Kyrgyzstan censors "provocative" women's rights art event over nudity

BISHKEK (Reuters) - An art exhibition in Kyrgyzstan that featured a woman undressing in front of an audience has been censored by the government, and the head of the gallery has resigned after receiving death threats.

The government removed several exhibits deemed provocative from the exhibition devoted to women’s rights, which included a performance in which Danish artist Julie Savery disrobed. It also featured a female torso-shaped punching-bag wearing lingerie.

The former Soviet republic’s Ministry of Culture, Information and Tourism said it “objects to a fashion show by nude women in a temple of art and does not support such provocative gestures by contemporary artists”.

Mira Djangaracheva said she resigned as director of the national arts museum on Monday after receiving death threats from supporters of right-wing nationalist movements who saw the exhibition as offensive to traditional Kyrgyz values.

They threatened “to tear me apart, to rape me”, said Djangaracheva, a former deputy prime minister of the predominantly Muslim Central Asian nation, adding that she had asked police to investigate the threats.

“This is a bad sign ... Radicals want to run the museum, the ministry, the state policy on culture.”

Reporting by Olga Dzyubenko; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Giles Elgood