Trasoxiana Dreams, XXI
Born in Kazakhstan, Almagul Menlibayeva is a cosmopolitan artist who represents the modern image of a nomadic woman traveling in art as freely as in real life.
Her works can take the form of a tekemet, a traditional felt carpet, or a video performance. The use of motifs from the Kazakh steppe, Mazars (Muslim tombs), sheep’s heads (the sheep is the totem animal of the Kazakhs), Central Asian textiles, as well as various allusions to regional folklore, ancient legends and Sufi wisdom, is central to Menlibayeva’s work. The artist herself appears in these works, deliberately revealing a classical Asian face.
Thus, Almagul Menlibayeva – a shaman, a nomad and a woman – resists not only the authoritarian fundamentalism of the Kazakh regime, but also the instrumental rationality of globalization that has come to Central Asia.
French people were able to appreciate her work during her monographic exhibition “Transformation” at the Grand Palais in Paris in 2016.