Uzbeks celebrate Art Week

Art lovers were able to enjoy films, plays and photographs during the event that sparked an interest in the arts.

By Maksim Yeniseyev


TASHKENT – Style.Uz Art Week 2012 brought together Uzbek art lovers and professional artists to exhibit their cultural riches from around the world in Tashkent October 4-9.

The sixth annual event, sponsored by the Culture and Art Forum Foundation, included such major events as the Second International Golden Cheetah Cinema Forum in Tashkent, the Sixth International Tashkent Photo Biennale and the Third International Theatre.Uz Festival, Forum Foundation spokeswoman Elina Dadayeva said.

Master classes taught by foreign guests, conferences, concerts, exhibitions and an Uzbek fashion show were among the numerous side events scheduled, she said.

The Golden Cheetah Cinema Forum, the opening event, presented 34 short and full-length movies selected by a jury from 473 films contributed by filmmakers from 43 countries around the world.

"The Golden Cheetah’s motto this year is ‘21st-Century Civilisations: A Dialogue of Cultures,’" Rustam Akbarov, of the festival’s organising committee, said. "We are happy the world is showing such a great interest in our festival, as confirmed by the large number of applications filed (by filmmakers). The films selected for the festival represent all parts of the world."

One special event provided viewers with the opportunity to screen a restored copy of one of the first-ever feature films shot in Uzbekistan.

"The reels of the silent movie ‘The Second Wife,’ made in 1927, were archived at the Russian State Film Fund," Akbarov said. "After a long and labourious restoration and digitisation, it has returned to the country where it was made. The Oscar-winning Russian director Vladimir Menshov personally brought it to the festival."

Theatre angle

The Theatre.Uz Festival has become a cultural event "of unique importance" to the entire region, critics say.

"Besides the Golden Cheetah, many other film festivals are held in Central Asia and here in Uzbekistan too, so the level of competition is fairly high, which is useful to both festival organisers and movie directors," theatre critic Dmitry Goncharov of Tashkent said.

"The situation with theatre festivals in the region is more complicated. Attempts to organise such festivals in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan – specifically, the Aralash Festival in Bishkek in 2010 – have not led to those festivals becoming regular events; besides, the organisers’ budgets are limited, and inviting theatre companies from abroad to take part is always very expensive," Goncharov said. "But the Theatre.Uz Festival is being held for the third time already, and we all hope it will be held as regularly in the future."

This year’s festival attracted theatre companies from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Germany, Israel, Russia and Bulgaria. A total of 21 performances were scheduled, and many workshops with guests from Europe and Russia were organised.

"This year’s focus will be on studying the creative process, the work of creating a theatrical production," Theatre.Uz art director Nabi Abdurakhmanov said. "We think it is important to involve spectators as participants, rather than just as viewers ... Only then can they have an idea of the tremendous effort required and cause [them] to rethink their own relationship to the theatre."

"Also, we think it is important to promote young talent and bring out its full potential," he added. "The current format of the festival will help us attain that goal. Hopefully, we’ll discover new theatrical stars during this festival."

Photography event

The Photo Biennale, this year held in Tashkent for the sixth time, already has established itself as a traditional event. This time, works by 200 authors from 35 countries – about 1,500 photos in all – were on display.

"Photo Biennale 2012 is held under the motto ‘I’m Part of the World – the World Is Part of Me,’" Dadayeva said. "We want our exhibitions to show how events and situations in different parts of the globe are perceived by people of different citizenship, ethnicity, religion and mentality."

"Attending the Art Week events is a very good opportunity for budding art critics as well as for professionals," beginning photographer Alyona Virigskaya said.

"There are many youth here, and there’s a lot of interesting material. This is what we younger people need for personal development, because if you find something you want to do, you won’t ever go down the wrong track in life."

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