AK-JOL Open Road


2024 – 2026

International and interactive traveling exhibition of contemporary art in Kyrgyzstan

After the successful cultural festival „Berlin Bishkek Art Weeks“ in Berlin 2023, the Association ArtCity would like to continue its intercultural and artistic work in Kyrgyzstan with the project „Ak Jol – Art Mobil“. „Ak Jol“ is a long-term art and culture project spanning over several years.

The aim is to strengthen transnational networks and form a diverse community that uses art to promote solidarity across ideological or national borders. With a supporting program adapted to the localities (for the traveling exhibition in 2025/2026) and in cooperation with local initiatives working for social justice in rural regions, a contribution is to be made to informal educational work based on mutual understanding and dialogue at eye level. Art should serve here as a vehicle for understanding.

In addition to the aim of showing contemporary art in rural regions, the association also pursues artistic ambitions beyond the region. To this end, exhibitions are planned in Bishkek that will attract an international audience, as well as a documentary film production under the direction of director and photojournalist Louise Amelie. The project is also gaining international appeal through the use of various online platforms and digital networks.

„Ak Jol“ is divided into various phases, which differ in terms of duration and content and build on each other. The respective locations are selected strategically, with the aim of carrying out phases A and B in each of the country’s 7 administrative regions (Chui, Issyk – Kul, Talas, Naryn, Jalal – Abad, Osh, Batken). Each phase is professionally accompanied and post-processed by photo and video documentation.

In phase A, the focus is on informal familiarization and building trust with the local village community. A stay of 1.5 – 2 weeks is planned for each village. During this phase, the „bus stops“ for the art mobile will be built, which will be visited in phase B to implement artistic activities. The aim is to create a basis of trust for Phase B, in which the focus of the content is discussed with the local community and permits are obtained from the local authorities and administrations

Phase B focuses on the artistic aspect. The Art Mobil travels to the stops and sets up the pop-up exhibition on site. The phase is implemented in collaboration with international artists from Europe and Central Asia with whom the ArtCity Association is in contact.

In Phase C, an art festival/exhibition concept is planned in Bishkek/Berlin, while in Phase D the project will be given international reach in the form of image and video material. 

By combining the various phases and measures, a creative strategy is being developed to make the project from Kyrgyzstan known to the widest possible audience in Germany and beyond.


The decision to choose the Issyk Kul region as the starting point is based on the openness of the local population towards artistic activities and the association’s personal relationships with this region. The first phase of the project will be carried out in the village of Bokonbaevo on the southern shore of the lake, supported by building permits that have already been granted (Altynai Osmoeva). Subsequently, the phase will be carried out in the nearby Naryn region in the village of At-Bashy, which is also at the center of European tourism. There are also contacts that allow easy access to the village. The experience gained during this stay will contribute significantly to quality assurance for the next phases.

The construction of the prototype bus stop is reminiscent of the frame of a yurt, a traditional Kyrgyz nomad tent, and can be designed and reinterpreted with typical elements depending on the region. This reference to the yurt is by no means coincidental, as it has always been regarded as a place of coming together, of uniting different influences and is still a central part of everyday life in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan today. The artistic objects, „bus stops“, are also places of encounter. Local materials are used and recycled. The bus stop had an important function in the villages of the Soviet Union and was a hub for the exchange of information, news and goods. This significance is still deeply rooted in the collective memory today.

During the USSR era, attempts were made to eradicate nomadism in Kyrgyzstan through forced measures during collectivization, but this was never completely successful. Nowadays, the people of Kyrgyzstan proudly reflect on their pre-Soviet cultural achievements. The young art scene in particular addresses the complexity of its own history in its works and is on a path to finding a new identity that differs from Soviet narratives or traditional understandings of roles.

The bus stops will be provided with QR codes, which people can use to find out about the project before Phase B. This will also allow people passing through to find out about the project all year round. The bus stops will be marked on a digital map, creating connections between the regions in Kyrgyzstan and as far as Europe.


To form and strengthen a transnational network and community of contemporary art practitioners, consisting of professional artists, scholars and activists who utilize the expressive possibilities of both modern visual arts and traditional culture to promote ethical human values, affirm humane and democratic living and the principles of socially just development.