Kazakh National Museum holds online art talk to discuss digital transformation of creative industries
An art talk, organized by the National Museum of Kazakhstan, brought together talented artists from around the world, including painters, sculptors, graphic artists and other masters from nearly a dozen of countries, from Russia to the United States. Artists held an online conversation. The participants of the art talk tried to answer the questions: What is the role of the artists in the century of digital transformation? How did the global pandemic integrate new technologies into the traditional art environment? How does the IT affect art? The meeting participants also raised the issue of the necessity to transfer the art galleries to the Internet and close the traditional museums. Previously, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said that after the coronavirus quarantine is over, more than 13 percent of the exhibition sites will never reopen again.
The participants said that the art talk covered the contemporary trends in a wide variety of art genres, including theatrical scenography, sculpture, digital book graphics and art performances.
The artist from Moscow Anna Shevtsova was one of the art talk participants. She talked about the iconography of the health workers during the global pandemic. As it turned out, artists from different countries acutely reacted to the current media agenda. The artists throughout the world began creating poster graphics, paintings, murals, cartoons, animation and digital art during the coronavirus quarantine. Mainly, they portray the heroes of today – doctors and nurses.
“This is the pulse of modern art, and it is absolutely remarkable that Kazakhstan, being the heart of Central Asia, stays on top of it. I identified six key characters or storyline groups into which the works dedicated to the doctors can be combined. They are a superman, a saint, a victim, a Doctor Aibolit (‘Doctor Ouch’), a plague doctor and a person. I gave examples of how these archetypal images are developed by various authors, including Banksy, Duyi Han and Sergei Yolkin. The universal idea of the victory of good over evil gained a visible image that wears a protective suit and a respirator,” Shevtsova said.
The COVID-19 pandemic partly pushed the field of art to the digital transformation. All of the museums were closed for quarantine due to the spread of coronavirus infection. Most of them transferred into digital format. Surprisingly, the virtual museums did become popular. Millions of viewers from all over the world went online to watch new exhibitions and their favorite art works. Today, people can get to the Louvre Museum or the Moscow Tretyakov Gallery without leaving their homes. The art talk participant from Dagestan Alibek Koilakayev talked in favor of the digital transformation. He said that in the age of technology, the artists should use the Internet to promote their works. Koilakayev has more than 600,000 followers on his social media. This means that the Instagram account can be used as a kind of exhibition. He managed to sell dozens of his original paintings, not to mention the copies. Koilakayev shared his experience of how the Internet space becomes a so-called springboard for self-realization.
“The social networks help to promote a business. In particular, it is a tool for promoting the paintings. This platform allows selling the painting and finding a client without any connections or exhibitions. This is the promotion of the personal brand and the art works. Currently, the new websites and sales galleries are being opened. There are new web-pages, where people can see the same paintings from the museum. Social networks are a great tool for the artist to present themselves,” said the graphic artist, illustrator and clothing designer Alibek Koilakayev.
The art talk participants said that the digital format is always relevant and that the artists are ready to keep pace with the times. However, they agreed that the digitalization should be used only as a supplementary tool. Galleries must introduce new technologies, but continue working as before. The art talk participants emphasized that in the end nothing could replace the actual presence in museums, and therefore the physical museums must stay.
“A lot of new paining and art projects in general appeared during the global pandemic. So, we decided to raise the issue of the digital perception of the viewer. Moreover, many artists work in digital art, and it is just a tool like a pencil or a brush. On the other hand, we observe that 13 percent of museums haven’t managed to survive the global pandemic and closed for good. That is why we wanted to convey to people how important it is to visit the museums and see the paintings and artifacts in real life. The presence in the museum gives more feelings and opportunities to the viewer, than the screen or monitor,” said Madina Dosamanova, Head of Modern Art Department of the National Museum of Kazakhstan.
In addition, the art talk participants talked at the online meeting about the online education of young painters, methods in contemporary art, digital theater projects and much more. Meantime, the National Museum of Kazakhstan promised to hold the similar event next year, but hopefully not virtual one.