A Short Time Ago
Urban Memory and Cultural Heritage Series
February 8, 2020 — March 6, 2020The exhibition romanticizes shadows on saman (traditional mud daub) walls, blooming apricot trees, street seller calls and the burning touch of bread hot out of the tandoor. This romantic gaze also asks for recognition of the residents of Olmazor mahalla and invites reflection on the increasingly evasive commonness and ‘authenticity’ of Tashkent’s mahallas.The word Mahalla is used in many languages and countries meaning neighborhood or location originated in Arabic محلة mähallä, from the root meaning ‘to settle’. In ancient cultures hospitality involved welcoming the stranger at the host location and offering him food, shelter, and safety. This meaning of hospitality centers on the belief that strangers should be assisted and protected while traveling.
Aside from being an inhabited and experienced space, Olmazor mahalla is one of the most vivid contemporaneous representations of the cultural and spatial transformations actively happening in urban Uzbekistan. Tashkent dwellers across generations recall Olmazor through its landmarks: the Soviet Dom Kino, a park, an open air market, a laghman shop, a geology museum, a bus stop, a sacred site, a home.
Our Urban Memory and Cultural Heritage series is a visual, intellectual and collective invitation to slow down, rethink the context(s) we live in, and reinvigorate the possible continuities between our past and unfolding futures.