Fine Arts Education at Aga Khan Lycée in Tajikistan
At Aga Khan Lycée (AKL) in Khorog, Tajikistan, opportunities for fine arts education provide students with much more than beautiful pictures to hang on the fridge.
Creativity, motor skills, confidence, improved academic performance, and visual learning are just a few of the important traits that students can develop through the school’s fine arts club.
The after-school club encourages students of all ages to get creative with brushes and paints. Many of the club’s 20-25 students developed an interest in the fine arts during AKL’s mandatory drawing classes through grades 0 to 7, while others drop in whenever the creative mood strikes them.
The fine arts club is organized by AKL arts teacher Zulfiya Noyobshoeva, who said the club is providing students with the tools they will need to succeed.
“After practicing [their craft] hard, students learn that hard work and perseverance pay off,” explained Zulfiya, who has taught at AKL for over 20 years. “This mindset will certainly matter as they grow – especially during their careers, where they will likely be asked to continually develop new skills and work through difficult projects.
Several AKL graduates have succeeded in pursuing arts careers in Tajikistan”, said Zulfiya. “One graduate runs a small architectural design company, ‘Cult Design’, in Dushanbe, while the other is a book illustrator.”
Each year, AKL staff organize an annual fine arts exhibition to showcase the students’ best pieces. These paintings are often presented as gifts to guests visiting the school.
In August 2019, the fine arts students were given a chance to present their artwork during a visit from Prince Aly Muhammad, the youngest son of His Highness the Aga Khan. One of these students was Grade 9 student Muzaffarova Gulazor, who has attended the fine arts club since she was in Grade 1. She said creating her paintings allows her to be ‘relaxed and happy’.
“[The club] improved my attention to the small details and [lets me explore] various techniques of painting, like [using] glass and stone fragments,” said Muzaffarova, whose artwork has been exhibited elsewhere in Khorog. “The [fine arts club has] impacted positively on my creative thinking…I can observe a great change in my overall outlook and personal characteristics.”