Art World Solidarizes with protests in Turkey

on Friday, 07 June 2013. Posted in June

Related Article: Turkish Pavilion in Venice - Ali Kazma


During the protests that have been taking place in Istanbul since 31 May 2013 many of Turkey’s prominent art venues have cancelled events, openings and postponed exhibitions in support of the demonstrations. A lot of art institutions supported the demonstrations and many artists have declared their solidarity with the protesters.

The heart of Istanbul’s art scene, the district Beyoğlu, was the centre of the protests against the demolition of the area’s last remaining park, demanding a more democratic approach to governance Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Numerous artists have been demonstrating on the streets for these aims and culture and arts institutions have opened their doors to injured demonstrators. Most of the area’s cultural venues are closed, with their employees either working from home or on the streets themselves.

A group of cinema and theater artists including Halit Ergenç, Ozan Güven, Ülkü Duru, Onur Saylak, Tuba Büyüküstün, Dolunay Soysert, Can Bonomo, Rıza Kocaoğlu, Özgür Çevik and İştar Gökseven said in a statement that they were supporting the people in the park by joining them because they wanted an end to the violence they said police were exerting in Taksim and other cities across the country. The artists also expressed concern about projects initiated by Turkish authorities without any debate, especially those ones concerning the culture and arts. However, they put their primary emphasis on the fact that the protests are not involved in any specific ideology or political party, saying that they themselves were also representing the conscience of everyone in the country.

On 1st June, curators and artists attending the opening day of this year’s Venice Biennale, many of them Turkish, organized a solidarity protest at the city’s Piazza San Marco. Some of the participants in the Venice protest included artist Ali Kazma, the artist representing Turkey it the country’s pavilion, curator Emre Baykal, SALT curator Duygu Demir, Istanbul Biennial curator Fulya Erdemci, Witte de With director Defne Ayas, and others. Strikingly, the theme of Kazma’s project for the Turkish pavilion is „Resistance.“

Occupy Gezi Protests at Piazza San Marco, Venice
View of the Gezi Protests at Piazza San Marco, Venice, 2013. Photo: Defne Ayas

Occupy Gezi Protests at Piazza San Marco, Venice
View of the Gezi Protests at Piazza San Marco, Venice, 2013. Photo: Defne Ayas

Occupy Gezi Protests at Piazza San Marco, Venice
View of the Occupy Gezi Protests at Piazza San Marco, Venice, 2013. Photo: Defne Ayas

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