Assel Sabyrzhankyzy, who goes by the artist pseudonym Assol, has grown accustomed to the experience of going viral on social media. She is mainly a portrait artist, who utilizes thematic elements and motifs to draw illustrious figures from Kazakh history, like royalties, political leaders, writers, and such.
She had first garnered attention on TikTok, where she posts sped-up videos of her work, for her simultaneous portraits of the 'three sages' - Tole Bi, Kazbek Bi and Aiteke Bi. A few months ago, media headlines gushed over her portrait of Kenesary Khan made from little stick figures, which symbolize the idea of nationhood and unity under one great leader.
Her latest creation is one that was viewed about 700,000 times and received more than 85,000 likes and a thousand comments.
In an interview with Tengri Lifestyle, Assol commented on how she got her video idea: "I've been painting portraits of historical figures of Kazakhstan for two years now. I was planning on creating a portrait of Abai for a long time, but I never could decide on what technique to use. I wanted to use this portrait to show my respect for his works.”
The final result turned a simple drawing into a tasteful tribute to the poet on Abai Day which was celebrated on August 10. The silhouette was shaped by the verses of "Kozimnin karasy", which consists of 22 quatrains. According to the interview, the artist saw the portrait "singing Abai's lines" and felt quite satisfied with how it came out.
"I felt that my subscribers would definitely like what I've done, but I didn't expect the video to become so popular. I was pleasantly surprised. It's great that visual arts are becoming popular. To promote creativity, the arts, and our history is my main mission in life," Assel summed up.