Former President Roza Otunbayeva: «Toys are not just luxuries, they are an important part of child development»

March 1, 2014, 06:00

Former President Roza Otunbayeva explains her foundation organized the “Dolls of the Past” exhibition.


“We as adults live in a difficult world, and sometimes we don’t pay enough attention to our children. However they need us to provide them with a good environment and positive attention. Kyrgyzstan is a very young country with over 800,000 children under the age of eight. These children need a positive outlook beyond the rigid cultural norms and poverty that grip us all by the throat,” Ms. Otunbayeva stated.


According to her, this was the motivation for organizing the “Dolls of the Past” exhibition – to show children (and adults) something beautiful and good.


She continued, “People in many parts of the world collect toys. Unfortunately this isn’t much of a tradition here. This exhibition presents memorable examples of high-end collectible dolls. Among the collectors who have graciously brought part or all of their collections are designers like Tatiana Vorotnikova and Lyudmila Martynenko. Erke Djumagulova’s brand of Kyrgyz felt dolls is spreading around the world. Her work is especially meaningful to me 20 years ago she gave me one of her dolls, one that she said was made by her grandmother. To see Erke again has been quite touching. This kind of deep association between toys and our memory is why they’re so important. Toys are not just luxuries, they are and important part of child development, allowing children to practice social roles, mother and fatherhood and many other things. A child remembers a toy throughout his life, as a kind of talisman of human memory.”


The former president said that on 15% of children go to preschool in Kyrgyzstan, while the vast majority stays at home. “The do not get enough toys. Yes, we have a tradition of buying a few toys, but it’s nothing like Europeans’ or Russians’. It’s a rather new trend. Your parents did not have any at all, but they are not all that common yet.”


“It’s a natural gift for children and parents to be able to come to the Museum of Fine Arts to see these dolls. They tell a story about the materials and people that made them. It takes true artistry to create these dolls as if they were alive. We would like the museum to become a place that generally attracts people to knowledge and discovery. When people visit museums they become kinder and more open minded,” she said.


Ms. Otunbayeva added that she hopes that with some luck the exhibit will travel to all oblasts and regional centers of Kyrgyzstan. She also hopes to conduct classes and workshops for teachers on how to teach children origami, sand art, etc.



Photo Report – “Dolls of the Past’ Bishkek