Kazakh Gay Club Ad Sparks Controversy


A poster advertising a gay club in Kazakhstan has caused widespread controversy for its depiction of two cultural heroes in a same-sex embrace.


The controversial poster bears the image of two of the region’s most prominent cultural figures, Russian poet Alexander Pushkin and Kazakh composer Kurmangazy Sagyrbayuly, kissing.

The choice of icons in the image – which takes off the famous image of East German leader Erich Honecker and the Soviet Union’s Leonid Brezhnev kissing (above) – refers to the fact that the gay club, Studio 69, is located on the intersection of Pushkin and Kurmangazy street, reports The Guardian.

Responses to the work have been mostly negative. Police told media outlets that they had registered a complaint about the poster while a relative of Kurmangazy has threatened to sue for ‘moral damages’.

The designers of the poster – which won an award for advertising firm Havas Worldwide Kazakhstan at a competition earlier this month – have issued an apology on social media sites and promised that the image will not be displayed in public, reports Eurasianet.org.

Pushkin & Sagyrbayuly kiss
Russian poet Alexander Pushkin and Kazakh composer Kurmangazy Sagyrbayuly kissing

“Acknowledging the invaluable cultural contribution of the great Russian poet and the great Kazakh composer, we officially announce that this poster will not be printed, posted or published in paid media,” said a post on the firm’s Facebook account.

However, one of the artists who worked on the poster Valerie Volodin, defended the work, saying “One can be proud of this work. First of all because it works: people understand and remember the address.

“Secondly, it is a brave work, and in the case of the gay movement, traditionally living on the edge, it is more than accurate and justified,” she wrote on Facebook.

© 2014 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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