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AUCA Students About Topografica

"An ant and an elephant were playing hide-and-seek. The ant went and hid inside a temple. The elephant came searching for the ant and it didn’t take him long to seek him out. The shoes on the threshold of the temple gave the ant up. This is a joke I grew up hearing hundreds of times, common among Nepalese children.

1658 kilometers away, at the threshold of the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, lies a pair of shoes, at least 4 feet long, too large for the tiny feet of the university students. Beside the surreal shoes lies yet another pair of shoes, but this time it is about 5 inches long, too tiny for the large feet of the students. With the words “Shymkent” written across the art piece, an artist Smail Bayaliev from the art group “Kyzyl tractors” from Shymkent has named it “threshold”.

“Every person who is a part of the house, mosque or public house removes his boots at the threshold. This is an act depicting respect for the place to be entered”, the artist says. He is one of the several international artists of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and USA brought together for the sole cause of art in the exhibition “Topografica”, held at the AUCA from October 7 to December 12, 2015.

Upon entering the building, the first thing that catches the eyes is a mural by American artist Rafael Vargas-Suarez, named “Assembly complex”, an array of lines black and white merging to make mountain- like figures. There are several corners and lines depicting stepping stones on these mountains, perhaps pledging the students to step and conquer them. Or just to get lost within the lines of the puzzle.

Further inside, art from other artists peeks through the walls and corners. Art whispers and echoes through the halls and corridors, almost teasing the minds to think out of the boxes. The four- floored building walls now carry a meaning for the students, varying for each of the young minds.

Depicting the rich diversity of landscape and history throughout Central Asia, the exhibition definitely fulfills its duties towards the students and visitors; to raise curiosity and to be feed the soul.

The art exhibited at the AUCA has been intriguing to me. So I went around asking other fellow students and professors what their thoughts and feelings about the art at AUCA were. I’ve recorded few of the interviews I took in the video below. Let’s see what they have to say."

Usha Rajak, AUCA Journalism and Mass Communications Student

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