was my name?". This work, like the entire exhibition, is, first of all, an artist's question to herself and to all women of Central Asia who hav
e experienced political and ideological changes of the last century and their echoes, with particular focus on the transformation in changing values associated with the cultural, linguistic and spiritual worlds.
The exhibition is divided into two parts with the main exposition held at Aspan Gallery and the Celestial Circles installation shown at the "DOM na Baribayeva" in Almaty, Kazakhstan. It comprises Saodat Ismailova's programmatic videos, as well as new installations.
Saodat Ismailova was born in 1981 in Tashkent. She graduated from the Faculty of Film Directing and Television at the State Institute of Arts in Tashkent. In 1999, she won the Grand Prix of the Tashkent Student Film Festival with her first short film. In 2002, Ismailova was invited to study at the Centre for the Study of Arts Factory in Treviso. In 2004, her documentary Aral. Fishing in an Invisible Sea won a prize for the best picture at the Turin Film Festival. From 2004 to 2010, Saodat Ismailova created 10 documentary films about the music of Central Asia, released by the Smithsonian Institute, USA.
In 2010, Ismailova studied screenwriting and directing art at Robert Redford's Sundance Institute, USA. Her feature film, 40 Days of Silence in 2014 was nominated as the best debut film at the International Film Festival in Berlin and won awards at other international festivals. In 2013, Ismailova presented her first video installation Zukhra at the Central Asia Pavillion at the Venice Biennale.
From 2015 to 2017, Saodat Ismailova studied at the National Center for Contemporary Art Le Fresnoy in Paris. In 2017 her solo exhibition dedicated to the Turan tiger The Haunted was held at the Centre for Contemporary Art, Tromso, Norway. In 2018, Saodat implemented cross-disciplinary project Qyrq Qyz, premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, USA and the Quai Branly Museum in Paris.
Currently Saodat is working on her second feature film Barzag.
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