Eli Anapur, WIDEWALLS, February 23, 2022

Biennale di Venezia 2022 Will Welcome The First Ever National Pavilion from The Kyrgyz Republic

Link To Publication


With the Biennale di Venezia 2022 approaching fast, the last bits and pieces regarding organization and presentations are put together. We already covered the announcements of national pavilions in our two-part series, but as new info arrives, the list continues to expand.  

The Biennale just announced the participation of The Kyrgyz Republic (Kyrgystan) at its 59th edition starting in April. The national pavilion is curated by Janet Rady and presents artist Firouz FarmanFarmaian. The Kyrgyz Republic joins other countries presenting for the first time in Venice, including Cameroon, Kazakhstan, Namibia, Nepal, Oman, Uganda, and Uzbekistan.


Firouz FarmanFarmaian - Sketch for Gates of Turan installation
Firouz FarmanFarmaian - Sketch for Gates of Turan installation


Gates of Turan

Situated on the island of Guidecca, the Kyrgyz pavilion will showcase Gates of Turan, a work by Firouz FarmanFarmaian in which he draws from his shared tribal heritage with the Turanian nomads and the Kyrgyz epic poem The Manas, the world's longest poem comprising more than half-million lines. The immersive installation uses socially engaged practice to explore the experiences of today's nomadic communities in Kyrgystan, focusing on history, memory, and identity. 

The Gates of Turan takes its name from the Persian word Tūrān, or the land of the Tur, which encompasses Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan. The artist spent eight months working with theAltyn Kol Women Handicraft Cooperative, Altyn Kol meaning golden hands. The female-led cooperative preserves the old handcrafting traditions in Kyrgyz, including Shirdaks and Ala-Kiiz, the colorful floor and wall coverings used in yurts in the remote highland regions of Naryn and Issyk-kul. 

Reflecting these traditions, the installation comes in the form of a yurt that combines a range of materials, from handmade felt to raw yak wool and locally sourced pigments. 


Altyn Kol Women Handicraft Cooperative
Altyn Kol Women Handicraft Cooperative


Firouz FarmanFarmaian 

Talking about his upcoming exhibition, Firouz FarmanFarmaian emphasized the work's engagement with The Kyrgyz's immemorial nomadic cosmogony. 

AN Ecology of Soul - The Gates of Turan bridges concepts of past and present, material and immaterial, contemporary and archaic in order to reconnect and support Kyrgyz crafts.

Firouz FarmanFarmaian's experience as a nomad living in Europe and North Africa has informed his practice. He seeks to actively engage various themes that combine in our reality, including nature, past and future, east and west, and ancient crafts in combination with innovative technology. 

Gates of Turan will feature ten hand-felted and hand-stitched Shirdaks made by the Altyn Kol Women Handicraft Cooperative, which stand for ten nomadic tribes of ancient Turan. They will be set against a black background showing tribal banners. The ancient spirit of Turanian nomadic culture will be animated through disembodied sculptural and soundscape illuminations using light, colour, sound, and shadow. 


Firouz FarmanFarmaian - Kayakalak Study Zero 4, Firouz FarmanFarmaian -Kayakalk Panel Zero 4
Left: Firouz FarmanFarmaian - Kayakalak Study Zero 4 / Right: Firouz FarmanFarmaian - Kayakalk Panel Zero 4


The Kyrgyz Republic at the Venice Biennale 

The Kyrgyz Republic Pavilion presenting Gates of Turan will be on view on the Island of Giudecca in Venice from April 23rd until November 27th, 2022.


The Kyrgyz Republic Embassy in London scheduled a press briefing and photocall for the Pavilion on March 4th in central London with artist Firouz FarmanFarmaian.