This Master of Fine Arts thesis showcase engages with the notion of mankurtism through illustration and interaction with educational elements. This research centers on decolonization as the primary methodology by using Turkic-Kyrgyz mythology and oral storytelling to make accessible materials that allow for education and self-reflection through interactivity. The presented book is an illustrated Turkic legend called The Legend of the Mankurt.
Chingiz Aitmatov popularized the Legend of the Mankurt in his novel The Day Lasts More Than A Hundred Years (1980). A mankurt, according to the legend, is a person who has forgotten their past, abandoned their national customs, traditions, values and lost their moral guidelines. Aitmatov rediscovered the legend, introduced it into artistic and scientific use, and made it and the term mankurt a household concept in many cultures and languages.
I use the medium of print since the goal of this thesis is to spread Indigenous Turkic-Kyrgyz knowledge and make quality resources accessible to the public for educational purposes.
The last page of the book contains a QR code that the reader can scan. The code then takes them to an Instagram filter that serves as a space for self-reflection. The filter is an artistic interpretation of a mankurt: a shell, a carcass, and completely empty inside.