Artists call for Kyrgyz minister of cultures resignation in wake of censorship scandal

Maria Karajeva's work in Feminnale, Test Shooting, a video piece that included a man removing his clothing, was censored Image courtesy of Feminnale

A group of artists have presented the president of Kyrgyzstan with an open letter decrying the censorship of an exhibition at the Kyrgyz National Museum of Fine Arts and calling for the resignation of the minister of culture.

The exhibition in question, the first edition of an international art biennial known as Feminnale, came under the scrutiny of censors due to its works allusions to LGBTQ+ rights, abortion, and nudity, including a performance piece by Julie Savery in which the artist removed her clothing in the gallery. Minister of Culture Azamat Zhamankulov described the show as an act of provocation made under the guise of feminism. The government later ordered that a number of pieces be removed from the gallery, a decision that the minister asserted was in accordance with the will of the people.

“The minister of culture has demonstrated a complete misunderstanding of the fundamental principles of culture: culture does not require state management, culture requires support, culture does not tolerate censorship,” the letter reads. Its signatories comprise the artists whose works are part of the show.

Zoya Falkova work Evermust was also censored from the exhibition Image courtesy of Feminnale

The authors of the letter argue that the exhibitions censorship violated a number of constitutional protections (including freedom of thought and protection from discrimination based on sex or political stance) and contravened Kyrgyzstans commitments under the UN Sustainable Development program.

The letter also demands the reinstatement of Mira Dzhangaracheva as director of the museum. Dzhangaracheva had earlier resigned from her post after receiving death and rape threats for her connection with the Feminnale. The letter states that Feminnale organisers “continue to receive public threats from radical groups, and the police are not taking any action to protect their citizens frRead More – Source