7 july 2020

Central Asia news

The International Group to support Umida Ahmedova

23.12.2009 08:05 msk


Human Rights Uzbekistan

The group of photographers, artists, art critics and journalists from Uzbekistan, Russia, Europe, USA and Canada disseminated an open letter, addressed to the Foreign Affairs Ministry of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Internal Affairs Ministry of the Republic of Uzbekistan as well as international human rights organizations and international community in general.

The letter supports the creative work of prominent Tashkent-based photographer Umida Ahmedova. Earlier, Ferghana.Ru reported the criminal case, filed against her.

Umida Ahmedova and Oleg Karpov
Umida Ahmedova and Oleg Karpov

The photos of Umida are available at the Gallery of Ferghana.Ru.

Here goes the full text of the letter. If you want to put your name under this letter, please leave a comment (Russian page).

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Att.: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Uzbekistan, Ministry of Interior, Republic of Uzbekistan, International Organizations involved with Human Rights Protection


On December 17th, 2009 several informational agencies reported about the agitation regarding the criminal case against one of the most well-known Central Asian photographers, Umida Ahmedova. According to the disseminated information, Umida Ahmedova is accused of “insult and slander of the Uzbek nation”. Reason of the presented accusation is a photo album, “Women and Men: From Sunrise to Sunset”, which was published with the support of the Swiss Embassy to Uzbekistan.

It is important to mention that freedom of expression is one of the key criteria of any state governed by the rule of law. Judging any artwork should be done by experts and viewers and not by forces of any official organs. Art is not equal with social and political journalism and cannot be viewed as a “document” in legal sense, therefore it cannot be an agent of “slander”.

Photographs of Umida Ahmedova possess obvious artistic value and are considered as Central Asian cultural asserts by international professional community. The government should be proud of the creativity of the talented photographer and not threaten her with criminal persecution.

Umida Ahmedova is known as an advocate of documentary photography and cinema. Her lens follows the lives of the people in Uzbekistan, their rites and customs; her attention is given to simple people and their everyday behavior. Images, taken by Umida Ahmedova, are not fantasies and not caricatures. They authentically capture that side of life, which people of Uzbekistan face daily; every passerby on the streets, guests at weddings and other family celebrations. Accusation of these easily recognizable captions with “slander” and “insult” can only be done by those who know the life of the Uzbek nation only through reports of official TV channels and through emasculated images of official art.

The example of Umida Ahmedova shows that there is a quality crisis in the consciousness of authorities. From ideological intrusion of their clichés to the society, they turn to legal pressure. Facts of life, which are not corresponding to the official ideology, are suppressed and their representation in arts falls under prosecutors’ inspection. If this present process is not stopped, any photo that is taken on the Uzbek streets can become pretext for legal pursuit.

By signing this appeal, we demand that the Uzbek government complies with the rules of the Republic and respects the right of the artist to free creativity. Umida Ahmedova did not take pictures of secret objects, did not defame governmental symbols and did not “slander” the Uzbek nation. Discussion of artworks should take place on pages of magazines and newspapers and not in the court hall.

We are also turning to the international community, heads of diplomatic missions and human rights organizations. The Uzbek Justice is making a dangerous turn, the consequences of which can be unpredictable. We must do everything possible so that it does not become worse!

Alisher Akaev, student, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Meder Akhmetov, architect, artist, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Yulia Amanbaeva, student of AUCA (American University of Central Asia), Kyrgyzstan

Shaarbek Amankul, artist, director of bArtCenter, Kyrgyzstan Artists Union Member, member of the International Academy of Ceramics in Geneva, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Margarita Amvrosova, art critic, Tengri-Umay art-gallery, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Viktor An, photographer, member of creative circle Academy of arts of Uzbekistan, Tashkent

Natalya Andrianova, designer, editorial board member at “Design.KG" journal, curator of design projects, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Ruben Arevshatyan, artist, critic, professor of art history of Armenian Open University, member of AICA (Art International Critics Association), member of editorial board of journal www.red-thread.org, member of curatorial board of the Contemporary Art Centre DEPO (Istanbul), Yerevan, Armenia

Said Atabekov, artist, Shymkent, Kazakhstan

Levon Avakyan, Jewellery Designer, Montreal, Canada

Defne Ayas, Director «Arthub Asia», Split between New York and Shanghai

Alexandra Batina, artist, Uzbekistan

Ekaterina Bogachevskaya, photographer, St. Petersburg, Russia

Alena Boika, chief Editor of Umelec International magazine for contemporary art and culture, Prague, Czech Republic

Gamal Bokonbaev, culture expert, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Arthur Bolzhurov, professional photographer, at present student of All-Russian State Institute of Cinematography, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Denise Brassard, writer and professor, UQAM, Montreal, Canada

Olga Chagaoutdinova, photographer, video-artist, Montreal, Canada

Boris Chukhovich, independent curator, researcher in the Canada Research Chair in Esthetics and Poetics, Montreal, Canada

Ekaterina Degot, art historian, curator, corresponding member of the Art Academy of Russia

Naima Dib, Professor, University of Montreal and McGill University, Montreal, Canada

Ulan Djaparov, Editor of the “Kurak” art-magazine, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Shailo Djekshenbayev, photographer, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Muratbek Djumaliev, artist, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Andrey Dureiko, artist, Düsseldorf, Germany

Natalya Dyu, artist, Karaganda, Kazakhstan

Yevgeniya Eropkina, student, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Robert Fasold, the script-writer, the fraud agent of Royal bank of Canada, Montreal

Alexander Fedorov, photo artist, distinguished worker of culture of Kyrgyz Republic, Bishkek

Ruslan Getmanchuk, writer, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Eugenia Gortchakova, the member of Artists Union of Germany, Oldenburg Germany

Vladislav Grakovsky, actor, film director, playwright, Germany

Larisa Grinberg, director of Gallery.Photographer.ru, member of Art Critics Association, Moscow, Russia

Rifat Gumerov, writer, full member of the Academy of Moral Traditions (Vienna, Austria), Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Simon Harel, Member of the Royal Society of Canada, Professor, UQAM, Montreal, Canada

Olzhas Isenov, artist, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Nellya Jamanbaeva, art manager of Public Union "ArtEast", Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Elena Jetpyspayeva, journalist, Kazakhstan

Aelita Jumaeva, Designer, Member of the International Association of the Union of Designers, Moscow, Russia

Mirbek Kadraliev, photographer, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Gulnara Kasmalieva, artist, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Sarvinoz Khojieva, Board Secretary of Artist Union, Republic of Tajikistan, art critic, author of TV program “Silhouette” - First Channel of Tajik television, Dushanbe

Jamshed Kholikov, artist, exhibitions coordinator, Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Oksana Khripun, Literary Director, Ilkhom Theater, Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Svyatoslav Kim, artist, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Daniil Kislov, Editor, Ferghana.ru, Moscow, Russia

Dastan Kozhakhmetov, director of Soros Center for contemporary art - Almaty, Kazakhstan

Sergey Kozoderov, photographer, designer, member of Union of journalists of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Temirtau

René LaFleur, Professor, Saint-Laurent College, Montreal, Canada

Andrey Kudryashov, journalist, photographer, Uzbekistan

Faruh Kuziev, Cultural Programing Manager, Bactria Cultural Centre, Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Alexandra Loumpet, PhD in Museology, Paris, France

Djemaa Maazouzi, Coordinator in the Center fir Research on Intermediality, University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada

Ruth Maclennan, artist and lecturer, University of the Arts, London, based in London.

Galim Madanov, the member of Artists Union of Kazakhstan, the member of Filmmakers' Union of Kazakhstan, Almaty

Gaisha Madanova, independent artist, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Darya Maksimova, artist, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Tina Mamatsashvili, PhD in Art History, State University of Tbilisi, Georgia

Georgiy Mamedov, Art-Manager, Moscow, Russia

Yuliya Masyakina, student, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Erbossyn Meldibekov, artist, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Almagul Menlibayeva, artist, laureate of the State Youth Prize “Daryn”, laureate of the Independent Prize of Maecenas of Kazakhstan

Isabelle de Mévius, Director of the “Éditions de Mévius”, Brussels, Belgium

Avaz Momunkulov, artist, Art Union Board member of Osh region, Kyrgyzstan

Joshua (Ulanbek) Murzakhmetov, artist, photographer, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Mirsulzhan Namazaliev, media-consultant, Kyrgyzstan

Chingiz Narynov, film director, photographer, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Zhanara Nauryzbaeva, cultural anthropologist, Stenford University, USA-Kazakhstan

Maksim Neroda, designer, Germany

Lyudmila Nikitina, Russian language teacher, Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Ekaterina Nikonorova, architect, artist, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Anna Nistratova, Director of the Photo Books magazine books.photographer.ru, Photo Editor in the Black Square Journal, Russia

Valery Nizamutdinov, technical English language officer, Russia-Kazakhstan-Uzbekistan

Andrey Novoselov, photographer, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Ainura Nurseitova, student, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Karlygash Nurzhanova (Bukenova), photographer, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Nurbossyn Oris, artist, designer, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Filippo Palumbo, doctoral fellow, University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada

Andrey Polikanov, Photograph-Director, Russian Reporter Journal, Moscow, Russia

Claudia Polledri, doctoral fellow in visual arts and comparative literature, Piacenza, Italy

Zhanna Prashkevich, journalist, editor of the portal nur.kz, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Darya Pyrkina, Candidate of art criticism, Chief research worker of State Contemporary Art Centre, Moscow, Russia

Ekaterina Reznikova, Candidate of art criticism, Chief research worker of State Art museum named A. Kasteev, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Vlad Safronov, philosopher, art critic, Russia

Ulyana Salova, student, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Almasbek Samidinov, artist, director of art boarding school, Jalalabat, Kyrgyzstan

Raushanna Sarkeyeva, business-trainer, adviser, photographer, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Ekaterina Serebryanaya, art-historian, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Anna Sevastyanova, student, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Aliya Sharipbayeva, interpreter, editor, coordinator, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Eldana Shalabayeva, artist, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Oksana Shatalova, art critic, artist, independent curator, Rudny, Kazakhstan

Alexei Shindin, decorator, artist, photographer, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Inessa Shlapak, journalist, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Alexandra Sokolovskaya-Fasold, artist, the member of Uzbekistan Academy of Art, Uzbekistan-Canada

Yuliya Sorokina, free lance curator, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Maria Stalbovskaya, library worker, cultural observer, Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Oleg Stalbovsky, web-master, member of committee of directors of Tashkent municipal Open Library of legal information, Uzbekistan

Joseph Ten, director of department “Computer Software Systems” Kyrgyz State Technological University named to I.Razzakov, Candidate of technological sciences, Kyrgyzstan

Samuel Torello, film director, Montreal, Canada

Alexei Ulko, MEd TTELT, editor of ELTeCS of Southern and Central Asia, Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Vladislav Ushakov, President of the Photojournalists Union of Kyrgyzstan Republic, photojournalist, director of projects www.photoasia.ru, www.photo.kg, www.gde.kg, ww.report.kg, www.aitmatov.kg, www.foto.kg, www.show.kg, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Dima Valershtein, art photographer, Israel

Maria Vilkovisskaya, writer, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Anastasiya Vinogradova, student, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Alexei Volosevich, independent journalist, Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Victor Vorobyev, artist, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Yelena Vorobyeva, artist, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Irina Yashkova, art historian, curator, Moscow, Russia

Olga Zhitlina, art historian, artist, St. Petersburg, Russia

Ekaterina Zelenkova, student, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Alexander Zemlyanichenko, Photograph in Chief, Moscow Office of the “Associated Press” Information Agency, Moscow, Russia

Anna Zima, photographer, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Alimzhan Zhorobaev, photo artist, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Basanova Anna, art manager, Tajikistan, Dushanbe

Shabnam Shermatova, art manager, Tajikistan

Tillav Rasul-zade, journalist, Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Muyassar Nekkadamova, Administrative Assistant, Aga-Khan Foundation, Khorog, Tajikistan

Jutta Langbehn/France/Economist

Manuchehr Kholov/Tajikistan/Human Rights Activist

Pairav Chorshanbiev, journalist, Tajikistan

Usmanova Omina, artist, Tajikistan, Dushanbe

Ismatov Bakhrom, artist, Tajikistan, Dushanbe

Alla Rumyantseva, artist, Tajikistan, Dushanbe

Alexei Rumyantsev, artist, Tajikistan, Dushanbe

Faruh Kuziev, art manager, Tajikistan, Dushanbe

Jamshed Kholikov, photo and video artist, curator of series of art projects, Tajikistan, Dushanbe

Sergei Chutkov, art manager, Tajikistan, Dushanbe

Anton Ruhlov, designer, Tajikistan, Dushanbe

Alisher Pirimkulov, film producer, Member of Film Union of CIS and Baltic states, Tajikistan, Dushanbe

Islombekov Yodgor, Art department manager, Agency “Ustodesign”, Tajikistan, Dushanbe