Saodat Ismailova

Saodat Ismailova is a filmmaker and artist who came of age in the post-Soviet era and has established artistic lives between Paris and Tashkent while remaining deeply engaged with her native region as a source of creative inspiration.

Portrait of Saodat Ismailova

Saodat Ismailova, 2016, photo: Carlos Casas, courtesy the artist

Following graduation from State Art Institute of Tashkent, she was granted a residency in Fabrica, Benetton Group’s research and communication center in Treviso, Italy, where she directed Aral: Fishing in an Invisible Sea, which won Best Documentary at the 2004 Turin Film Festival. In 2005 Ismailova was awarded a place on the DAAD Artists-in-Residence program in Berlin, where she developed her debut award-winning feature film 40 Days of Silence, which premiered at Forum, Berlin International Film Festival in 2014. She participated in the Venice Biennale in 2013 as part of the Central Asian Pavilion with her video installation Zukhra. In 2017 she was artist-in-residence in OCA (Office of Contemporary Art, Norway) where she developed her short film The Haunted, presented the same year at Tromsø Kunstforening.

In 2018 Ismailova graduated from Le Fresnoy, France’s National Studio of Contemporary Arts, where she developed Stains of Oxus and Two Horizons. In the same year, her multimedia performance Qyrq Qyz was presented at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) in New York, and Musée du quai Branly in Paris.

In 2021 Ismailova established a research group Davra in Tashkent dedicated to studying, documenting, and disseminating Central Asian culture and knowledge. In the same year, she presented the solo exhibition What was my name? at Aspan Gallery, Almaty, and created the educational program CCA Lab at Center for Contemporary Arts, Tashkent, where the year prior she presented the solo exhibition Q’org’on Chirog.

Works by Ismailova are in the collections of the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam and Centre Pompidou, Paris.

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