Unlikely Art: Nukus, UzbekistanThe city of Nukus is located in the Karakalpak desert of western Uzbekistan and is the gateway to the famous shrinking Aral Sea and the graveyard of ships stranded in the sand. Once controlled by the Soviet Empire, Uzbekistan has a history of repression and is currently ruled by a strict dictatorship government. Freedom of expression is not a given right for it's people, and voices against the government are duly hushed.
When I stumbled upon these hand-prints on a school in Nukus, it symbolized to me the possibility for future generations of Uzbek citizens to break free one day, emerging from the darkness of dictatorship and reaching up into the clear blue sky of freedom.
These are my thoughts and dreams for a beautiful nation with a lot of potential. However, the Uzbeks that I showed this photograph to just thought the kids were naughty and made the school filthy, and they should be reprimanded for the mess. Oh well, a mess to some is unlikely art to others.
Nukus is easily reached by a 1.5hour flight from the capital city of Tashkent. From there, you can arrange tours to see the ship graveyard in the Aral Sea. Then I would recommend going south by bus to Khiva for a day before continuing on to Bukhara, Samarkand and back to Tashkent to complete your trip.