A guide to the New East
New East 100

66/100

Aza Shadenova

The Kazakh artist whose canvases capture Central Asia’s cultural crossroads

The creative path of Kazakh artist Aza Shadenova has not been straightforward: born in Uzbekistan and raised in Kyrgyzstan, she moved to the UK in 2007 and is now based between London and Hastings. Her career breakthrough happened in 2013, with her participation in the 55th Venice Biennale as part of the Central Asian Pavilion. Back then Shadenova’s main media were video and photography, and her main subject the emerging identity of young girls on the crossroads of cultures in Central Asia. 

Since then Shadenova has also spent a portion of her time as the front woman of no wave/experimental punk band Manflu, before fully committing to painting. Her large-scale canvases twist together intricate patterns, bold colours, gold and curvy writing — channeling the conflicting cultural experiences of East and West, immigration and belonging. 

Want more stories delivered to your inbox? Sign up to our newsletter here:

More from Art

Nuts to this

Almaty’s squirrel statue controversy gets to the heart of Kazakhstan’s culture crisis

Aslan Gaisumov

The Chechen artist confronting his country’s turbulent past

A war on many fronts

The story of Voina, the Russian artists who fell from grace

Baltic Triennial

Explore this summer’s landmark art programme through the eyes of its curators

10 years of Garage

How Russia's leading contemporary art museum changed the art world

Jasmina Cibic

The provocative Slovenian artist on staging her own propaganda spectacle