Your Unofficial Guide to Kyrgyz Republic

sheisnomad: A Girl Who Draws

sheisnomad: A Girl Who Draws


The original article is on sheisnomad, website devoted to the empowerment of Central Asian girls and women.


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Asylkan Talip, 20

I've started drawing since I was a child and I've always wanted to go to an art school. My parents have always supported my interests and decisions and we always had respect to art. My father is a writer, and my mother is in applied arts.

I've applied to the Chuikov School of Art after ninth grade, which became my second home during my study there. It had a special atmosphere. Relationships between professors and students were very warm, the other students' works inspired to create, to think and to draw.

I like looking at enthusiastic people. If you look at them for too long, you can fall in love. And this is how I fell in love. I was a freshman, he was a sophomore. We used to go to lessons together, to draw. He used to be into pop art back then and to draw in water-colors. We always have something to discuss, to argue about. I think if I had a different boyfriend, far from art, it would be much more boring.

An artist needs to read a lot, to try, to feel, to observe. To draw something on paper, you have to have something in your mind, in your heart.

I have many favorite artists. I like Gauguin's and Basquiat's freedom. They seem to let themselves feel. I respect works of Zhyrgal Maturaimov, Abdrai Osmonov, Alykul Biimyrzaev and Gulnara Musabai from contemporary artists. I have learnt a lot from them and I am very grateful for that. I wish I have tried better. 

There are few female artists. Composers. Women in history had to make a lot more efforts to achieve the same results as men. They had to manage household, management, family issues to let their men comfortably devote themselves to art. I have watched a film, Marie Krøyer, about an artist couple, where the husband tells his wife the following: 'Even if you devote your entire life to art, you will hardly achieve a hundredth part of what I will. So, don't even try'.

I would not be able to devote my life to serve someone else. And my boyfriend would never ask for that. It is interesting for us to develop together, to create. Why would you be with someone, who cuts your wings instead of giving them to you?  

I dream about graduating and applying to a university in Moscow or Saint-Petersburg. Those universities have educated and graduated entire generations of great Russian and soviet artists. They have professionals I would like to learn from. It is hard to get to such schools, but you will study together with the best.

Art requires lots of concentration, time and soul from me. I am not one of those, who can manage a million things at a time, who are very capable, who can think of something else while being busy with another thing, who can care about someone communicating with someone else at the same time and looking at some other thing. People like me are called lazy or selfish. But I can do one thing at a time and I always choose only something I like. Maybe I will become more successful when I learn otherwise.


Illustrating books requires joining the mood and context of the written. You can not just read or reread, it is important to understand the author's idea and who he wanted that idea to understand.

Once I had to illustrate Kyrgyz heroes for a calendar in a cold batik technique. I didn't feel my knowledge about real and mythical Kyrgyz heroes is enough to do the job properly. I came to my father, who gave me a pile of books to read and another pile to look at illustrations. Perhaps after that I became interested in ethnic, not only Kyrgyz, but also Japanese and Indian.

I love Kyrgyz Republic, but I am not that crazy thinking it is the best country in the world with the best architecture, literature and nature. I think we have a lot to work on. We have to develop art, again literature and architecture, to preserve nature.

I am afraid of our society's radicalization. The fact that many people see only in black and white. Like there is nothing, no other colors in between. They rush to judge and criticize. I've recently seen an artist, who was shamed and called names for posting a photo with her husband on Facebook. Maybe interracial marriages are not that common, but why does something different from us frighten us this much? It is interesting, on the contrary. 'Who are those people, where does such a bigotry come from?', you think. And you see comments of the people you know there, who seemed to be far from a bigotry... and you become very sad.

I am not comfortable in an unknown environment or large companies and I keep silent. 'You are so modest' they like to say to me. Shy, maybe. Sociopath, maybe. But not modest. I am not modest.

Photos: sheisnomad.com

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