Asel Kadyrkhanova


I am a visual artist working across painting, drawing, installation and moving image. My practice-led doctoral research focuses on memory and trauma in post-Soviet Kazakhstan. In particular, I am interested in memory as a culturally produced construct and trauma as im-memory whose traces can persist in societies with traumatic pasts. Through my art, I seek to touch upon memory of  historical traumas in Kazakhstan, such as the famine of the 1930-s, and total ethnic deportations. I am also interested in observing current metamorphoses in collective memory of the Soviet past, resulting in denials, nationalisms or nostalgia.

Scholarships and Fellowships:

CEC Artslink Fellowship, 2018

Leeds Anniversary Research Scholarship, 2016

Bolashak International Scholarship of the President of Kazakhstan, 2009

Conference papers:

'Living through Spaces of Memory: Artistic Research on Historical Trauma in Post-Soviet Kazakhstan'. CESS 19th International Conference of Central Eurasian studies society, Pittsburgh University, USA, 2018

Solo Exhibtions:

Windows of  Tolerance, Project Space, Leeds (UK), 2017

Self-Portrait with an Archetype, Ular gallery, ALmaty (Kazakhstan), 2013

Selected group exhibitions:

Postnomadic Mind, Wapping Project, London (UK), 2018

Internal memory - Not enough space? Garage Museum of contemporary art, Moscow (Russia), 2017

Reconciliation: Memory of the Steppe, Algabas Art Centre, Almaty (Kazakhstan), 2017

Suns and Neons above Kazakhstan, Yarat | Contemporary Art Space, Baku (Azerbaijan), 2017

Protagonists: Invisible Pavilion of Kazakhstan, 56 Venice Biennial, Venice (Italy), 2017

1938 - Territory of Memory, Kazakh State Museum of Fine Art, Almaty (Kazakhstan), 2013

Artist residencies

Artist-in Residency at California College of the Arts, San Francisco (USA) within CEC Artslink Fellowship, 2018

The Eighth river, commissioned by the Committee Biosphere UNESCO Kazakhstan, Ile-Alatau National park, 2015

Summer schools

'Memory in the Digital age: International summer school on Comparative Genocide studies'. Bergen-Belsen Memorial centre (Germany), 2017

Summer school on theories and practices of contemporary art, Tien-Shan astronomic observatory (Kazakhstan), 2013


Artist website

Research interests

Memory studies

Trauma studies in psychoanalytic theory

Embodied knowledge and phenomenology


Moving image

Installation art (total installation)



  • MFA Newcastle Unversity, UK (2011)
  • MA Studio Painting, Kazakh National Academy of Arts (2007)