In photos: Residents, tourists marvel at Astana's street art

By Aydar Ashimov


A mural based on a sketch by Dmitry Levochkin achieves a 3D effect by using an "optical graphic" as the background in Astana August 14. The work depicts a descendant of Genghis Khan. [Aydar Ashimov]


A girl records historical events on paper that is carried by the wind into the distant past in this mural in Astana on August 14. [Aydar Ashimov]


All of the murals in Astana have plaques that describe the image and list the author's name. The plaque here, seen August 14, describes how "A Dream on the Steppe" was made by Samir Salakhov. [Aydar Ashimov]


"A Dream on the Steppe," seen here in Astana on August 14, depicts a snow leopard and a saiga (antelope), species that were once common in what is now modern Kazakhstan. Both are on the IUCN Red List and are protected. [Aydar Ashimov]


Saken Seifullin, a Kazakh poet and writer (1894-1939), is shown in an Astana mural photographed August 14. [Aydar Ashimov]


This mural, seen on a housing development in Astana on August 14, depicts the Hazrat-Sultan Mosque, one of the city's landmarks. The artist has filled the mosque with other subject matter symbolising the various stages of the city's development. [Aydar Ashimov]


This mural, seen behind an Astana crosswalk August 14, depicts the Kazakh game of kyz kuu ("girl chasing"). A young man pursues a beauty. Both are on horseback. [Aydar Ashimov]


The murals are not the only art on the Astana streets. This picture taken August 14 shows a statue of the Beatles, situated near the Ishin River embankment. [Aydar Ashimov]

ASTANA -- Newly created urban art drawn in Astana has set off high praise from residents and tourists alike in Kazakhstan's bustling capital.

Street art has recently become popular across Central Asia, with many artists in Kazakh cities and the region decorating their neighbourhoods with artwork, some of which reflects local and national themes.

The first murals were drawn in June as part of the Urban Art Astana 2018 competition, organised by the local administration (akimat) of Saryarka District in the city and meant to connect the public to art.

"Of the 70 applications, 26 sketches were picked out that will occupy a prominent place in the city," according to the competition website.


A young girl records historical events on paper borne by the the wind into the distant past in this mural in Astana August 14. [Aydar Ashimov]

The artists drew the murals on the walls of apartment buildings. At night, they project the intended artwork onto the walls and sketch in the outlines; in the daytime, they fill in the paintings.

On weekends, guides show tourists the murals so they can be photographed in front of them if they wish.

"Thank you for such an interesting tour! All the artworks are unique, incomparable and warm. They filled me with so much positive energy that I wanted to decorate the wallpaper myself at home," a participant in one of the tour groups said in a review she left online.

The artwork was planned ahead of the July 6 celebrations of Astana becoming the nation's capital in December 1997.

Photographs of the adorned buildings have flooded social networks, with the vast majority of users voicing their delight.

"Thank you; you have enlivened the city!" "More such beauty would be good," "Cool project! Good job!," "Beautiful!" are just some of the comments left under each photo.

"This is amazing; this is beautiful -- this puts people in a good mood," Aigerim Yesmakhova, a 32-year-old Astana resident, told Caravanserai.

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