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Clouds, Power and Ornament – Roving Central Asia­

25 February 2023 - 21 May 2023



CHAT (Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile) is proud to launch its Spring Programme 2023, titled Clouds, Power and Ornament – Roving Central Asia­. Opening to the public from 25 February to 21 May 2023, the exhibition features works by 26 art and cultural creators from Central Asia. Through the exhibition co-curated by CHAT’s Wang Weiwei, alongside guest curators Slavs and Tatars, You Mi and Alexandra Tsay, CHAT will explore how Central Asian artists and designers use textile as a medium of preservation, response and cohesion.

As an art centre with a unique textile heritage, CHAT has always fixed its gaze on art and design through the lens of textile. Progressing from last year’s review of the East Asia region through the Spinning East Asia Series, CHAT will present its survey into the underexplored territories of Central Asia this Spring.

Artistic and Cultural Eye-Opener

Central Asia is home to many culturally diverse and vibrant countries with fascinating socio-political histories. Coinciding with Hong Kong’s Art Month and cultural events happening across the city, the exhibition will present a group portrait of Central Asian contemporary art and shed light on this region for Hong Kong locals as well as visiting international audiences.

Taking textile and crafts as the starting point, Clouds, Power and Ornament offers an in-depth exploration of the vast interconnected territory with its multi-layered politics, societies and cultures. Among various traditional elements presented, the exhibition uses ikat, a textile woven characterised by its elaborate and ‘blurred’ pattern, as a metaphor to present a view of the intricacies of the region’s political and social landscape. The exhibition will also focus on Central Asian traditional ornamentation, exploring it as a language that both reflects and shapes politics, society and culture. Its focus on Central Asian female artists also reveals important powers that have been concealed by mainstream narratives.

Visitors can expect a diverse array of works, from Gulnur Mukazhanova’s commissioned work of silk and felt adorned with traditional ornaments and motifs from Hong Kong and Kazakhstan, to Medina Bazargali & Kokonja’s experimental juxtaposition of nomadic themes and yurts with VJ culture in contemporary Almaty, to many more.

Dynamic Cultural Experiences for Local and International Community

Aside from the number of new and commissioned works exhibiting for the first time, visitors will also experience electrifying performances and special artist-led workshops and talks, particularly during a Cultural Festival on Central Asia to be held during April. Between 21-25 March 2023, CHAT will also run a booth to engage with visitors through talks and making activities at Art Basel Hong Kong at the HKCEC as one of its Cultural Partners.

Takahashi Mizuki, Executive Director and Chief Curator of CHAT, says, ‘We are excited to welcome local and overseas visitors through our doors and honoured to showcase the polyphonic artistic and cultural voices of this oft-overlooked but important region. I hope that visitors can be inspired by the creative spirit as well as the flexibility and resilient survival exhibited through these works.’

Wang Weiwei, the curator of the exhibition, says, ‘Linking East and West geographically through ancient Silk Road trade routes, multiple competing empires and regimes have ruled Central Asia, resulting in periods of social transformation, frequent exchange and integration of commodities, population, religion and culture for thousands of years. Exploring Central Asia will help us break through the limitations of binary opposition to find more fluid ways of thinking about complexity and contradiction and learn the experience and wisdom of co-existence.’

Exhibition participants, consisting of artists, designers, researchers and archives include 705 (Kyrgyzstan), Umida Akhmedova (Uzbekistan), Askhat Akhmedyarov (Kazakhstan), Alibay Bapanov (Kazakhstan), Saule Bapanova (Kazakhstan), Medina Bazargali & Kokonja (Kazakhstan), Nazzy Beglari(USA/UAE), Lidiya Blinova (Kazakhstan), Bakhyt Bubikanova (Kazakhstan), Marat Dilman (Kazakhstan), Saule Dyussenbina (Kazakhstan), Aziz Hazara (Afghanistan/ Germany), Asel Kadyrkhanova (Uzbekistan), Dilyara Kaipova & NoolOdin (Varied), Gulnara Kasmalieva & Muratbek Djumaliev(Kyrgyzstan), Kubra Khademi (France), Jazgul Madazimova (Kyrgyzstan), Gulnur Mukazhanova (Germany), Nazilya Nagimova (Germany), Furqat Palvan-Zade (Uzbekistan), Aziza Shadenova (UK), Yelena Vorobyova (Kazakhstan), Guzel Zakir (Kazakhstan), Madina Zholdybekova (UK), CA Research Group: Dana Iskakova, Aida Issakhankyzy, Aisha Jandosova, Lena Pozdnyakova, Anna Pronina, Yang Yeung (Varied) and The Central State Archive of Film, Photo Documents, and Sound Recording of the Republic of Kazakhstan.


25 February 2023
21 May 2023
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