Gulnaz and Aida

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A number of artists taught at the local university. However, just a little prior to our arrival, the art department had been cut, and all the art teachers were laid off. Gulnaz  had lost her job as a teacher too. To find new occupation, she embarked on a project to build a studio where she could make pottery as well as to teach young children interested in this craft. She also worked with a few former students to make felt souvenirs (such as hats, cell phone pouches, wall hangings, wallets) for sale.

Gulnaz and one of her student sewn and embroidered a series of aprons. When we first discussed it she showed us reproductions of rock carving from the nearby mountains. They are depictions of ancient agricultural technologies.

The Ferghana valley, which Osh borders, has been an important agricultural center for at least 2500 years. River flows from the Pamir mountain range turns this arid, semi-desert land into fertile soil.

While we were visiting the Union of Artists, we found a studio full of activities in the last room of a pretty deserted second floor.

There we meet Aida, who later will teach us how to make Lakhman. A local artist and designer, she runs this small studio working under a portrait of Chingiz Aitmatov, the celebrated kyrgyz author who in 1958 wrote Jamilia.

She brought one of her silk paintings, it was part of a show that toured the United States.

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