The Kyrgyz National Museum of Fine Arts in Bishkek

The Kyrgyz National Museum of Fine Arts in Bishkek showcases native art forms as well as painting, sculpture, and other works, highlighting those created by Kyrgyz artists. The museum is centrally located and is perfect for a day trip with an abundance of restaurants and cafes nearby. Up to date information on tickets, audio guides […]

Magtymguly Pyragy and the Turkmen Nation    

The name Magtymguly Pyragy might sound hopelessly unfamiliar to a Western ear. For Turkmens, the main ethnic group inhabiting the former Soviet republic Turkmenistan, however, it is a household name. Magtymguly (pronounced Mahg-tim-goo-lee) was an 18th century Sufi poet and spiritual teacher. Today he is considered the father of Turkmen literature and is a nationally […]

Kyrgyz State Opera and Ballet Theater in Bishkek: History and Artistry Through Student Eyes

The Kyrgyz State Opera and Ballet Theater is a prominant fixture in central Bishkek with a nearly century-old history. It is a pride of the city’s artistic and intellectual community and often recommended to SRAS students studying in Bishkek by locals. Below is the history and performances of this great institution as told by American […]

Kazakh New Wave Cinema: Kazakhstan Finds Its Place in Global Film

New wave, an art world term for any time when a sudden explosion of art is made with experimental styles, is an apt title for the movement that elevated the Kazakhstan film industry from obscurity to international fame in just a matter of years. In an interview for the Los Angeles Times in 1990, Forrest […]

A Day in Tashkent’s Old City: Travel from Bishkek with SRAS

As part of SRAS’s Central Asian Studies program, students had the opportunity to travel to Uzbekistan for a full week. The first day of this week-long expedition began with a half-day tour of Tashkent’s old part of town. We were accompanied by our guide, Donat, or “Don” for short. He had outstanding English, and even […]

The Mikhail Frunze Museum in Bishkek

The Mikhail Frunze Museum in Bishkek was founded by the Soviets as part of their tribute to Mikhail Frunze. Mikhail Frunze was a Red Army leader that was instrumental in crushing resistance in Central Asia during the Russian Civil War. In his honor, the city, which had previously been known as Pishpek, was renamed Frunze […]

Ne Prosto Orchestra at Bishkek’s Philharmonic

On Friday, September 20, Ne Prosto Orchestra performed at the Bishkek’s Philharmonic. Ne Prosto Orchestra (The Not Just an Orchestra) is based out of Almaty, Kazakhstan. They are a group of young musicians that specialize in playing movie soundtrack scores. Originally put together by a few recent college graduates trying to figure out how to […]

Guide to Bishkek’s Top Museums

The Kyrgyz were largely a nomadic civilization up until the 20th century. It should be no surprise, then, that many of Kyrgyzstan’s greatest museums are outside and/or in rural areas. The city of Bishkek also has a number of more traditional museums, mostly established during (and today often unchanged from) Soviet times, including a number […]

Saira Keltaeva: Exploring Uzbek and Feminine Identity

Many describe Saira Keltaeva as one of the most unique phenomena emerging from the modern Uzbek art scene in recent decades. Born on May 16th, 1961,  in the village of Kumyshkan, located in the Tashkent region of modern day Uzbekistan, her oil paintings master the use of vibrant color and ethnographic decoration to create portraits […]

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