On May 15th 2019, the House of Friendship in Nur-Sultan hosted an exhibition dedicated to Chingiz Aitmatov entitled Tales of the Mountains and Steppes. The event was initiated by the Kyrgyzstan-Astana Ethnocultural Association and supported by The Eurasian Creative Guild (London). The main guest of the evening was Rosetta Aitmatova, the younger sister of Chingiz Aitmatov, who is a public figure and writer in her own right.

The event began with the announcement of the winners of the Chingiz Aitmatov international essay contest entitled “The Epoch Personality. Humanism” and the Manas Aalama Young Manaschi competition. Young writers were awarded certificates and books by the authors Kazat Akmatov and Shahsanem Murray, which were published as part of the ECG book series. Chairman of Kyrgyzstan-Astana and the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan, Shavkat Ismailov personally thanked all the talented participants and presented awards together with members of the Eurasian Creative Guild. Saniya Seilkhanova – a representative of the Eurasian Creative Guild (London) – also thanked all of the participants and talked about the competitions and projects of ECG, such as the Open Eurasian Book and Literary Festival, a contest for publicists and the First Eurasian Film Festival held in London. Children then performed, reading poems and dedicating songs to Chingiz Aitmatov.

The programme continued with the inauguration of the Museum of Chingiz Aitmatov at school №79, Rosetta Aitmatova giving a speech to the students and teachers, telling anecdotes and interesting stories from Aitmatov’s life. The event then continued at the State Academic Kazakh Music and Drama Theatre with a performance of The Girl with the Red Scarf, based on the story by Aitmatov, which was extremely well-received by the audience.

The official opening ceremony of an art exhibition saw works by 37 artists from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Ukraine, Armenia, Great Britain and France presented. Artists from the Eurasian Creative Guild took an active part in the exhibition. The traditional red ribbon was cut by Vice-President of the Assembly of Peoples of Kazakhstan – the head of the ANC Secretariat, Z. Tuimebayev and Rosetta Aitmatova. Books by the great Kyrgyz writer Chingiz Aitmatov continue to touch our hearts. His literature has inspired not only Kazakh and Kyrgyz writers, but artists from around the world. Paintings featured in the exhibition were based on his works by Aitmatov, such as The Day Lasts More Than a Hundred Years, The White Ship, Jamila, and The Girl with the Red Scarf.

The event continued with a roundtable which brought together public figures, ANC members, writers, scholars, representatives of embassies, ECG members, ethnocultural and youth associations. During the roundtable the honoured poet and writer, Bayangali Alimzhanov read from the cult epic Manas, and participants discussed the potential for further development of Kazakh-Kyrgyz cultural relations, emphasising the significant role of Aitmatov in Kazakh culture.

During the roundtable, Tuimebayev stated that ‘the idol of the legendary Aitmatov was the Kazakh writer, Mukhtar Auezov, and the contemporary writers Kaltay Mukhamedzhanov, Mukhtar Shakhanov, Olzhas Suleymenov, Zeynoll Kabdolov and Sherkhan Murtaza all had warm relations with Aitmatov. In Kazakhstan, Aitmatov’s works are highly appreciated, and thus he was awarded the title of ‘National Writer of Kazakhstan.’ In the capital of Kazakhstan, there is a street named after Aitmatov, and today’s event dedicated to Aitmatov is the best confirmation of our appreciation of his talents.’ Rosetta Aitmatova thanked the participants and organisers. All of the participants in the art exhibition were awarded honorary certificates.

OCA#32 WWW.OCAMAGAZINE.COM material prepared by Saniya Seilkhanova