Leeza Ahmady interviews artist Alexander Ugay and curator Yuliya Sorokina; both hailing from Almaty, Kazakhstan. Both were on inaugural visits to the U.S. through the CEC ArtsLink residency program. The three are among the foremost promoters of contemporary art from Central Asia, and as they reconnect for the first time since 2008, they candidly discuss the current state of art in the region. During the talk in November 2010 Ugay and Sorokina go in-depth about their US residency projects at the Houston Center for Photography in Houston, TX and the Getty research Institute in Los Angeles, CA respectively.
Ugay came on a mission to complete his series We Are From Texas, which investigated the oil and "cowboy" culture of Southern Kazakhstan – he spent time examining and documenting how exactly that culture was reflective of the American state of Texas. Sorokina came to study with top archivists to receive guidance as she embarks on the daunting, yet overdue, task of spearheading the development of a public access resource of information and images chronicling modern and contemporary Central Asian art. In this thorough conversation listeners will get a first-hand glimpse into the hardships facing contemporary art in Central Asia, but more importantly will feel the passion as the three share their enthusiasm for the region’s art and their hopes for the future. (51 minutes)