Please upgrade your browser

For the best experience, you should upgrade your browser. Visit our accessibility page to view a list of supported browsers along with links to download the latest version.

Student Showcase Archive

Huma Kabakci

MA work

MA work

The Curatorial Consequences of Exhibiting Contemporary Art from the Emerging Art Market in Central Asia in a Developed Western Country with Particular Reference to Azerbaijan & Kazakhstan

Central Asia expands from the Caspian Sea in the west to China in the east and from Afghanistan in the south to Russia in the north. Historically Central Asia has been closely tied to its migratory peoples and the Silk Road. As a result, it has acted as a crossroads for the movement of people, goods, and ideas between Europe and the different regions and peoples we now refer to as Asia. 

Central Asian arts developed hand in hand with the expansion of Soviet arts. As a result of Soviet colonisation, European fine arts - painting, sculpture and graphics – were introduced to Central Asia with the birth of modernism, which adopted trends from the Russian avant-garde movement until the 1980s. In the 1990s, the arts of the region underwent many significant changes in the political landscape, and looking at its global position within the art market we can see it has been developing since then.

Sotheby’s London, New Bond Street branch has held its first ever selling exhibition in March 2013 of Contemporary Art from Central Asia and the Caucasus gathering together 50 artworks produced in the last 50 years as a test of the market. The first independent pavilion in the 55th Venice Biennial promoting Azerbaijani art and its regions was realised. By looking at examples of established and internationally acknowledged artists from this region, the following questions in this dissertation will be answered:

  • How can contemporary artists from Central Asia be shown curatorially in an international art market in a city like London in relation to the current political/cultural/economic issues?
  • Why is there a curatorial slack given the increasing interest in the Central Asian Art Market now?
  • How does the viewers’ perspective of contemporary art change as a country is entering greater economic development?
  • Why is contemporary Central Asian art relevant now?

The answers to these questions enabled me to focus on certain research methodologies and led me to my conclusion, which is despite the fact that there is still ignorance towards Central Asian and Caucasus contemporary art compared to well established western contemporary art in cities like London, there is still a great curatorial potential to show art from the region especially from Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.



  • Self Portrait
  • MA Degree


    School of Humanities


    MA Curating Contemporary Art, 2014

  • Throughout my studies at the RCA, my research and dissertation has focused on contemporary Central Asian Art.   During my final year exhibition, ... all silent but for the buzzing ..., I liaised with Omani artist Hassan Meer, and so started to explore the UAE region more closely. I am also very interested in performance art in relation to other art forms and practices. 

    I graduated  from BA Adverstising & Marketing at London College of Communication in 2011. I have worked and interned in various galleries, museums and auction houses, both in the UK and Turkey, including Sotheby’s New Bond Street (Contemporary Art Sales department), The Albion Gallery (London), Pera Museum (Turkey), as well as three major collection exhibitions in museums I worked on during the 2010 Ruhr & Pecs Capital of Culture project. My most recent curatorial experience involved working at the British Pavilion in the 55th Venice Biennial from  June to July 2013. I attended talks as a guest speaker in October 2013 and April 2014 for Contemporary Istanbul Art Fair & Elgiz Museum. 

  • Degrees

  • BA Advertising and Marketing, London College of Communication, 2011
  • Exhibitions

  • Young Collectors, Elgiz Museum, Istanbul, Turky, 2014; Young Collectors, Elgiz Museum, Istanbul, Turky, 2014; Huma Kabakcı Collection, Modern Hungarian Gallery, Pécs, Hungary, 2010; Huma Kabakcı Collection, Modern Hungarian Gallery, Pécs, Hungary, 2010; Huma Kabakcı Collection, Museum Moderner Kunst, Goslar (Germany) , May-November 2010; Huma Kabakcı Collection, Museum Moderner Kunst, Goslar, Germany, 2010; Huma Kabakcı Collection, Osthaus Museum Hagen (Germany), May-November 2010; Huma Kabakcı Collection, Osthaus Museum Hagen, Germany, 2010
  • Conferences

  • Contemporary Istanbul Art Fair Talk, Ankara