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The art gallery HAPPY BIRD was opened on 4th June 2006. Several years before that, the film Winged Migration (Le peuple migrateur, 2001) was released, where the language of documentary cinema showcased the beauty, grandeur, and hardships of life for birds, those who are associated with the creative flight of the soul, with a yearning for change and the gift of being one team to endure the journey and reach the goal. So, at that initial stage, the main and most challenging task was to gather like-minded individuals to organise the centre and develop the common cause. The gallery's status implies not only creating a showroom-store but primarily organising exhibitions, creating clothing collections, fostering the professional growth of each team member, and, as a result, shaping their own style to avoid getting lost among a series of commercial shops.

The first art exhibition of the gallery, held at the Novosibirsk Regional Museum, showed that people had a great interest in the East. Many discovered a new culture and realised that Uzbekistan is home to talented and hardworking people who preserve valuable traditions not only in crafts but also in everyday life. This was constantly emphasised to exhibition guests, with illustrations of these stories through films about our region and photographs. After the first exhibition, invitations were received to organise similar events at the same museum and other venues. Our collections' fashion shows , where we sought to incorporate ethnic motifs with a focus on contemporary clothing styles, harmoniously complemented the decorative and applied art exhibitions.

Following our exhibitions, many people expressed a desire to see Uzbekistan firsthand. We gladly welcomed guests, delighted that they were able to change their stereotypical views and gain an objective understanding of Central Asia.

We also regularly participate in prestigious fashion festivals. To participate in a fashion show, we are required to present a collection of at least 40 costumes. Considering that our ensembles are complex and involve a lot of handwork, such as embroidery, woodblock printing, and quilting, it is evident that this task requires a significant amount of effort and resources to ensure a high-quality fashion show. For our two collections, we received the UNESCO Quality Certificate, which is a great honour for our team.

Uzbekistan is a textile region. Silk weaving is one of the most developed and ancient traditional crafts. In the Fergana Valley, intricate and unique natural silk and cotton fabrics are created using labour-intensive techniques. In the Western culture, they are known as ikat, while we refer to them as abr, which translates to "cloud-like" because the patterns, when applied to the threads, have a blurred contour resembling the ever-changing shape of a cloud. In addition to these traditional fabrics, we extensively use vintage fabrics that were produced during the Soviet era when talented textile artists worked in every enterprise, and there was a strict Technical Control Department (OTK) that ensured the quality of the products. Resourceful women stored these fabric remnants in trunks as the main gift fund for various celebrations, mainly engagements, weddings, and birthdays. These are high-quality natural materials, whose names the current generation has mostly forgotten, such as crepe de Chine, crepe georgette, chiffon, poplin, and more. We have gathered a vintage collection worthy of a good textile museum!

In addition to the collection pieces, the gallery always offers a wide range of unique items designed for everyday wear. The difference lies only in the adapted design. These items are also individually tailored, with a significant amount of handwork and exclusively made from natural fabrics. The gallery also features accessories, decorative and applied arts, and visual arts by Central Asian artists.

Since we create using vintage materials, the interior of the gallery should correspond to our direction. Antique mirrors, chests, armchairs, clocks—all this furniture and the additional ambiance of small antique items create a unity of style—a blend of old and new that makes the space cosy and memorable for everyone who spends time there sipping strong coffee brewed in a Turkish coffee pot, trying on our intricate costumes, and leaving with the impression of a homely atmosphere. This is the highest praise! We see visitors not just as potential clients but as guests—a mindset adopted from the very beginning.

Lena Ladik

Founder of the Happy Bird

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