By Chinara Sultanalieva
At the end of a quiet street in Bishkek, among houses with high fences, the bright orange logo of Bishkek Art Center is like an island in grey world.
The door greets you with the welcome sign and dozens of dogs, walking all around the administrative building of the Art center. Even though it is cold inside, thus is a lot of positive energy in this place. There is a strong smell of fresh paint, and palettes that have never been cleaned.
The exhibition hall is never empty of people. Dozens of exhibitions, performances and conferences have taken place there every year since it was established in 2006.
The administrative building, which consists of two exhibition halls and office, is just a part of a complex, which people used to call the “City of Artists” in former Soviet times. Volunteers, some of whom are Swiss citizens of the B’Art Center, help guide visitors. The Swiss have supported the center for more than five years.
The complex consists of 70 galleries. Each gallery is owned by a different artist. And every gallery is a kind of art factory. The variety of genres in which artists work is amazing. But modern art, or what they prefer to call contemporary art, is the most popular among them.
Many of the abstract works seems very strange indeed, but that’s what makes it so interesting.
The executive director of the B’Art Center, Shaarbek Amankul, is an artist himself. But for about two years he had no chance to create his own work. “When I was young I was very ambitious, as well as very romantic. I have been almost everywhere searching for adventures and what I called– inspiration and self-perfection–but I calmed down and understood that I should help people, not just myself,” said Amankul.
He spent two years in the army in Turkmenistan. He was restless and wanted to leave several times, but the desert frightened him. After coming back to Bishkek, his father, a famous musician expected his son to become a musician. But Amankul didn’t want to devote his life to music. He moved to Osh and began his work as an artist. Several years later, a group of orphanage children came to his gallery to learn about art.
Twenty years past, but still, Amankul is helping orphans to create art works in Bishkek. Twice a week children learn how to paint and make sculptures.
“I am very happy when I see how children like to create art works! I like to see their eyes shining,” said Amankul. “Children are our future!”
Anyone who is tired of predictable art, or children and other interested people who want to explore new kinds of art, can find new life in the art center’s exhibitions and galleries. The B’Art world is something which can be interesting and close to everyone. The B’Art Center is located at Karasaeva St. #1 (formerly Druzhba St.) and is open every day except Monday.