By Saule Tasboulatova
It is interesting to observe how the look of our city changes every time the regional governor or the city mayor is changed. And good old proverb “tastes differ” could be applied here.
Though taste differ, but apparently not a single governor or mayor doesn’t seem to worry much about state money. Let’s take, for example, the world’s longest foot-bridge. This title is applied to the foot-bridge in Zhilgorodok that was built when the governor was Imangali Tasmagambetov. It was supposed that it will win popularity among loving couples and fans of foot walks. 8 million dollars worth romantic creation was called “10 years of independence of Kazakhstan”.
Few years later another governor Bergey Ryskaliev, built next to the foot-bridge a motor bridge (sure, much more needed one), thus, turning the foot-bridge into a useless scenery. But, to be fair, we need to acknowledge that it was Tasmagambetov, who built the long-awaited mosque, new squares, “Arbat” walking street, museums and so forth.
With arrival of Baktykozha Izmukhambetov the projects became less grandiose. The city was filled with small architectural forms: motionlessly standing mountain goats and saigas, the lying king of beasts with the lioness, mysterious ethno-sculptures scattered around the city. All these sculptures, probably, are aimed to brighten the life of the citizens. That’s what I felt until the moment when I found out their true cost.
On state purchases’ website the costs of some of the original modern art creations in our city has been published.
In 2013 the state company “The City Department of Housing, Communal Services, Passenger Transport and Highways of Atyrau” placed an order for 5 original sculptures that cost the local budget 42 million tenge. Those small architectural forms have a common description of “sculptors’ original works”. For example, “Dombra” made of stone cost the local budget 8 million tenge.
One more modern art creation has a touching name “A Drop” and is installed on the road intersection where the transport enters the city from Astrakhan and Uralsk highways. The Drop is supposed to symbolize, judging by its color, a drop of oil and the cost is 8,5 million tenge. By the way, during B. Ryskaliyev’s rule there was another monument there with resting camels.
It was removed. Probably, the drop expresses the status of the oil capital more figuratively. Although, the money for building the resting camels also came from the state budget.
Installation called “Caravan” with three packed camels “going” in the direction of the oil pumping unit, is not a mirage – the budget paid for that 10,2 million tenge. Also add to the cost 20 million tenge spent for the new “flower’ clock and, sure, one will lose the sense of beauty.
The monument called “Lovers” installed at the roundabout near the old marriage registration building, is the creation of a young, but, probably, trendy sculptor Gulfiya Meldesh. The creation cost the local budget 7,5 million tenge. The sculpture is not made of marble, it is made of baked clay and why is it so expensive? We are perplexed.
Another installation called “Melody of the steppe” cost the budget 7,5 million tenge.
Well, any city improvement requires purchasing of street benches - wooden, metal. The city spent 8,9 million tenge last year for such benches and acquired 50 items. .
Probably, now, knowing the prices of knickknacks in our ‘common house’, we will start looking at them with different eyes, as if they are museum treasures.
Photos by Kanat Eleuov