Zine Making Workshop “What is La Makan?”

Three Highgate Gallery & Ainalaiyn Space, London

On 7th October my zine-making workshop took place at Ainalaiyn Space x Three Highgate gallery in London. Nestled within the confines of the gallery, attendees came together to craft their own personal zines, drawing inspiration from the La Makan exhibition that surrounded them. 

It fostered a sense of community and shared exploration as participants crafted zines that paid tribute to their grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts, and the women in their families. Each zine became a vessel of memories, a testament to the beauty of familial bonds, and a challenge to the stereotypes surrounding Central Asia.

Live Drawing Portrait Session

Chudo Coffee, London


Parenthood Manifesto: Collective Tufting Workshop

Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile (CHAT), Hong Kong

On March 2023 I facilitated Parenthood Manifesto workshop as part of group exhibition titled Clouds, Power and Ornament – Roving Central Asia. Together with participants we had a discussion on the unseen aspects of parenthood. Through the craft of manual and automatic tufting, and punch needle embroidery, textile enthusiasts learned new techniques while engaging in meaningful talk about our unique cultural experiences of parenting. We also talked about expectations from society, unpaid care and domestic work. As we crafted our collective piece, a manifesto collage, in a range of languages including Sindhi, Cantonese, Chinese, Kazakh, and English, we each shared the reasons why these particular words mattered to us. 

fong3sau2 for letting go
希望 for hope
‎عزت for respect
jalğızdıq for loneliness 
‎ھميشہ for perpetual
控制 for control
ekiqabat for pregnant (literal translate from Kazakh ‘double decker’)

It is clear from the words that no matter where you are from, mothers and fathers all over the world are the same in experiencing the challenges of parenthood. As participants waited for their turn to tuft on the big frame, they were introduced to the Kazakh patterns’ embroidery, which they took home as a souvenir of this session. 

Rethinking Dolls and Agniya Barto

Slavs and Tatars’ Pickle Bar, Berlin

Tselinny Center of Contemporary Culture, Almaty
In May 2022 I conducted a workshop & lecture titled Rethinking Dolls (and Agniya Barto) as a part of the public program Azbuka Strikes Back at Slavs and Tatars Pickle Bar project space. During the second iteration of Azbuka I held the same workshop at Tselinny Center, Almaty in May 2023.

There was a lecture of purity and cleanliness concept, shaming children for expressing emotions and being dirty, the gender division from early childhood, the problem of school uniforms, the foreignness of the Russian language in the Soviet republics, and the problem of emotional and physical violence against children in Soviet children’s poetry. During the workshop, we empowered paper dolls to become symbolic voices for generations of silenced women, using controllers to put indigenous voices in Kazakh, Kyrgyz, and Azeri languages, enabling these dolls to sing lullabies or proclaim feminist protest slogans etc. More info.

Toy Änderi (Kazakh wedding songs) Zine Making Workshop

Babalar Press, online
Madina Joldybek
Altynzer Ashykbayeva
Aisha Jandosova 
Aida Issakhankyzy
In March 2023 I held a lecture and a workshop for Babalar Press - Qazaq Experimental Research, Writing & Publishing Initiative. We delved into the evocative atmosphere of Kazakh weddings while listening to the soul-stirring folk songs that have graced these celebrations for generations in Kazakhstan. The workshop was a memorable exploration of our cultural heritage, where participants created zines inspired by Kazakh wedding songs. Through collages, drawings, and shared memories associated with these songs, participants reflected on their personal connections and nostalgia for their families. The songs we used included "Той жыры," "Сәулем-ай," "Көршінің қызы," and "Құдаша", "Қазақ вальсі," "Тойнамә," works of Shamshi Kaldayakov, Dos-Mukasan and other artists. Access the playlist of Kazakh weddings through this link. My audio essay on about Kazakh weddings, sense of belonging, home is here.

Talisman Production Workshop

Fridericianum Museum, Kassel
For the DAVRA collective x rurukids (ruangrupa’s art program for kids) workshop for children during DAVRA’s 40 days public program in documenta 15, I decided to combine two things: a talisman-tumar and treasures that we hid as children under the ground, which have a unifying element: soil. Everything that was so precious to us in our childhood: candy wrappers, buttons, flowers and leaves we hid under glass in the ground. It was a secret sacred place where we kept the objects valuable to our hearts. How happy we were to find this treasure after a month or in spring after winter and melted snow. At different times as amulets folks of Central Asia made leather pouches with claws of a bear, paws of an owl, prayers from the Quran, necklaces made of stone and metal with images of idols (for example, Albasty) and without idols. Nomads also put handfuls of soil in their tumar and carried it with them as a veneration and remembrance of their homeland.

During the workshop we made amulets for bad luck, bad energy and obsessive thoughts out of bird feathers, beads, marmalade candies, anise and vanilla sticks, twigs and finds, coins from journeys, fingerprints on clay - anything that had meaning for us, which we invented and believed ourselves.

Art of Manty - Collective Cooking

Fridericianum Museum, Kassel
In the summer of 2022, as part of a public program organized by the Davra collective, I hosted a participatory and performative collective manty cooking session in the backyard of Europe's oldest public museum, the Fridericianum Museum in Kassel, as part of the documenta 15 exhibition. The preparation of 'manty' is a collective tradition where women of all ages, including young girls, shape and fill these edible sculptures together, passing down the knowledge through observation. Making 'manty' with other women feels like participating in a sacred ritual, where stories come alive and time stands still as generations work together to create this dish. More info

Inventing a Metaphor

Garage Museum x Tselinny, online
During Garage Museum x Tselinny Teen Weeks I have conducted a workshop titled Inventing a Metaphor. I shared the ways a metaphor could be created. Teens learned techniques and tried to apply them during a workshop (see examples on the left). 

The collage on the left is my parody on The Morning in a Pine Forest, a painting by Russian artists Shishkin and Savitsky. I illustrated tardigrades instead of black bears in the original painting, who are known as space bears.