International Land-art Symposium "Nomad", from 10 to 20 July 2015

In the period from 10 to 20 July 2015 for the first time in East Kazakhstan an international land art symposium "Nomad" took place in the unusual setting of the museum-reserve "Berel" in the beautiful central valley of the Katon Karagay National Park. The symposium was organized by Youth public association Environment and Tourist Centre "TEC" from Kazakhstan and Machaon International  from Slovakia in close co-operation with the Regional History Museum and administration of the Museum-reserve "Berel". It was also supported by the Akimat of East Kazakhstan.

The place and leading theme of the event were not selected by coincidence. Berel area used to be important for the ancient inhabitants of Kazakhstan as evidenced by multitude of highly valued archeological artifacts found and about 100 funeral mounds (kurgans) discovered there, many dating back to early nomads (IV-III centuries BC) and the ancient Turkic time (VII-VIII centuries BC). Hence, the symposium gathered painters and sculptors to celebrate this unique heritage of nomadic culture in ancient Kazakhstan and to lay foundations for the establishment of a new exposition "Nomad".

The artistic supervision was entrusted to Mikhail Beketov - an acclaimed artist representing Machaon International. In a record time of one week artists such as Alexey Sheboldaev (Russia), Dmitry Zaitsev (Belarus), Marina Gromova (Kyrgyzstan), Oleg and Margarita Jakubowich, Baygazhi Zhakiyarov, Alexander Meshcheryakov, Sergei Trykov and Olga Lovina (Kazakhstan) reated 16 unique and diverse art objects, which are presented in this brochure together with glimpses at artists, volunteers and local residents at work. Important social element of art-symposium was that 9 orphan-children from Serebriansk boarding school and 2 volunteers contributed to art creation.

The week-long event was accompanied by rich cultural and excursion programme organised by local people trained or supported during the Golden Altai project: 5 youth guides organised excursion through art-exhibition, 20+ young students showed folklore programme (some of them used costumes created in the framework of the project), 8 craft masters sold their production during the fair. 100 + visitors and 7 journalists visited the art-symposium.

Results of the activities

ñ  EU best practices and know-how  of organizing low-cost art-events in remote rural areas were effectively transferred to Kazakh partners, management capacity and skills enhanced and networking 3 NGOs - 10 artists - Akimat VKO - Museum-reserve Berel - Katon-Karagay National Park  strengthened;

ñ  the event helped to boost efforts to improve tourist infrastructure and to spur local development: the exposition Nomad created was included by Akimat VKO to the list of main attractions for EXPO2017 visitors and will be promoted at country level;

ñ  development and testing of ‘social integration programme’ via involvement of orphans in art creation (art symposium) contributed to improved adaptation of 9 orphans into socio-economic environment and strengthened their mental and physical health and helped them with professional orientation (already one young participant of the symposium chose Art-college for further education), high appreciation of this programme by 2 teachers;

ñ  10 + local masters and entrepreneurs had direct income through participation in fair;

ñ  20 + young local people got practical experience in organisation of folklore performances and excursions and a stronger bond and feeling of ownership towards local culture and traditions;

ñ  10 artists (including 6 local) got unique experience in participation in an innovative art-symposium, increased professional capacities (art-techniques) and knowledge in organisation art events. Despite the fact that all artists (excluding art-coordinator) participated in the symposium on a volunteer basis, all are ready to cooperate with each other and the project team in new events.