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building museum 1On October 4, 2019, a Scholarly Symposium on Kazakhstan’s Crafts and Creative Economy will be held at the National Building Museum (Washington, D.C., USA) hosted by the Smithsonian Institution’s annual Craft2Wear Show. Leading scholars from the A. Kasteyev Museum of Arts will present papers at the symposium, co-organized by Professor Dr. Gulmira Shalabayeva of the A. Kasteyev Museum and Dr. Paul Michael Taylor of the Smithsonian with the great support of the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan to US.

Kazakhstan’s crafts, stretching back to nomadic Saka-Scythian culture and the Great Silk Road, have attracted much attention from foreign scholars and museums.

The A. Kasteyev Museum of Arts has a preeminent collection of Kazakh crafts collected by generations of museum researchers from throughout Kazakhstan and from Kazakh communities in other countries. At the present time, the A. Kasteyev Museum is one of the leading centers for scholarship on the arts of Kazakhstan publishing a large number of monographs, catalogs, and other publications.

The A. Kasteyev Museum also has a long-term partnership with one of the leading global museums – the Smithsoniansmithsonian 1 Institution, through the Smithsonian’s Asian Cultural History Program, with many successful joint projects over the last few years.

This co-organized Scholarly Symposium - Kazakhstan’s Crafts and Creative Economy - is an important component of the Rukhani Zhangyry Program to promote Kazakh crafts and arts in the world. The Symposium will be held as a part of Craft2Wear Show which this year hosts the exhibition Kazakhstan: Soul of Tengri by the Union of Artisans of Kazakhstan. Organized by the SIWC Craft2Wear Show is a major and prestigious gathering of craft artisans and marketers that displays the work of American and worldwide craft artisans and designers.

At the Symposium A. Kasteyev Museum’s of Art presentations on Kazakh decorative & applied art will include: Carpet Weaving as a Global Cultural Phenomenon: Revisiting Ethnic Peculiarities and Intercultural Commonalities in Crafts (by Professor Gulmira Shalabayeva), The Images of the Nomadic Civilization in Kazakhstan’s Painting (by PhD in Art Ekaterina Reznikova), Ancient Symbols in Modern Kazakh Crafts and Designs (by Head of Public & Foreign Relations Clara Isabaeva), The Continuity of Nomadic Cultural Traditions in the Folk and Modern Jewelry of Kazakhstan (By Head of Kazakh Crafts Department Gulaim Zhumabekova) and The Treasures of the Great Steppe: Kazakhstan’s Tutankhamun (by the Head of Education Department Oksana Tanskaya). Smithsonian scholars Paul Taylor, Jasper Waugh-Quasebarth, Robert Pontsioen, Supamas Snitwongse, Inigo Acosta, and Jared Koller will serve as discussants and presenters of comparative craft research examples.

tumburin 1"This international symposium on Kazakhstan's Crafts and Creative Economy brings together outstanding scholars from Kazakhstan's Kasteyev State Museum of Arts and from the Smithsonian, comparing their approaches to the study of Kazakhstan's indigenous crafts in global perspective," says Dr. Paul Michael Taylor, director of the Smithsonian's Asian Cultural History Program and co-organizer of the symposium.

Ambassador of Kazakhstan to US Erzhan Kazykhanov: «As it was stressed in the article “Seven Facets of the Great Steppe” of Kazakhstan’s first President, Elbasy Nursultan Nazarbayev, in ancient times nomads used leather, felt, wool and flax for producing the clothes and other items. Harmony of steppe civilization with environment and nature is reflected in the elements of modern crafts. One of such examples is the snow leopard – the symbol of independent Kazakhstan. The event as a component of the Rukhani Zhangyru Program will provide a unique opportunity to present to the US public the mentality and values of the people of Great Steppe, nomadic culture and fragment of historical chronical of our ancestors”.

Clara Isabaeva – Head of the Press Office