Category Archives: Shamaldy-Sai

Alternative, Shamaldy-Sai

How do Children Imagine the Underwater World?

Who lives in the waters of the Naryn river? 

We held an online drawing workshop for the children of Shamaldy-Sai. Pupils from local schools could fantasize about the underwater world. They were guided by an artist Cholpon Alamanova and organized by the local administration and school teachers. The pupils from 1st to 11th grade were free to take part in the event. Interestingly there are dolphins, whales, crabs, and other oceanic creatures drawn by young participants. The narrow and cold river doesn’t have any of these. Children’s drawings can be seen here. 

Non-Human, Shamaldy-Sai

Other Living Beings

There are scorpions, snakes and lizards in the dry and hot semi-arid zone of Shamaldy-Sai. Old residents remember how they hunted for large varans, which in recent years disappeared and were placed on the list of highly endangered species

There are a lot of mosquitoes and in the summer the locals use a net – “pashakana” around the trestle beds to ward off mosquitoes.

Fishing in Shamaldy-Sai is more of a hobby than a livelihood. Men fish at the “Nachalka/Nachalo” – the beginning of the canal that comes out of the Naryn and flows through Shamaldy-Sai. As a rule, only men and youths go fishing, making it a highly gendered leisure activity.

Human, Shamaldy-Sai

In the flow, 2019

Gulzat Baialieva, Dinara Kanybek kyzy, Oksana Kapishnikova, Aidar Zhumabaev, Deniz Nazarova

Installation, collage

“In the flow” is a cyclic structure, illustrating the various flows circulating between Shamaldy-Sai and Moscow. These two distant places were once linked by ambitious projects of modernization.

The settlement of Shamaldy-Sai was established in 1956 as part of the construction of the Uch-Kurgan Hydroelectric Power Station – the “firstborn” on the Naryn River. Since 1914 this area has attracted hydrologists and engineers. From 1956 Moscow in particular regulated the first flow of labourers who were directed to build the town, plants and Uch-Kurgan hydroelectric station.

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Beginnings 2019, Kazaly, Naryn, Non-Human, Shamaldy-Sai

Aral Sea Stories and the River Naryn

Peter Cusack

The recordings in this exhibition are part of a project entitled “Aral Sea Stories and the River Naryn”. It concerns the disappearance and partial restoration of the Aral Sea in Central Asia since the 1960s. Because The River Naryn is one of the primary sources of water for the Aral Sea it is also vital to the story. My project focusses on the amazing variety of sounds created by the river, the sea, the surrounding environment and the people who live in these areas. It asks the question, “What can we learn of water uses and abuses by listening to their sounds?” and follows the stories and directions suggested.

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