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Two exhibitions

Salt Galata, Istanbul

The participants of the project "Apricots from Damascus" use the fanzine format to draw on personal experiences, or on the relics of waves of immigration that took place in the recent history. The archive exposed the compelling life of painter Sabiha Rustu Bozcali (1904-1998) and suggested her importance as a key figure in the cultural history of Turkey.

comunicato stampa

Apricots from Damascus
An apexart Franchise Exhibition organized by Atif Akin and Dilek Winchester

Since the escalation of the war in Syria, millions of people have left their homes, with a majority fleeing to Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. Public spaces in cities like Istanbul, transformed by this climate of movement and exile, encompass different possibilities for encounters and interactions. The zine and exhibition project, Apricots from Damascus, constructed by Dilek Winchester and Atıf Akın, pays homage to Andre Breton's statement "One publishes to find comrades!" and aims to create a multilingual environment for production and exchange. The participants of the project use the fanzine format to draw on personal experiences, or on the relics of waves of immigration that took place in the recent history of the Republic of Turkey, with a specific focus on Istanbul.

Apricots from Damascus builds upon an earlier zine project Apricot City A4, which was initiated in Istanbul by artist Winchester in 2010, and distributed by the local city PVC pushcart tenders. An unregulated, but tolerated business, these carts are part of Istanbul's urban, informal economy, and are often operated by migrants from Eastern Anatolia, particularly Malatya, a region famous for its apricots.

In 2015 Winchester teamed up with one of the original contributors Akın to collaborate on a new zine and an exhibition that features works and references by all the commissioned editors. The title of their collaborative project, Apricots from Damascus, is translated from the Turkish "Şam'da Kayısı" that forms part of an idiomatic expression meaning "It doesn't get any better than this." The zines, which will also be distributed in public spaces in Istanbul, are printed in Arabic, English and Turkish. Apricots from Damascus positions a form of publication as an artistic practice, in an effort to create a more accessible template for a cultural commons.

The exhibition takes place in the research and social spaces of SALT Galata. It gathers the artists, writers and intellectuals who have been approached to each edit an issue of the zine, along with accompanying artworks or references. The hope is that by integrating the exhibition into the active areas of the building, exiled or settled artists in Istanbul can find spaces to commune together.

Featuring work by: Atıf Akın, Nadia Al Issa, Marwa Arsanios, Khaled Barakeh, Sezgin Boynik, Hera Büyüktaşçıyan, Ergin Çavuşoğlu, Angela Harutyunyan, Minna Henriksson, Armine Hovhannisyan, Marianna Hovhannisyan, Güven İncirlioğlu (The Pope), Banu Karaca, Pınar Öğrenci, Zeynep Öz, Aras Özgün, Dilek Winchester and Fehras Publishing Practices.

apexart's exhibitions and public programs are supported in part by the Affirmation Arts Fund, Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Greenwich Collection Ltd., Lambent Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, and with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York State Council on the Arts.

A panel discussion with the organizers and editors of Apricots from Damascus will take place at SALT Galata on January 6, 2016.

Apricots from Damascus is an apexart franchise exhibition in collaboration with SALT.


Painter Sabiha Rustu Bozcali

SALT Galata, Floor -1

In 2014, a collection of Sabiha Rüştü Bozcalı's (1904-1998) works and documents was introduced and later donated to SALT Research. The contents of this archive exposed the compelling life of painter Bozcalı and suggested her importance as a key figure in the cultural history of Turkey. Previously little known, the complex artistic career of Bozcalı, who grew up as the Ottoman Empire came to a close and the Republic of Turkey was born, will be explored for the first time through an exhibition of drawings, paintings, photographs, letters, postcards and the various publications she contributed to.

Bozcalı was born into a privileged diplomatic family; her father was an Admiral and her two grandfathers served as the Minister of the Interior and Minister of the Navy. She began painting at the age of five with her mother's encouragement and was first tutored by Ali Sami Boyar, a painter and museum director. At the tender age of 15 Bozcalı went to study abroad, in Berlin, Munich, Paris and Rome, working in the studios of prominent painters such as Lovis Corinth, Moritz Heymann, Karl Caspar, Paul Signac and Giorgio de Chirico. She also attended the studio of Namık İsmail at the State Academy of Fine Arts in Istanbul between 1928-1929. Described by the Neo-Impressionist artist Paul Signac as someone who was "talented, having sensibility that painting requires, and entirely dedicated [...] to difficult working conditions of this profession," Bozcalı painted landscapes and still lifes, yet her portraits aroused the most serious interest.

Between 1938-1943, during the early years of the Republic, Bozcalı took part in the government program "Yurt Gezileri" [Trips to Homeland], organized by Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi [People's Republican Party] and Halkevleri [People's Centers]. The aim of this program was to document the process of modernization and the creation and implementation of a new cultural identity across Turkey. In this scheme Bozcalı was officially sent to Zonguldak in 1939 to paint aspects of industrial development. She contributed to the transformation of visual language of the period in advertising and publishing with her drawings for important institutions such as Yapı Kredi Bank and the İnhisarlar İdaresi [Directorate of Monopolies] that changed its name to TEKEL in 1946. After 1953, Bozcalı started to work as a newspaper illustrator for various dailies including Milliyet, Yeni Sabah, Hergün, Havadis, Cumhuriyet and Tercüman. Alongside her role as one of the principle illustrators of historian Reşad Ekrem Koçu's İstanbul Ansiklopedisi [Istanbul Encyclopedia], her drawings also appeared in books by writers such as Nezihe Araz, Cahit Uçuk and Refii Cevad Ulunay.

Highlighting the diversity of Bozcalı's professional production through the social changes that occurred during her time life, the exhibition includes documents, photographs and drawings from the artist's archive at SALT Research as well as documents from the Sabiha Bozcalı section of Taha Toros Archive kept by Istanbul Şehir University, and watercolor and oil paintings from the family collection.

This exhibition is realized with the support of Global Investment Holdings, Istanbul.

SALT Galata
Bankalar Caddesi 11 34420 Karaköy/Istanbul

Two exhibitions
dal 21/12/2015 al 27/2/2016

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