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Research and Art 

Alexandra Tsay is a curator and researcher interested in global art histories with a focus on Central Asian contemporary art. Currently, she is a PhD student in the Interuniversity doctoral program in art history at Concordia University in Montreal. 

Selected publications

Abylkhozhin Zhulduzbek, Akulov Mikhail, Tsay Alexandra. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2021 (co-edited volume).

in The Routledge Handbook on contemporary Central Asia ed. by Rico Isaacs, Erica Marat, London: Routledge, 2021. 

in The Nazarbayev Generation. Youth in Kazakhstan ed. by Marlene Laruelle. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2019.

Живая память. Сталинизм в Казахстане: Прошлое, Память, Преодоление

Abylkhozhin Zhulduzbek, Akulov Mikhail, Tsay Alexandra. Almaty: Daik Press, 2019 (co-edited volume).

Museums: In Search for New Models

Tsay Alexandra, Tukmadiyeva Malika. Soros-Kazakhstan Public Policy Research Initiative, 2018

Curated exhibitions and selected projects

Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile, Spring 2023, Hong Kong, guest co-curator

US Consulate General in Almaty's project, 2018-2020, project manager and culture curator

The New School for Social Research, New York, Spring 2018, visiting fellow

Seoul, June-December 2017, visiting curatorial fellow

Spring 2017, visiting fellow

platform for research and art, Almaty, 2016-2019, founder

Alexandra Tsay Bio

I am a curator and researcher interested in contemporary art in Central Asia and its global resemblances. I am inspired by the entanglement between theory and contemporary art, by the way critical issues can be unfolded and discussed through theoretical endeavors and artistic and curatorial practices. My research interests include the political and social role of contemporary art and the aesthetic autonomy of cultural production in Central Asia. My inquiry is driven by the epistemic turn and is interested in global connections. 


I am a co-editor of Stalinism in Kazakhstan: History, Memory, and Representation (Lexington Books, 2021) my chapters appeared in The Nazarbayev Generation: Youth in Kazakhstan edited by Marlene Laruelle, and The Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Central Asia edited by Rico Isaacs and Erica Marat.


As a curator and researcher, I have been oscillating between concepts of art, home, and research. Central Asia is my home, it is the home of my research interests and curatorial practice. It is a place, but it is also a conceptual category, a starting point of thinking and thinking about belonging and homecoming, about roots and movement. My roots are in Central Asia, but Central Asia gives you roots that are in flow. They belong to a place and they are in moving across places and spaces. Movement is a form of belonging, movement is a form of knowledge production. 


Art is my home. An object, an affect, a concept, a process, an interaction between and an interaction with. The physical space of formal visual registrars dissects planes of meanings, sustaining the tension between affect and thought. Thinking and feeling are the privilege that art grants us, their tension, their friction, their affinity. It is a home that carries you and it is the home that you carry with you. 


Research is my home. A question, a curiosity, a wonder, a desire to understand, to share, to discuss. What does unexamined life worth? What are unexamined localities, histories, and practices worth? How does loss exist and persist? Central Asia is a focus of my research, it sets many questions, but it can provide unexpected answers. With power struggles, legacies of totalitarian structures, and proximity to empires, it is a home that does not provide comfort, but it can nurture a habit of critical inquiring. It is a warm home, of warm connections, resilient communities, long-standing friendships, and endless tea-gatherings. 


As much as I am interested in what home is I am fond of travelling. I have lived in five countries and traveled across forty. 


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