New East Digital Archive

Aza Shadenova: the Kazakh artist whose canvases capture Central Asia’s cultural crossroads

Via Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, this Kazakh artist has embraced no-wave punk and sweeping canvases

31 October 2017

The creative path of Kazakh artist Aza Shadenova has not been straightforward: born in Uzbekistan and raised in Kyrgyzstan, she moved to the UK in 2007 and is now based between London and Hastings. Her career breakthrough happened in 2013, with her participation in the 55th Venice Biennale as part of the Central Asian Pavilion. Back then Shadenova’s main media were video and photography, and her main subject the emerging identity of young girls on the crossroads of cultures in Central Asia.

Since then Shadenova has also spent a portion of her time as the front woman of no wave/experimental punk band Manflu, before fully committing to painting. Her large-scale canvases twist together intricate patterns, bold colours, gold and curvy writing — channeling the conflicting cultural experiences of East and West, immigration and belonging.