British Council, 10 Spring Gardens, London, SW1A 2BN
9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday
An exhibition of new work by contemporary designers from Kazakhstan will go on show at the British Council’s London headquarters on the 23 June.
Providing a cross-section of current Kazakh design, ‘City Nomads’ will showcase a range of contemporary creative activities including photography, film-making, fashion design and architecture. The exhibition has been developed in collaboration with Atomik Architecture, an emerging architecture practice based in both London and Almaty in Kazahkstan, and reflects the vibrant cultural landscape of contemporary Kazakhstan.
The exhibition will comprise five sections:
A collaboration between fashion designer Assel Nussipkozhanova and photographer Kairat Temirgali will reinterpret traditional Kazakhstani costume. On display will be a traditional embroidered shapan, a long, loose robe, which will reflect the modern transition of Kazakh people from rural to urban settings; and nomadic to settled dwellings.
Industrial designer Dias Murzabekov has worked with creative platform and concept store Experimentarium to develop new products which experiment with traditional materials, to reshape the functions of recognisable objects. Items on display will include a bag that doubles up as a table-cloth (dastarkhan), tea bowls, Tumar dolls and a Papaphone Iphone case, as well as illustrations imagining a Kazakh Bazaar.
Fashion designer Danila Kuchumov and culture and design publication Étage will draw inspiration from Kazakhstan’s past to design clothes for ‘the modern khan’. A dress by Danila Kuchumov as well as spreads from Étage will be on display.
Fashion designer Tolegen Batentayev and film director Katerina Suvorova’s collaborative piece is inspired by the expansive landscapes of the Steppe and the Aral Sea. The artists imagine a solitary woman living in these boundless whose character is described through folkloric songs in the documentary Steppe Inside / Sea Tomorrow which will run alongside the dress designed by Batentayev.
Flexibility is the characteristic that defines the nomads and in modern Kazakhstani society this phenomenon still exists. Designer Liza Kin has created a folding bed, a micro home, from components found in Almaty’s flea markets, which will be on display, while Atomik Architecture, curators of the exhibition, have designed a pavilion which is inspired by the traditional transportable homes of the Kazakh nomad. A scale model of the pavilion will be on display at the exhibition.
Atomik Architecture, whose recent projects include It’s Not Who You Are, It’s How You Are, selected the exhibitors, curated and designed the exhibition.
Sarah Mann, British Council Director of Architecture, Design, Fashion, said: “We’re delighted to support this exhibition of work by emerging Kazakh designers, introducing the incredible vibrancy of contemporary Kazakhstan to the international community. Working with Atomik Architecture we are exploring the differences and parallels between a new generation of British and Kazakh creatives. We hope that this will open up the possibility of new collaborations and opportunities for designers and institutions from two very different countries and cultures.”
Mike Oades of Atomik Architecture said: “We are incredibly proud to be able to introduce an emerging creative community from Kazakhstan to London. In the context of their own country’s recent independence, this new generation of Kazakhstani designers and artists are addressing questions of identity that will resonate with all us.”