Gulnara Kasmalieva and Muratbek Djumaliev

Gulnara Kasmalieva and Muratbek Djumaliev, natives of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, are a visual arts couple working together as Kasmalieva & Djumaliev. The majority of their works are filmed and photographed social documentaries or multi-screen installation art. Based in Bishkek, they have exhibited their works since 1988 in venues around the world.

Kasmalieva studied fine art at the Surikov Institute of Art in Moscow and Djumaliev at the Vera Mukhina Academy in Leningrad (now St Peterburg). Afterwards they worked in the Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic, which gained independence as Kyrgyzstan after perestroika and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. In their first documentaries and photographs they show the transition of their homeland, often focusing on the effect the communist state had on the lives and the sense of identity of the Kyrgyz people.

An important work, A New Silk Road: Algorithm of Survival and Hope from 2006, described as “anthropology as cultural critique”, is about the influence of the growing globalization along the historical Silk Road that winds through central Asia, from China to Europe (see One Belt, One Road).