100 New Faces of Kazakhstan: Bakhargul Tolegen

The occupation of younger days has predetermined the future job of the winner of the ‘100 New Faces of Kazakhstan’ project. Bakhargul Tolegen is a famous collector and ethnographer, who founded one of the first traditional souvenir manufacturing companies in Kazakhstan. Her original products are popular abroad. Her career began with a collection of antiques that currently contains more than 1,000 unique households, applied art and jewelry items of the Kazakh and Central Asian people. The collection also includes copies of monuments and memorials, such as Baiterek, Golden Man and Korkyt Ata.

BAKHARGUL TOLEGEN, WINNER, ‘100 NEW FACES OF KAZAKHSTAN’ PROJECT:

- Antiques were handed down from generation to generation in our family. The first antique items in my collection included a grain hulling mortar, millstone, spindle, grandmother's thimble, and grandfather’s horse saddles.

Bakhargul Tolegen decided to turn her hobby into a business 18 years ago. She prefers creating traditional patterns in her souvenirs and jewelry to preserve a link between the past, present, and future. The craftswoman’s goal is to promote the Kazakh culture and preserve historical items.

MARAT TOKASHBAYEV, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, ‘PRESIDENT AND PEOPLE’ NEWSPAPER:

- Last year, Bakhargul was included in the ‘100 New Faces of Kazakhstan’ list. I think she deserves this title. She works with the best artists and designers.

Foreign tourists enjoy purchasing unique traditional souvenirs as memorable gifts. The souvenirs were presented at the Asian Games in 2011 and Astana EXPO in 2017. The collector is planning to promote her products abroad.