About #BishkekSmog Initiative


About initiative and #BishkekSmog founder

The initiative #BishkekSmog appeared in 2019 as a reaction to the big air pollution crisis in Bishkek.

It is a self-organized and self-financed civic initiative that aims to protect the environmental rights of Kyrgyz citizens on local and international levels.

#BishkekSmog was founded by public policy analyst and curator Bermet Borubaeva.

Bermet Borubaeva (Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan)

Bermet Borubaeva is a public policy analyst, researcher, and curator from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, co-founder of Bishkek School of Contemporary Art, and founder of initiative #BishkekSmog. Last year she received the Mentorship award “Artistic Response on Environmental Change” by the Prince Clause & Geather Institute. Since 2009 she has been co-curating the environmental art festival “TRASH” held in Kyrgyzstan which last year presented almost 100 participants from the Central Asian region and worldwide. Togerther with Iskender Aliev and Andrew Tkatch she worked on the ocumentary #BishkekSmog that took award at the International human rights festival «Bir Duyno» as the Best film about environment and Climate Change. 

In her multi-faceted practice, she engages with the politico-economic issues of food production and conservation, labor, migration, urban environment, and gender emancipation. After she graduated from the ArtEast School of Contemporary Art in 2009 she participated in many regional and international art projects in Moldova, Switzerland, Poland, Serbia, Netherlands, USA, Mexico, etc. She has contributed to a number of publications in the fields of art, political science, and urban environment.

She has got a personal grant from the Foundation for Art Initiatives to conduct research about the representation of coal workers in Visual Art in Kyrgyzstan. The last solo exhibition “STILL LIVE” was presented in the gallery Dreiviertel in Bern, Switzerland. Participant of documenta 15 as a part of Gudskul: Contemporary Art Collective and Ecosystem Studies, an educational platform formed by three Jakarta-based collectives: ruangrupa, Serrum and Grafis Huru Hara, Jakarta – Indonesia. 

Borubaeva holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University, Bishkek, and a Master of Arts in Political Analysis and Public Policy from the Higher School of Economics, Moscow. She graduated from the ArtEast School of Contemporary Art in 2009 and studied at the First Moscow Curatorial Summer School, «Doing Exhibitions Politically», initiated by Viktor Misiano and the V-A-C-Foundation. She has participated in curatorial research residencies What Could/Should Curating Do?, Serbia, ReDirecting East, the Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw, and the Curatorial Program for Research, Mexico.

She was curator and participant in various local and international projects, including the education program for the Bishkek presentation of the exhibition Lingua Franca/ Франк тили, the Central Asian Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale, with Oxana Kapishnikova and Diana Ukhina; VKL.VIKL. (ON/OFF), the First Youth Central Asian Exhibition of Contemporary Art; PAS DE DEUX – KG. CH exhibition at Center of Contemporary Art Yverdon-Les-Bains, Switzerland; TET A TET and TET A TET #2, exchange and exhibition projects between Kyrgyz and Swiss artists initiated by Focus-Art Association; and the performance Café Non-seller, in conjunction with the ECOCUP Green Documentary Film Festival, Moscow. 

Some information about recent projects

Article about the history of Trash-festival https://beuysonoff.com/associates/bermet-borubaeva/

Interview about the Festival  https://worldsensorium.com/meet-your-trash/

Educational center close to the landfill https://kloop.kg/blog/2022/03/16/video-aktivisty-sozdali-tvorcheskoe-prostranstvo-dlya-detej-zhivushhih-okolo-bishkekskoj-svalki/

#BishkekSmog documentary http://bishkeksmog.info/

Master Thesis about the Urban growth and bike sharing systems https://www.hse.ru/edu/vkr/153012053 

Article about human rights of women in Kyrgyzstan https://cabar.asia/ru/bermet-borubaeva-v-kyrgyzstane-neobhodimo-razrabotat-i-vnedrit-effektivnuyu-gosudarstvennuyu-politiku-po-zashhite-prav-zhenshhin

Art & life experience of Central Asian cultural migrant worker in Moscow https://vanessaban.info/Nominal-Bliss

Interview about Feminism, marxism and decolonization  https://feminisms.co/zine/bermet-borubaeva

Decolonizing the work methodologies of State Museums https://atlas.bauhaus-dessau.de/en/journal/decolonizing-design-education/decolonising-the-methodology-of-working-with-state-museums