The Five “Stans”: A Selection from Andakulova Gallery, Dubai

Founded in 2012 by Uzbek-born Natalya Andakulova, Andakulova Gallery of Dubai is a platform for both emerging and established Central Asian artists. The goal of the gallery is to cultivate dialogue between the Central Asia and the Middle East by positioning the art of Central Asia into the artistic hub of Dubai as well as continuing to build relationships among artists, writers, specialists and collectors.

Andakulova Gallery carries out continuous and extensive research in Central Asia to find new talent and to develop their potential. The artists on the gallery’s roster take up a broad range of subjects—history, politics, spirituality, the sheer splendour of Central Asian aesthetics, and much more. We see references to the Silk Road, the Soviet experience, Islamic mysticism, Central Asian daily life.


From “Dream Series” by Jamol Usmanov


One interesting artist is Jamol Usmanov (born in 1961, Tashkent, Uzbekistan), who made his international breakthrough in 2013 at Sotheby’s first selling exhibition “At The Crossroads” Contemporary Art from Central
Asia, London. Dreams are a recurrent theme in Jamol Usmanov’s oeuvre. Inspired by the Eastern medieval poetry of Rumi, Navoi, Nizami and others, his work is filled with references to Sufi philosophy. Usmanov’s paintings are a reflection of the artist’s conception of one’s own spiritual journey. Imbued with harmony of form and colour, they
exude a feeling of tranquility. The artist masterfully employs concealed messages in order to communicate his own particular worldview.


From “Dream Series” by Jamol Usmanov


Today the gallery is known for its well curated exhibitions programme and diverse educational initiatives that include regular drawing workshops lead by local and guest artists as well as presentations on art as an investment and lectures on Islamic art. The gallery also works with The Big Picture, an independent art platform from Dubai, to organise and curate their annual exhibition for artists and cultural practitioners from the Middle East. In October 2015, Andakulova and Abu Dhabi Art Hub launched their joint project–Central Asia Month. The residency programme at Art Hub helped to shed more light on the exceptionally vibrant contemporary artists from Central Asia. In 2016, the gallery worked with Tashkent Biennale.

Below are four more artists represented by the gallery.

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Almagul Menlibayeva 

Born in 1969 in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Menlibayeva is a multi disciplinary artist who practices across several mediums such as painting, graphic art, performances, installations and video. Her focus is on post-Soviet social issues, with a feminist slant. The female protagonist is at the core of her practice, and through her striking and sometimes
provocative compositions, she attempts to carve a space for her gender within the new cultural framework of post-Soviet Central Asia. Her women are invariably glamorous, well dressed and stylised, strong and powerful.

Menlibayeva also introduces the ecological crisis of modern civilisation in her projects. Her subjects are placed in and around the Aral Sea, which was once the fourth largest lake in the world but now is almost dried up since its river sources were radically diverted for agricultural irrigation.


Red Butterfly by Almagul Menlibayeva


During the Solar Eclipse by Almagul Menlibayeva


Timur D’Vatz

Timur D’Vatz explores pictorial space with his stylishly constructed mis-en-scenes. Timur D’Vatz’s art is offers a modern-day take on ancient legends and re-appropriated symbols sourced from early Byzantine art, medieval tapestries, Russian icons. He was born in 1968 in Moscow, Russia.


Medieval Garden by Timur D’Vatz


The Journey by Timur D’Vatz


Bakhodir Jalal 

With a career spanning over 40 years, in a period of enormous cultural and historical changes in his native Uzbekistan, Bakhodir Jalal is considered one of the leading figure of art in Central Asia. He is credited for the reinvigoration of the mural genre and in helping shape a new cultural and artistic landscape. While his influences range from architecture, mosaics, nature, as well as from more formalist elements of Western modernism, Jalal’s art practice is firmly rooted in his national heritage. He produces works that merge various techniques reflecting his country’s ancient traditions, culture, and socio-political climate.


Festivity I by Bakhodir Jalal


Festivity II by Bakhodir Jalal


Javlon Umarbekov 

Javlon Umarbekov, born in 1946 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, is one of the key figures of contemporary art in the country. He offers an original interpretation of Uzbek heritage and calls for a free dialogue between the cultures of the West
and the East. In all of this, the creative freedom and the spirit of innovation are seen. Many of the motives and inspirations of his paintings are taken from childhood memories and intertwined with the collective memory of the people. As this is so, his history and work is intimate and understandable to many. Relying on traditional images and eternal values, Umarbekov avoids postmodern intellectual games and glamorous but fake attractiveness in his


Tuareg Family by Javlon Umarbekov


Aquifer by Javlon Umarbekov