New Emissary

Contemplating Kyrgyzstan

An artist with ties to the country has some insight on the current crisis.

Artpologist’ Daniel Gallegos, who I’ve interviewed in the past on art in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, is now in the Parisian suburb of Bobigny working on yet another global project.

And although Daniel won’t be back in Central Asia until next year, he’s watching the news avidly from Europe as the chaos continues to unfold in Kyrgyzstan following last week’s government takeover. The artist shared some of his thoughts on the situation with me:

‘It was kind of surreal to see the events unfold. There was so much media about the uprisings. I was surprised to see how much video imagery was on the news. I don’t remember seeing this much video during the Tulip Revolution. I felt like I could watch the street battles unfold all the way from Europe.’

He also told me that while he’s happy his friends and colleagues there are safe, and that he’s been keeping in touch with them, he’s also been hearing from some that many media outlets, including blogs and news websites, were blocked during the build-up and actual uprising.

For Daniel, this reminded him of his time in the country last year, when he was working on an art project in the southern area of Osh in Kyrgyzstan. At the time, there were numerous power outages. He recalled that,

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‘The whole time we were there the natural gas that powered stoves in the entire city was shut off by neighbouring Uzbekistan. We could have used the gas to cook but to adapt; we mostly used wood and charcoal to cook. One of reasons of the unpopularity of the Kyrgyz president was the rising cost of fuel.’

And despite such unfortunate events being the topic of our conversation, with the sensitivity of a true artist, David shared with me a link ( to a surprisingly extensive series of truly amazing on-the-ground photos capturing the scene in Kyrgyzstan.