Kazakhstan's creative industries have garnered increased attention in recent years. Last month, the President mandated the establishment of creative industry centers in every major city across the country. Additionally, in June, Kazakhstan identified 43 key economic activities associated with the creative industries, notably emphasizing one closely linked with the art sector.
While the nation prepares to showcase works by Kazakh artists at the Louvre in 2026, locally created pieces have already gained international recognition, continuously captivating art enthusiasts globally. Among the notable success stories in Kazakh art, the World Painting, created by Daut Shaikhislam, currently holds the Guinness World Record for involving the largest number of people using and passing a paintbrush, symbolizing global harmony.
QazMonitor conducted a study on the artwork's journey to acclaim, highlighting its ability to unite thousands of people globally, becoming one of the most prominent success stories of modern art originating from Kazakhstan.
The international success of the World Painting surpasses being just a record-breaker. Brush strokes left by Hollywood actors, filmmakers, iconic musicians, world sports stars, public figures, and former presidents have consolidated the perception of the artwork as a symbol of universal harmony and peace. The creators emphasize that the painting represents a scaled-down version of the Earth. Over 2000 participants from 193 countries have contributed to this ongoing project.
Since its inception, numerous talented individuals, including distinguished figures such as three-time Grammy award winner Ne-Yo, French jazz diva Zaz, British singer and member of the boy band Blue, Simon Webbe, French-Italian singer and supermodel Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, Kazakh singer and multi-instrumentalist Dimash Kudaibergen, and American actor and Oscar and Emmy Award winner Riz Ahmed, have made their marks on the canvas.
Constant evolution through exhibitions
The World Painting made its debut at the Kazakh Pavilion during EXPO 2020 Dubai and has since been exhibited in various locations worldwide. It has graced galleries in the US, France, Switzerland, Spain, the UAE, Kazakhstan, and most recently Georgia. As with other exhibitions, the audience feedback in Tbilisi was overwhelmingly positive.
The Georgian exhibition, inaugurated by Mai Chikvaidze, curator of the National Gallery of Georgia, underscored the painting's dedication to peace and friendship. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Kazakhstan to Georgia, Malik Murzalin, expressed gratitude to two Georgian women, Nino Komladze and Nino Okudzhava, for their involvement in the creation of the World Painting in the autumn of 2021, making their unique contributions from Georgia.
At the opening of the Tbilisi exhibition, Dana Ormanbaeva, the project’s co-producer, emphasized, "We have seen with our own eyes how inhabitants of the planet can coexist in harmony and friendship, signifying that there is a solution, a way out, and that preserving world peace is possible.”
The author and producer of the art project, Daut Shaikhislam, firmly believes that reason and high culture can cease the monstrous conflicts on Earth. He sees the World Painting as a symbol of society's cultural development and its collective understanding of the world. He envisions scaling this model of communication to distribute it globally, akin to a Wi-Fi signal connecting all citizens of the world.
Uniting diverse cultures
Music performances are a notable feature in many World Painting displays, typically integrating elements of Kazakh culture with the host country of the exhibition. For instance, in Georgia, guests were treated to a performance by the GEO Folk Tour musical group, singing in Georgian and Kazakh languages. A special highlight was the rendition of Abay's famous song "Kozimnin Karasy," performed in voice polyphony.
Another noteworthy event linked to the painting occurred in June when popular French singer Zaz and the Kazakh folk ensemble Sazgen Sazy collaborated, delivering a mesmerizing performance in front of the World Painting. Together, they presented a reimagined version of Zaz's hit 'Je Veux,' integrating traditional Kazakh instruments, blending the artfulness of chanson with the nuance of kuy rhythm.
The journey of the World Painting, from its inception to its global exhibitions, embodies a powerful narrative of unity, diversity, and harmony. Its evolving exhibitions, often accompanied by music bridging different cultures, echo a profound message of understanding and connection. The painting represents a great example of how art from Kazakhstan finds global recognition and has become a symbolic beacon of hope, demonstrating how art can transcend boundaries, conveying a shared dream of peace and unity for all humanity.