Kasakher in traditional herb in the 1860s

Art in Kazakhstan

Characteristic of the decorative style of the Kazakhs are symmetrically arranged, large stylized plants and symbols, e.g. sheep horns, camel tracks and snake heads. The patterns could also include simple genre scenes or individual representations of shoes, sandals or a mosque.

The first Kazakh artist, Chakan Valikhanov (1835-65), made drawings and watercolors of landscapes, daily life, folk and portraits. Ukrainian artist Taras Shevchenko lived in exile in Kazakhstan 1847–57. Russian artists also worked in the country. members of the art group Wanderers, who painted landscapes and scenes from Kazakhstan. From the 1930s, a national art developed which integrated European figurative art and local decorative elements.

Kasakher in traditional herb in the 1860s

The Kazakh School of Soviet Figurative Art was founded by artists who had studied in Moscow and Leningrad (St. Petersburg), who came back in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Their art could be romantic, lyrical or national; inspired by folk art and nomadic life in Kazakhstan. In the 1960s and 1970s, several artists worked in a quaint-epic style. S. Aytbayev, S. Sariyev and A. Sydykhanov. Towards the end of the 1970s and 1980s, art became more intellectual, with several different and sometimes contradictory tendencies.

Literature of Kazakhstan

Alongside a rich and vibrant folk poetry, Kazakh literature is characterized by a strong orientation towards Russian literature and spiritual life. The most well-known older poet, Abay (1845-1905), has been called the “steppe goethe”. The most important writers of the 20th century are Seken Seyfullin (1894–1938), Sabit Muqanov (1900–73) and Muxtar Avesov (1897–1961), who are all known for their historical novels. Avesov’s novel Abay galo (1942–56) deals with the national poet Abay’s life. A central theme in the literature after 1990 is the settlement of Soviet times and especially Stalinism.

Music in Kazakhstan

The traditional migration pattern with long annual migrations has led to good cultural contact with the neighboring people in the north, especially the Tatars and Bashkirs in the Volga-Ural region. This contact is enshrined in mutual musical influence. The two-stringed dömbra (lyre) of the Kazakhs is available in various variants and is adopted by the neighboring people. Chatigan (citer) is related to similar instruments among Altaic people, Turks and Mongols. Other instruments, such as sibizgi (flute) and gobuz (fiddle), are also found in various variants among other peoples of the region. The Kazakhs imported the accordion from the Russians in the 19th century.

Kazakhstan has a strong folk song tradition, where improvisation has a wide place, with different musical characteristics (scales, melody forms and rhythm) in the different parts of the country. The folk songs often begin in high, tense rents, which are continued in descending melody lines. Some are based on diatonic chutone scale, while others are pentatone. Epic songs from the 1400s to the 1800s form an important part of the tradition.

Instrumental music is also known in various regional varieties, and includes both vocal melodies and purely instrumental forms. The build-up can be episodic or with a clear division into shape parts. The playing style of the dömbra is unanimous in the western part of the country, while in the east it alternates between unanimous and unanimous and with more use of richly embroidered ornament.

With the Russian annexation of Kazakhstan in the 19th century, a modern music scene was developed, and folk music was written down and harmonized in the art-musical style of the time. Outstanding performers of traditional music and Russian composers collaborated on the development of new music. for the establishment of the country’s only music conservatory in Almaty 1994.

Two minority groups, Germans who came in the 1890s and Chinese Muslims (Dungans) who came in periods in the 1800s, to some extent maintain their own music traditions.

Theater in Kazakhstan

During the time when Kazakhstan was a Soviet republic, professional theater operations were established in the country. It was expressed through the opening of the Kazakh Dramatic Theater in Alma-Ata (present-day Almaty ) in 1925, what later became known as the Auesov Theater. National folk traditions associated with folklore and song traditions were used as a foundation. In addition, a Russian theater and a youth theater were founded.

A Kazakh opera and ballet was founded in Alma-Ata in 1934, also on the basis of the rich folklore tradition that existed in the country. These traditions colored the opera and ballet activities at the theater, which also had a Russian ensemble.

Knowledge and culture

The Constitution gives all children in Kazakhstan the right to free primary and secondary education. Higher education at government institutions is also free. It is common to start school as a seven year old. The school is divided into a four-year elementary school, five-year lower secondary school and several variants of higher secondary schools.

There are two national Russian-language newspapers in Kazakhstan, one of which is state-owned. The state also owns the only nationwide newspaper in Kazakh. The state-run TV channel is called Kazakhstan only. President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s daughter Dariga Nazarbajeva owns the media house Khabar, which controls many of the most important media in the country, including one of the largest television stations.

There are hundreds of private newspapers, radio and TV channels, but the authorities are countering media supporting the opposition.

Historically, Kazakhstan has a long tradition of oral poetry and storytelling. Much of this was not written down until modern times. The epic The Book of Dede Korkut is one of the most famous works from Kazakhstan and tells about the history of the Turkish peoples. It is a central part of the cultural history of the Kazakhs, Uzbek, Azerbaijanis, Turkmen and Turks. The stories date back at least to the 900-1000 century, and were probably first written down in the fourteenth century.

The poet Abaj Ibragim Qunanbajulij (1845-1904) is considered the founder of modern Kazakh literature. His works are often inspired by Kazakh folklore.

Traditional Kazakh music is performed on different types of string instruments, such as the two-stringed rum. Kazakhstan also has a tradition of singing, which is often practiced in connection with parties and ceremonies. Modern Kazakh music is mainly inspired by Western popular music.

Kazakhstan spends a good deal of the petrodollars the country earns on spectacular prestige buildings, which is why the capital has become a showcase for futuristic architecture. Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa has been responsible for the main design of the city.