The origin story of the correlation between magic and the female image is not often mentioned, however, everyone is familiar with this phenomenon through the arts. The difference lies in the belief in these abilities. The conflict between logical and metaphysical thinking tends to be on people’s minds. Assel Sargaskaeva notices the properties of signs, symbols, and things, explores her feelings, and shares her sensory experience. The name of the project is a symbol of its underlying meanings.

For a long period of time, humanity has experimented with the interpretation of female images. Historically there was devotion to the “disarming” of women, reducing an influence on all spheres of social and political life. One of the most insidious tricks was to impose a connection with the other world. The determinative texts of witchcraft considered women more prone to sin than men. The evolution of human consciousness has relegated issues of religion to the background, and modernity has created new mystical images. Now they are considered a source of strength.

This approach allowed women to find a new sincerity with the space for their ego and alter ego. All those qualities that used to be notorious such as aggressiveness, independence, malice, ugliness, beauty, and thirst for knowledge, became tools for a successful life. Of no small importance in all this is the aspect of martyrdom, the price that had to be paid for independence. Historical events, such as the Holy Inquisition, were a harsh experience for mankind, but as a result, a woman defended the right to life and her own opinion in a patriarchal world.
Assel Sargaskayeva: “The paintings selected for the exhibition include the Enchanted Forest series, The Mystery of the Flying Woman, the Birth of a Family diptych, the mystical Pyramid, and other works. Enchanted is a project that is part of the Silk Road series of exhibition projects, which are dedicated to exploring the problem of a woman’s happy existence and the freedom of her creativity. All that unites them is the East, my Motherland. Since childhood, my father, and then the whole family, have called me Assel - the Star of the East. For a very long time, I signed my paintings or encrypted messages this way. I think it is important to spread the culture of the East and to bring its zest to the West through my paintings. Each of the exhibition themes of the Silk Road is consonant with my mission - to talk about the importance of balance in relations between men and women, as well as to reveal the value of Kazakhstan’s culture abroad.”

The visual form of signs and images in paintings, if considered without reference to their meaning, reflects the emotional state of the author. The images themselves are quite expressive and laconic, but in the idle interior space, the artist demonstrates her skill, expressing her philosophy and deep thoughts on the topic of good and evil, birth and death, the principles that determine spirituality with the help of graphic and pictorial means. By playing with the physical properties of art materials on the surface of paper, the artist creates visual connections and enhances the complex appearance of the work. The result of this hand-made, painstaking process makes you wonder: is this a graphic work or a painting?

Enchanted explores not only a certain state but a whole turn of time, Assel Sargaskayeva includes the public in the social discourse about the role and influence of women in the past and the modern world. This issue could be studied even further with immersion into the history of Great Britain and its direct influence on the formation of New England: in 1563, Queen Elizabeth of England signed a decree that provided for the death penalty for witchcraft, after which, already under the reign of Charles II, the Puritan part of society was destroyed due to mass persecution forced to emigrate to America, which subsequently also introduced the death penalty, but was still much more humane in its religious manifestations towards women than in Europe. Almost due to fate Assel Sargaskaeva’s project of exhibitions began in Kazakhstan, continues in the UK, and then will travel to the USA. This sequence allows you to get acquainted with the artist’s work from a philosophical perspective and explore an important problem from a temporal and territorial perspective.

Assel Sargaskayeva’s solo show in London is dedicated to the study of mystical female images, their sacred role in religious cultures, as well as the author’s personal spiritual search. The choice of exhibited objects is based on the concept of the exhibition and makes it logical for all selected works to be present. Assel expresses his personal vision of the problem through this project. However, its understanding may differ from generally accepted views in the West. This will contribute to greater interaction between the audience and the artist and the fruits of her imagination.
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