Turkish artists form bridge between Anatolia&Istanbul / PHOTO

An artistic projects spanning Anatolia: "The Artistic Enlightenment of Anatolia", of which one of the exhibitions, "Erguvan" (Redbud), is now open to visitors at the Tophane-i Amire until July 14.

Turkish artists form bridge between Anatolia&Istanbul / PHOTO


World Bulletin / News Desk

What elements make up Anatolia? What are the parts that symbolize various regions of Anatolia and what is the best way to represent these symbols? The answer to the latter question is undoubtedly “art.”

The answer of the first question has been the focus of an artistic projects spanning Anatolia: “Sanatin Anadolu Aydınlanmasi” (The Artistic Enlightenment of Anatolia), of which one of the exhibitions, “Erguvan” (Redbud), is now open to visitors at the Tophane-i Amire until July 14.

Organized by art director Ali Akdamar and started in 2008, the project aims to establish a bridge between Anatolia and Istanbul, which is conceived as the center of art in Turkey.

“This is the artistic extension of the effort of claiming the values that we've lost,” said Akdamar in an interview with Cihan News Agency.



“In the last 50 years we've been losing our values, and the price of this in art is very serious because artists who do not claim their own culture produce works that do not belong to us.” However, this project does not convey traditionalist clichés to the audience but rather a merge of the culture and the contemporary.

“Just as if a Turkish artist cannot have the same feelings as an aborigine, he cannot make the same artwork as that aborigine. A Turkish artist should take inspiration from his own culture and interpret it in a contemporary way. This is the main aim behind the project. For this reason, we embraced all of Anatolia in our project.”


Akdamar said that there are 18 groups within the project. “Two of them are from Istanbul and the others are from cities in Anatolia,” says Akdamar. “We formed this project largely within universities because these are the institutions where artists are all together. On the other hand, the project includes interdisciplinary works. Every region found a theme related to the culture of the area that they belong to and worked on that theme.” In this respect, near the exhibition of “Erguvan,” the works of the Mersin group can also be seen at a adjacent exhibition, named “Anı ve Iz” (Memory and Trace).

New exhibitions on the way

The two project groups in Istanbul have worked on two individual themes. While the first is the redbud, as can be seen at the exhibition, one of the first things that come to mind about spring in Istanbul, the second theme is “zero point,” which will be explored in an exhibition at the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts in Sultanahmet in August.


“In September, we will gather up all the groups and make a bigger exhibition,” noted Akdamar. “In Anatolia some groups have put on their own exhibitions. Groups in Sivas, Konya and Diyarbakır did this. In October, we will organize a joint exhibition in Liège, Belgium.”

This long process of such a large group of artists on such a broad region, of course, requires a proficient organization which has been realized by an advisory council which includes prominent figures in the world of Turkish art like Refik Durbas, Devrim Erbil, Adem Genc, Ara Guler, Leyla Pinar, Ferit Ozsen, Tilbe Saran, Gurol Sozen, Erkal Yavi and Akdamar himself. “This council went to all the universities to give seminars for orientation, but it never intervened in the selection of the artists,” explained Akdamar.

A protest stance

Two of the most striking works of the exhibition undoubtedly belong to the young artist Evrensel Urum. Merging the classical Turkish art miniature with contemporary issues and a modern style, Urum has contributed two works to the exhibition: “Sunnet” (Circumcision) and “Dar'ul Erguvan” (Redbud's Place).


“This is a reproduction of a work by Levni [a well-known Turkish miniature artist] made up of six pieces from his book ‘Surname',” explains Urum. “Levni depicts the circumcision ceremony for the son of Sultan Selim III. I reproduced the work in a more Westernized way and turned to work in the color of redbud. Here you can see all the high officials of the court and soldiers -- I made them talk to each other on actual topics in a somehow droll way.”


The soldiers are seen talking to each other and asking questions about global and local issues from the European Union to working conditions, from ecological topics to ethnicity. “And I made this work in a light box because it makes a reference to the advertising world as well,” says Urum. “This work promotes the art of miniatures while contributing humor to the contemporary art between the East and the West.”

“I want to recall issues while I leave the answers of the questions to the audience,” says Urum. “You can see not the conflict, but the collision of the axes of the West and the East and the North and the South.”


The second work, “Dar'ul Erguvan,” depicts a woman swooning on a flag of the European Union, holding a redbud in her hands. “This is a very modified version of a woman figure by Levni,” explains Urum. “I turned the flowers on the woman's dress into anesthetics like mushrooms, drugs and marijuana. The woman has a sassy air, but her face has gone numb and poisoned. This is in fact the portrait of relations between the EU and Turkey. We've been anaesthetized by the EU for 50 years,” says Urum, concluding, “We don't need to search for any hope outside."

Güncelleme Tarihi: 09 Temmuz 2010, 09:14