I can see it's nature in everything I do. When immersed within the barren lands, a deep feeling of nothingness washes over you, but it's the perfect “nothing”.
The familiarity of infrastructure shielding you from yourself is suddenly absent. The knowledge of understanding oneself is graciously met when immersed in such a place where only thoughts can fill the air around you, and you feel the true proportion of your personality against this enormous void.
The “Steppe” fine art show by Aigana Gali is a distinctive manifesto of the artist’s heritage, identity, and creative spirit. Long parted from her homeland of Kazakhstan, it is a contemplation of the artist’s cultural roots and her emotional attachment to a place she continues to long for.
In this pioneering exhibition, the artist brings to light a forgotten land that has been marked by a fragmented history. It highlights a country in search of its identity after enduring Soviet oppression and colonisation for two centuries, and exposes a struggle to remember a Kazakh culture that has been suppressed and can no longer make its claim on autochthony. It also expresses the artist’s hope for Kazakh unity and inclusiveness, and her wish for people to remember the glorious, beautiful, and unworldly land that she romanticises.
Throughout the show, Aigana Gali strips away modern-day political discourse, superfluous human constructions, disparities between noisy and bustling cities and isolated villages, and re-centres the narrative on a core element that has survived through time: the Kazakh steppe. Historically the domain of tribal nomads, the steppe is ingrained with the essence and the roots of Kazakh culture. It tells a story of traditions, legends, mystical shamanism, and breath-taking landscapes, all symbolically interpreted by the artist.
Through a compilation of paintings, sculpture-like installations, video, and sound, the artist creates an all-encompassing experience that invites viewers to transcend and escape into the extraordinary world of the boundless steppe.
Specifically written for the show in collaboration with award- winning BBC composers Olivier Behzadi and Jimmy Green, music deserves singular attention. This masterful mix of Turk and Central Asian contemporary sound creates a complex, yet hypnotising atmosphere that adds mood to the artist’s work and amplifies the viewers’ sensory experience.
Onlookers are encouraged to feel and connect with the art, and appreciate the fragile balance between mind and matter, imagination and reality, spirituality and physical world, desolation and life, nothingness and completeness.