GENIUS LOCI - CENTRAL ASIA BY ALMAGUL MENLIBAYEVA
March 6, 2019 - September 20, 2019
Andakulova Gallery, Dubai, is hosting the first exhibition of the photographic and video works of leading Kazakh artist Almagul Menlibayeva. Titled ‘Genius Loci - Central Asia’, it will run from March 6 – September 20, 2019.
Born in 1969 in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Menlibayeva is a multi disciplinary artist who practices across several mediums such as painting, graphic art, performances, installations and video. In this exhibition, she uses her chosen mediums to reflect on cultural transformations of Central Asia, particularly Kazakhstan.
Her focus is on post-Soviet social issues, with a feminist slant.
The female protagonist is at the core of her practice, and through her striking and sometimes provocative compositions, she attempts to carve a space for her gender within the new cultural framework of post-Soviet Central Asia. Her women are invariably glamorous, well dressed and stylised, strong and powerful. Menlibayeva also introduces the ecological crisis of modern civilisation in her projects. Her subjects are placed in and around the Aral Sea, which was once the fourth largest lake in the world but now is almost dried up since its river sources were radically diverted for agricultural irrigation.
Masterfully, the lonesome figures in these artworks symbolise the isolation of modern city life as well as convey the sombre reality of looming environmental disaster, brought about by the desire to get modern quickly. The land lies bare and stripped in a surreal state of existence with discarded fishing fleets on dusty terrain, cleaved by monstrous metal left behinds. But the spirit of the land – its genius loci – asserts itself in the form of alluring hybrid beings, both sexually charged and bizarre.