Arystanbek Shalbayev
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 common close proximity created a space for each to learn from the 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 were acquired by locals and the public. 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 FEST in Almaty, Kazakhstan.