Lidiya Blinova is an innovative artist in the history of Central Asian contemporary art. She was born and spent her life in Almaty, Kazakhstan, where she, together with her husband and close collaborator artist Rustam Khalfin, she organized underground apartment exhibitions showcasing non-conformist art. As a foundational and early creator of installation art, Blinova was among the first artists in the region to stage happenings and pop-up exhibitions, and although few of her artworks survive today, her ideas significantly influenced a generation of artists who emerged in Central Asia from the late 1990s to the early 2000s. One of her most famous works, Hand Ornament, consists of ten black and white photographs, each depicting the artist’s hand in a distinct gesture. Reminiscent of Central Asian ornaments or sign language handshapes, these gestures playfully invite viewers to decode a cryptic message.

Work in the exhibitionHand Ornament (1995), series of photographs. Courtesy of Khalfin Foundation, Almaty