An international art festival on the theme of migration with a focus on Central Asia.

The “Berlin Bishkek Art Weeks” will be taking place in Berlin Kreuzberg from May 12 – May 28, 2023. Organized by a group of young creative artists from Berlin, the project aims to counter the European migration debate with dialogue, exchange, and international solidarity through a diverse and varied program. But above all, with a great deal of art and culture.

“We want to make a statement against the current shift to the right in Europe,” says co-founder of the project and photographer Louise Amelie. The art festival thus actively campaigns for global civil rights and against nationalist tendencies. The goal is to create a platform that encourages visitors to participate in the discussion actively. A wide variety of artistic and multidimensional perspectives invite visitors to engage with the topic.

In addition to the social and political relevance, a young, up-and-coming, and almost unknown art scene will be presented. “The focus on Central Asia, a region that from a Western perspective still represents a blind spot on the world map, should help to broaden the Eurocentric view on the topic of migration and to learn from each other,” says Andreas Bauer, curator of the Berlin Bishkek Art Weeks. “A fireworks display of art and culture, dialogue, exchange, and festive encounters is intended to put the topic in a positive light, to stimulate rethinking, and to provide approaches to solutions – or at least fantastic conversation material, the curator adds. The intercultural and interdisciplinary art exhibition, which deals with the topic of transnational migration in a serious and critical, but also young and uncomplicated way, is only one part of a large project for the exchange between two cultural regions and especially between the two countries Kyrgyzstan and Germany.

The venue for the event is an old cab yard on Moritzplatz, which has been won for intermediate cultural use and will now become a place for encounters.

Darya Nesterova, social worker and the second founder of the project states: “Every new beginning comes first and foremost from young people, it’s about the commonalities in the struggle for a global future. It is about the beauty and aesthetics of the Central Asian world – in the midst of crisis and war, we want to start a conversation.”
Exhibition with Central Asian + Berlin-based Artists (15 artists from Kyrgyzstan are present), Publication of the Photobook “Missing Member “by Louise Amelie , Panel discussions, Workshops, Dance Performances, Concerts and Sound Sessions, OpenAir Cinema/Movie Screenings, Grand opening with the party, Art auction and much more.

This intercultural art project in the form of a multi-media exhibition aims to critically engage with the issue of migration and advocates, anti-racism, and transnational solidarity. In Europe, we observe an increasing fear of the seemingly “foreign”, reflected in the rise of right-wing parties. We want to counter this trend with a left position that advocates for global civil rights and opposes a national-social logic.
By focusing on migration movements in the Central Asian region, we aim to broaden the audience’s view and move away from Eurocentrism when it comes to migration. Focusing on a small, mostly neglected country like Kyrgyzstan acts as a magnifying glass, revealing general structural problems of migration.
Statistics show that every family in Kyrgyzstan is affected by migration, so the phenomenon of migration is perceived as a normality rather than as a way to mitigate poverty risks. Migration can help to break out of restrictive traditions, to dare more personal freedoms, and, above all, offers financial security.

In European discourse, migration always appears as an aberration, a problem from which we must be protected. The EU’s borders have become increasingly militarized. In the media, migration is portrayed as a humanitarian crisis on the EU’s borders, in the waters of the Mediterranean, or in reception facilities where refugees are held in scandalous conditions to keep the “masses” from coming to Europe. Rarely do migrants appear beyond criminalization or victimization as self-determined actors in the migration regime, challenging nation-state institutions and creating new social structures through their struggles.

History shows that progressive change always starts with young people. With this project, we are addressing how the current (post-Soviet) generation (of 25-30-year-olds) in Kyrgyzstan sees its own past, present and future, how these perspectives relate to migration, and the transnational networks that have developed in recent decades.

Underrepresented voices and experiences can be included in the discourse on issues of migration as a global phenomenon.

Through party┬┤s, panel discussions, and lively exchange of art and culture, we dare to look beyond our own horizons to learn from each other and broaden our perspectives. We want to initiate an exchange of experiences between Kyrgyz living in Germany and in Kyrgyzstan and Berlin artists.
The project combines artistic, curatorial, and art education elements while pursuing a political and educational agenda. In addition to Louise Amelie’s photo book, artworks by various Kyrgyz artists will be presented. Amongst them are paintings, production designs, sculptures and performances.

We intend to involve other associations that actively promote the rights of migrants in Germany and take gender issues into account. In addition to political education, we also want to make the new and fresh momentum of the art scene visible and tangible, which is currently evident in the capital of Kyrgyzstan. Through the project, we want to give people the opportunity to discover the beauty and aesthetics of the country and create space for encounters.

In this way, we want to achieve further cooperation between German-Kyrgyz artists by bringing together and linking new connections and transnational networks.

We strive to present Kyrgyzstan from different perspectives and look for commonalities rather than differences to discuss key issues and problems of globalization and growing poverty that affects us all. We want to give Kyrgyz artists a platform for their diverse voices, which are rarely heard in Berlin and the rest of the world.

Prinzessinnenstr.21-24
10969 Berlin

Exhibition opening hours:
Tuesday – Friday:
15:00 – 21:00
Saturday & Sunday:
12:00 – 21:00