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Unbelievable! Central Asia Takes Center Stage at Asia Now Fair!

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Unbelievable! Central Asia Takes Center Stage at Asia Now Fair!

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Central Asia’s Art Scene Gets Spotlight at Asia Now Fair in Paris

In a region that defies categorization, the art of central Asia is set to take center stage at the ninth edition of the Asia Now fair in Paris. The fair aims to shine a light on contemporary artists from countries such as Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, where there is a rich cultural identity that is difficult to pin down. Despite gathering attention at an institutional level, art from the region still faces relatively low market demand. The fair hopes to change that.

Arabic writing in white neon with a hairy curtain partially over it
‘What Was My Name’ (2020) by Saodat Ismailova
© Courtesy the artist. Photo: Ilyas Ualiyev

Kazakhstan plays a dominant role in the central Asian art scene, with Almaty, its largest city, home to a number of galleries. Artists from the region are still relatively unknown to many European curators, art critics, and collectors, making events like the Asia Now fair an important platform for exposure.

The fair, curated by artist collective Slavs and Tatars, aims to challenge the Western-centric reading of art and break the barrier between high and low art. The focus of this year’s edition will be contemporary works inspired by textiles, using fabric as a metaphor for the information age and the intermingling of different cultural roots.

Tapestry of a rather abstract family in their living room
‘In the room of memory’ (2023) by Dariya Nurtaza
© Courtesy the artist/Pygmalion Art Gallery

The fair will also feature expert talks exploring important issues in contemporary Asian art, such as decolonization and diaspora. While museums and collectors are showing growing interest in individual artists from central Asia, there is still relatively rare focus on the scene as a whole. The fair hopes to change this and pave the way for increased collection and recognition of central Asian art.

A painted triptych of three arches: yellow with grey visible through, grey with blue and red with grey
Untitled (2021) by Gulnur Mukazhanova
© Courtesy the artist/Michael Janssen Gallery. Photo: Lepkowski Studios

Art fairs like Asia Now are instrumental in increasing momentum for emerging art scenes, and the fair hopes to attract collectors who will become guardians of central Asian art works for generations to come.

asianowparis.com

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