(Exclusive Interview By Dr Shahid Qureshi: Almaty , Kazakhstan) : – Balhiya Mukhamedzhanova is a famous artist based in Kazakhstan. As part of our interview series with the artists, singers, musicians, writers and academics we requested her for the interview. She very kindly agreed to be exclusively interviewed for our readers around the World.
Please tell our readers about yourself and life journey?
I live in Almaty, Kazakhstan all my life, next to beautiful mountains in central Asia.I was born in professor’s family; both my parents were university lecturers at that time. I am the last third child in my family, probably unexpected, but my mother never said it was. The very beginning of my life was happy. Although my parents were in good state, had good job, apartment, car, old enough but it never bothered me until school. I went to the pre-school it call’s kinder-garden: and to say truly I hated it. I was always out of frames, age etc. so I was moved from one group to another back and forth so I could not make friends and have keep studying, and it was awful.
How was your school and education?
Hmm it was worse then kinder-garden. I was not ready for it, and it was difficult. I was tiniest person in my class. Physically and mentally. Small and shy. I felt stupid. Time passed and I got used to it, and my study became more interesting for me, and I was lucky to have an excellent teacher. She was a great person, I hope still is. She let me write answer instead of telling. She taught us not only her subject, but also life lessons. It was she, who first advised make “to do list”. It started to work step by step. Off course, I loved to draw and paint, art class was my favorite. Nevertheless, it was not enough.
How you got into Art and Clay?
I started to attend the art studio by children’s culture center not far from home, both fine art and clay studio. It was passion. I could have stayed there until night. Only mom’s call forced me to go home. My older brother talked to mom, so she moved me to art school, and there I finally found my interest. I felt as if I suited to the world exactly. Later I admitted to art college, it was the happiest time of my school years. Feelings was not only mine; all my schoolmates agree with it. We still keep in touch.
When we graduated, art critic told us we are too good to our Art Academy. There would be boring for us. My mother was against of my being painter so we had with her a lot difficult discussions and I went to the different university, I have graduated it. That time I tried to do art as a hobby. However, you know, it does not work this way.
Please tell us about art and family life?
I met my spouse, and we got married. I worked in office in non-art field, I tried to work, I must say. After giving birth to my younger son I made a solo exhibition named “Pregnant Moray eels” with series painting (art works) about Beauty of pregnancy and strength of a woman.
I decided to go to the Art Academy, to study more on sculpture class. I was older than other students were for years, study is different when you are not so young, you trying to take as much as it possible, you are hungry for knowledge. Clay is wonderful, study was hard, at the same time it was full of pleasure. Same that time we, me and my husband, published wedding magazine. Interesting experience. I graduated in 2011, I got bachelor’s diploma as a sculptor.
I gave birth to one more child; I am so happy I hoped and expected a girl this time. Miracle happen, thanks God. We have two boys and one girl.
I made another solo show in 2014 about beauty of pregnancy again. It seems that theme is my favourite.
I am so grateful to my family; especially to my dear beloved husband, he always supports me on my way. In my parent’s family, it was not easy. My mom was afraid of my being artist. She thought that it is impossible to be an artist and a happy woman at the same time, my dad was proud of me when I graduated Art Academy, but he never insisted on any profession. Truly I do not know was he against of my being an artist or not.
I am also proud of myself come back to art again, that I found strength for it. I think it is my success story. Only advice I can give to the youth: you need to listen to your heart, and believe in yourself, though it could be difficult or not easy.
My dream is to make show of my art in London, in Europe, in other countries. To show my art to people who can find it interesting. Now my works are in America, Belgium, Russia and of course in Kazakhstan.
Thank you very much for your time.