by: Bakhyt Bubikanova

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Bakhyt Bubikanova, Moldakul, 2022, 4’23’’

Moldakul is a tribute to the author’s elder friend and spiritual teacher, the renowned Kazakh artist Moldakul Narymbetov (1948–2012). The looping video, intended to be shown in a gallery context rather than in a theater, shows the protagonist trapped in a kind of a bad dream where she keeps searching for her missing friend in dark corridors and calls out his name. With a characteristic mixture of sincerity and subtle self-irony, the video is heavily charged with affective meanings, ranging from personal grief for the passed away spiritual mentor to the general feeling of abandonment and orphanhood shared by many contemporary artists in Kazakhstan.

Bakhyt Bubikanova (1985—2023) was one of the most prominent figures among the so-called ‘second wave’ of the Kazakh art scene. Originally trained in painting and sculpture, she developed her own recognizable manner characterized by subtle irony, liveliness, directness and bodily-focused performativity. Bakhyt worked in a variety of techniques, including installation, video, digital photography and collage. After receiving her Bachelor’s degree in sculpture at the Kazakh National Academy of Arts, she was a student of the late leader of the Kyzyl Tractor art group, a renowned Kazakhstani artist Moldakul Narymbetov (1948—2012), who became her close friend and spiritual mentor. Bakhyt passed away at the age of 38, after a long and brave battle with illness, shortly before the premier of the D’EST chapter.