Arystanbek Shalbayev was born in the Keless country of South Kazakhstan in 1959. Soon after graduating from the Almaty Institute for Arts and Theater in 1984, the artist returned to Shymkent where he became a teacher at the Kasteyev school and met fellow teacher Vitaliy Simakov. Shalbayev and Simakov’s close proximity created a space for each to learn from each other and experiment with the compositional qualities of painting. Using painting, graphics, installation, video and performance, Shalbayev’s practice is an exquisite juxtaposition of subjects and mediums. Shalbayev’s artworks display strong conceptual visual aspects which come together using a solid, almost scientific, methodology—making his process just as important as the message of his artworks. The artist is interested in absurd representations of Kazakhstan’s current-day social, cultural and economic dilemmas, as well as its history and mythological discourse. His latest series of artworks, collectively called Boomerang, reveal the self-destructive fate of Kazakhstan’s natural-resource-driven economy.

Arystanbek has participated in a number of personal and group exhibitions in Kazakhstan, the UK, Czech Republic, France and Spain where his pieces have been acquired by local and public collections. Of note, Arystanbek was a part of the show Nomads, a collective exhibition of artists from Kazakhstan in Moscow; Life is a Legend, a show of contemporary Kazakhstan art in Strasbourg, France; and the ArtBat Festival in Almaty, Kazakhstan.


“Without politics, there can be no even a picture of a naked woman”

(in Russian)

Reflections of the Kazakhstan artist Arystanbek Shalbaev on the socio-political situation in Kazakhstan, spiritual values and human existence are presented at the exhibition "Print" held in Almaty.

Azattyq, May 8, 2019

Barrels, matches and triptych of Khan (in Russian)

Specialists in contemporary art recommend investing in paintings by Arystanbek Shalbaev. For many years this native of Shymkent has been creating under the star of the trans-avant-garde. Although he says that today he does not misbehave, as before, interest in his person has not waned over the years.

CaravanApril 24, 2016

Four Shymkent residents rolled through New York on a red tractor

(in Russian)

“Rukhani Zhangyru” miraculously works in a foreign land. Crowds of Americans in huge New York found time to travel to Jersey City, and even every half hour from Westside through the Hudson Tunnel a free bus went to Mana Contemporary - not an oasis, but, by our standards, a whole continent of art, because here is unimaginable the number of halls, and in one even Warhol. But what is there Warhol with his desperate protest against the roll of the personality in the soup jars! More precisely, the end of it. Nomads came and knocked this nonsense. From America.

Express-K, October 15, 2018