Popularizing Culture at Home and Abroad

Dec 07. MFA

Popularizing Culture at Home and AbroadInterview with Vice Minister of Culture and Information.

In an interview with Liter, Askar Buribayev, Kazakhstan’s Vice Minister of Culture and Information explained the Ministry’s involvement in staging concerts, plays, ballets, festivals and other cultural events in Kazakhstan this year.

Asked what made 2012 memorable for him, he said that staging the “Abay” opera by Akhmed Zhubanov and Latif Khamidi in the historical opera theatre in South Thuringia, Germany, was a pivotal moment for Kazakhstan; it was the first time that a Kazakh opera had been performed in western Europe.

The Ministry of Culture and Information has organized exhibitions and events with other CIS countries and TURKSOY – the International Organization of Turkic Culture. This year, TURKSOY declared Astana the cultural capital of the Turkic world. As part of this the Ministry organized a photo exhibition called “The new capital of the new millennium” in the “Aru Art” gallery, which attracted professional photographers from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Russia, Moldova, Turkey and Cyprus.

Mr. Buribayev said that the “Treasures of France – French art and culture from the Renaissance to our days” exhibition held in the Kazakh State Arts Museum deserved a special mention. Over 400 artefacts from the largest state museums – the Louvre, the Mus?e d’Orsay, the Centre Pompidou, the National Library of France and the main regional museums in Montpellier, Dijon and Aix-en-Provence could be seen on display in Kazakhstan in this unique exhibition.

At the diplomatic level, the Ministry has been organizing gala concerts to celebrate 20 years of bilateral relations between Kazakhstan and various states. This included a gala concert in Bishkek for the official opening of the days of Kazakh culture in Kyrgyzstan and a gala concert in October in the Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow, to celebrate 20 years of the Agreement on Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance between Russia and Kazakhstan.

The Ministry of Culture and Information takes an active part in cultural events at home and abroad. This also applies to theatre. In March a workshop for stage actors on “Traditions and innovation in modern theatre” and “Theatre criticism and its role in modern theatre” was held in Astana. The workshop brought together young directors, stage producers, teachers and students from the Zhurgenov Kazakh National Academy of Arts and professionals from abroad. This year Kazakh theatre companies travelled to share their plays with audiences in Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Turkey and South Korea.

When questioned on Kazakh cinema, Mr. Buribayev said that the Ministry is following a strategic plan to enhance the competitiveness of Kazakh cinema. This includes popularizing national culture both within the country and abroad. In accordance with state guidelines, the main themes tackled by Kazakh cinema are Kazakhstan’s history and contemporary life. The Ministry has supported the Cinematographers’ Union of Kazakhstan, which organized the first ethnographic cinema festival this spring in Astana and has played a key role in bringing Kazakh cinema to film festivals and forums in Europe, Asia and the US.

With so many cultural events in the capital, how does the Ministry ensure that far-flung regions of Kazakhstan are not left out? Mr. Buribayev replied that the Ministry has drawn up a plan for touring organizations to visit single-industry towns and that the Cinematographers’ Union has screened new Kazakh films in small towns around the country.