Month: April 2019

How ForteBank Kulanshi ArtSpace cultivates a love of fine arts in Kazakhstanis

The ForteBank Kulanshi ArtSpace project was launched in 2016. Then, at the initiative of the ForteBank major shareholder, businessman and philanthropist Bulat Utemuratov, they managed to return to the homeland 24 paintings by well-known Kazakhstani artists. Masterpieces by Kasteyev, Mullashev, Stepanov, Aitbayev, Tynsykbayev and several other renown artists, bought back from abroad, formed the foundation of the new art space’s collection and became accessible for viewing to all Kazakhstanis and visitors of the capital absolutely free of charge. The shareholder entrusted the curatorship of the ForteBank’s modern gallery with the Kulanshi Modern Fine Arts Centre headed by well-known Kazakhstani artist Leila Makhat.  The Bank’s partnership with the brightest art project of the capital was commented by Bulat Utemuratov in this way: “When love and skills come together, you can expect a masterpiece.” 
And Leila Makhat speaks about her creative work in Nur-Sultan in the following words: “Having returned to Astana in 2017, I understood that there was no such a site here which would satisfy me as an artist and an organiser of exhibitions. The pieces of art brought by me from other countries and produced by myself did not fit into the frameworks of the museums and galleries which then existed. When I studied at the Berlin Municipality Museum Academy, we had practical lessons in various museums and galleries. In Astana I started doing what I have learnt by then and how I saw it myself. You cannot just come and put paintings up, every project must have its concept.” The Kulanshi team still follows these principles when they implement projects of the Modern Fine Arts Centre and ForteBank Kulanshi ArtSpace.
Pictured: Chair of the Curatorial Board, Kulanshi Modern Fine Arts Centre, Leila Makhat (right)
Located in the headquarters of ForteBank in the city of Nur-Sultan at 8/1 Dostyk, the ForteBank Kulanshi ArtSpace gallery has been giving joy of permanent and temporary displays to inhabitants and guests of the capital for three years now. By present, it has already unveiled for city dwellers 432 pieces of art by various artists and hosted 415,000 visitors. Among the gallery’s permanent display of works in the printed graphics halls one can see originals of lithographs of such globally known geniuses as Picasso, Chagall and even Dali. And temporary displays are renewed every 2-3 months: ForteBank Kulanshi ArtSpace exhibits both talented Kazakhstani artists and foreign ones. Decision on whose pieces of work will be exhibited in the gallery is made by the Kulanshi international curatorial board. This is a public association of art experts, artists, designers, curators, archeologists and historians from Kazakhstan, Austria, Portugal, Poland, China and Belarus, who have an extensive experience and standing in the international art market. When a bid is received, the curatorial board looks in the first instance at the quality of a project. Artists, collections or creative groups do not obligatory have to be known in wide circles, as the essence of the gallery’s work is to maintain a high level of quality of the presented projects and to discover new names. According to the Kulanshi representatives, at the very beginning of the way Bulat Utemuratov has outlined such targets as: to develop the visual arts of Kazakhstan and to popularise the intelligent consumption of art products in the society.
“We have a lot of the arts, but there is no culture of art products consumption. Sometimes people do not understand that the arts are created for them to see, to consume and to use. Ask any person in your office: “How many paintings do you have at home?” Original paintings, not reproductions or posters. It will turn out that there is one or two, or neither at all. We have nomadic mentality, but we have been living the settled life for a long while now and already must accumulate not only material things which we can demise, but also moral and spiritual ones. For example, to have an original of a piece of work by a modern artist means that your grandson will own a painting by the artist who was popular and the value of this painting will increase a lot”, says Leila Makhat.
Pictured: Display of “Dancing in the Dark” by renown Italian artist Ron Di Scenza in the ForteBank Kulanshi ArtSpace
The artist herself displayed her works in the gallery in 2017 within the framework of her personal exhibition “Osyndamyn”. The same year personal exhibitions of worldwide renowned French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec “Paris, Paris…”, Japanese installation artist Yasuaki Onishi “Vertical Emptiness” and famous Italian Ron di Scenza “Dancing in the Dark” took place. And in 2018 the ForteBank Kulanshi ArtSpace gallery showed to Astana people several multi-projects: “Classicism, Realism, Romanticism … Art of Western Europe. XIX — XX centuries”, “Seven Veils of Eurasia”, a joint exhibition of French artist Denis Marcon and young artists of Kazakhstan titled L’ART DE DIALOGUE, as well as an exhibition of works by Kazakh artists from the rich personal collection of Nurlan Smagulov’s family. The Bank itself believes that the concept of having the gallery in its head office supremely well describes the main principles of one of the largest financial institutions of the country. The project combines support of talented youth, interest in development of the country’s educational system and active participation in social processes. The ForteBank Kulanshi ArtSpace gallery is much more than sponsorship, it is the targeted long-term collaboration for development of the Kazakhstani society. That is exactly why the Bank plans to continue investing in development and preservation of the cultural heritage of the country.

How was the World Autism Awareness Day marked in Kazakhstan?

Every year the 2nd of April is marked internationally as the World Autism Awareness Day – the tradition originated in 2007 at the initiative of the State of Qatar and was established by the UN General Assembly. Kazakhstan started marking this day five years ago at the initiative of Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation. The initiative is justified by the wide spread of autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) – they are diagnosed for one out of 59 children in the world, according to the statistics of the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, and by the low awareness of this issue. Many people not only know nothing about the peculiarities of behavior and communication with ASD patients, but also do not assume the critical importance of early diagnosis and the big potential of correction programmes.
Pictured: Marat Aitmagambetov – Director of Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation
“When we were just starting the work in this field, every 159th child in the world was born with autism”, said Director of Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation Marat Aitmagambetov in his interview to the “Liter” Newspaper. “Last year every 59th child came into being with this pathology, and as for the beginning of this year – even every 49th. As international experts assess, there are already over 60,000 children born this year suffering from autism. In Kazakhstan – over 3,500.”
It is for four years now, that the problems of the children with ASD in Kazakhstan have been most actively addressed by Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation. Through its anchor programme “Autism. One world for all”, the Foundation set up a network of autism centres in six cities of Kazakhstan (Nur-Sultan, Almaty, Kzylorda, Ust-Kamenogorsk, Aktobe and Uralsk). These centres use the system of early diagnosis and timely support rendered to the children with ASD and their families, as well as their social adaptation through introduction of advanced western techniques developed by the University of California and the Marcus Autism Center in Atlanta. Founder Bulat Utemuratov has already allocated for the project over 12.5 million dollars and plans to continue investing, as the centres provide support to the children with ASD and their families free of charge – such assistance has already been rendered to over 5,000 children.

Autism is not a life sentence

Every year Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation holds many proactive actions in anticipation of the World Autism Awareness Day, to draw attention of the target audience to the issue and to raise awareness of the wider public through media and social networks. In 2019 a video was filmed where talented guys undertaking correction programmes in the Assyl Miras centres participated: Alisher Akimbayev, Aslan Reimbay and Aruzhan Iliyas told their stories to Kazakhstanis.
Pictured: a scene from the video – the story of Alisher


In addition, six cities of Kazakhstan hosted open educational workshops for those who wanted to know more about this issue. Nobody knows the exact causes of wide spread of the ASD, but the Assyl Miras specialists would like to deliver one key message to everyone: autism is not a life sentence. There are effective techniques of adaptation and development of  basic skills for children with ASD at present. Such children can gain vitally important skills of communication, socialization, educability, development of talents – and live the full life.
Pictured: six cities of Kazakhstan hosted open workshops on the ASD topic
A 5.5. km charity run was arranged in the city of Kzylorda at the initiative of Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation. Its purpose was raising people’s awareness about ASD symptoms in children and about importance of early diagnosis and correction. The Kzylorda Assyl Miras Autism Centre was opened in June 2016, and by now over 500 families have already approached it for assistance.
Pictured: charity run in Kzylorda devoted to the World Autism Awareness Day
Those living in Nur-Sultan also celebrated this important day. A well-known Kazakhstani artist Beibit Assemkul held a painting master class in The Ritz Carlton Hotel for children with ASD and their families. Organisers of the event were The Ritz Carlton Hotel Astana, the Nur-Sultan City Assyl Miras Centre and the Art Masters London educational project in the field of fine arts.
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