Saodat Ismailova: Her Right

Study Room Project

9.05 – 14.07.2023
venue:, Beskydská 12, 81105 Bratislava
open: Tuesday – Friday 2:30 – 6:30 p.m

From May 9 to July 14, 2023 the study room will screen the film Her Right (2020, 14 mins) by Saodat Ismailova. In addition, her feature film 40 Days of Silence (2014, 88 mins) will be screened on May 9 and June 6, 2023. An online discussion between Saodat Ismailova and Alessandra Pomarico will take place on May 11, 2023 at 6 p.m.


Her Right, installed in tranzit sk’s study room, addresses the role of women in 20th century Uzbek society marked by the clash between modernization and tradition, and the transmission of history and cultural memory. The film is based on Saodat Ismailova’s long-term research on the fading memory of ”chachvan”, the horsehair veil covering Uzbek women’s faces which dates back to pre-Soviet times, ”hujum”, the unveiling campaign started by the Soviet government in 1927, and the heritage of Uzbek (silent) movies, accessible today mostly in local film archives.

”Hujum”, which meant an attack on old ways, aimed at drastically changing the condition of women in Uzbek society by abolishing seclusion and involving them in public education and the workforce. Driven to a comprehensive and rapid transformation, Soviet authorities used propaganda as well as coercion and physical force which in turn elicited the violent opposition of traditional sectors of society. Caught between conflicting ideologies, both veiled and unveiled women feared harassment – the veiled by the new regime, the unveiled by traditionalists.

Focusing on the emotionality, the inner tension of women, and their eyes and faces, black-and-white images cut from original, male-directed Uzbek movies, are assembled into a sensitive account of women’s subjectivity and an affirmation of the female gaze.

40 Days of Silence is an immersive feature film which unites four generations of women around the ritual of the vow of silence, an ancestral Central Asian meditative practice created to cope with traumatic experience.

The online discussion Making the Invisible Visible between Saodat Ismailova and Alessandra Pomarico will touch on questions related to both films, while also addressing the situation of women in Central Asia viewed from the perspective of social norms, tradition, and historical/political changes.

Saodat Ismailova was born in 1981 in Uzbekistan. She lives and works in Tashkent and Paris, and belongs to the generation of artists from Central Asia who came of age in the post-Soviet era. Her work circles around practices of mourning and ancestrality by foregrounding matriarchal narratives and stories about the loss of worlds. Her films and video installations have been presented at the Biennale of Venice, the Berlinale International Film Festival, the Rotterdam International Film Festival, CPH DOX, Center Pompidou, Paris, Festivaldesart, Brussels, Parasite, Hong Kong etc. In 2022 she Ismailova participated at the Venice Biennale and documenta 15, Kassel. Her recent solo exhibitions include Double horizon at Le Fresnoy – Studio national des arts contemporains, Tourcoing and 18,000 Worlds at the Eye Film Museum, Amsterdam (2023). Ismailova’s works can be found in the collections of the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam and the Centre Pompidou, Paris. In 2021 she established the Davra research group in Tashkent dedicated to studying, documenting, and disseminating Central Asian culture and knowledge.


ERSTE Foundation is the main partner of tranzit.

Media partners:, Flash Art CZ & SK, Kapitál,

Printscreen from movie Her Right

Making the Invisible Visible
Saodat Ismailova: 40 Days of Silence