Central Asia in Art: From Soviet Orientalism to the New Republics by Aliya Abykayeva-Tiesenhausen

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In the midst of the space race and nuclear age, Soviet Realist artists were producing figurative oil paintings. Why? How was art produced to control and co-opt the peripheries of the Soviet Union, particularly Central Asia? Presenting the 'untold story' of Soviet Orientalism, Aliya Abykayeva-Tiesenhausen re-evaluates the imperial project of the Soviet state, placing the Orientalist undercurrent found within art and propaganda production in the USSR alongside the creation of new art forms in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. From the turmoil of the 1930s through to the post-Stalinist era, the author draws on meticulous new research and rich illustrations to examine the political and social structures in the Soviet Union - and particularly Soviet Central Asia - to establish vital connections between Socialist Realist visual art, the creation of Soviet identity and later nationalist sentiments.