10 January – 9 February 2020
Opening: Thursday, 9 January, 18:30
Artists: Hüsamettin Bahçe, Serdar Bayram, Fatma Çelik, Lezgin Kâni, Aylin Kızıl, Serpil Polat
Curators: Refik Akyüz, Serdar Darendeliler
On Solitude and Water which incorporates works by Hüsamettin Bahçe, Fatma Çelik and Serpil Polat and a joint-project by Aylin Kızıl, Lezgin Kâni and Serdar Bayram opens on January 9th at Depo. The exhibition which is realized with support from Spaces of Culture and curated by Refik Akyüz and Serdar Darendeliler, comprises of four tales on humanity, life and water, an element which forms the essence of what is human and at times serves as companion.
Two of the stories in the exhibit held by members of the NarPhotos collective living in Diyarbakır and its environs, are based on migration, on those who leave/stay, and lives that are set up/left behind – in a sense (rendered) solitary; while the other two elaborate on water, a force shaping the lives of both human beings and nature itself. Migration is a concept that is almost as old as the history of humanity. Falling under its scope are sub-concepts such as displacement, resettlement, belonging, longing, separation, loneliness and adaptation. Water, on the other hand, is a phenomenon that constitutes the very essence of humankind, shaping human life by determining its geography – and also one that humankind is fast consuming with its unbridled greed, seeking to dominate at the detriment of everything depending on it. The water basins treated in the works featured here belong to the Euphrates and Tigris’ portion in Turkey, a region among the earliest where agriculture was practiced and civilization made colossal strides.
Fatma Çelik, in her The People of Sasun series, goes to the village of Apaga, right across the border, as the first step in her journey in search of Armenians who were forced to leave Turkey. After collecting the stories of families there, she arrives at their fatherland of Mutkî back in Turkey.
In their joint-project titled R’ya T’eze and Mame Miraz, setting out with a project idea regarding the migrant Ezidi region of Alagyaz in Armenia, once in Yerevan Aylin Kızıl, Lezgin Kâni and Serdar Bayram shifted course towards the 88-year-old R’ya T’eze newspaper, which had become the voice of the Ezidi community living there, and the story of Uncle Mîraz, who was trying single-handedly to keep the paper going.
Serpil Polat, in her series The Creek that Lost its Spirit, conveys the accounts of the lands and villages submerged under water by reservoirs built on the Peri (‘Fairy’) Creek, a tributary of the Euphrates, in her homeland Dersim, as well as of people resisting and insisting on staying in their villages.
Hüsamettin Bahçe, in his series The Tale of Two Rivers, covers the life in the basins of the Euphrates and the Tigris. Looking at the portions of these two rivers – which consist of thousands of kilometres with their tributaries – that fall within Turkey’s boundaries and their surrounding landscapes altered by the construction of dams in the last fifty years, ‘The Tale of Two Rivers’ focuses on both the ancient past and the everyday lives of people currently affected by the changing terrain.
On Solitude and Water was initially put on display in the Çetin Emeç Art Gallery (İzmir, December 4-11, 2018), Amed City Theatre (Diyarbakır, December 7-31, 2018) and bomontiada ALT (Istanbul, December 17-18, 2018), as a part of the year-end events that hosted the selected projects realized in the first year of Spaces of Culture. This newer version to take place in Depo from January 9th to February 9th, 2020, includes expanded presentations of artworks that were in the first round, two talks regarding Turkey’s migration and water politics – which form the backdrop of works shown in the exhibit, and a photography workshop run by Serra Akcan and Kerem Uzel from the NarPhotos collective.
11 January Saturday 16:00-17:30
Talk: Migration, Displacement and Imagination
Moderator: Prof. Deniz Yükseker (Head of Department of Political Science and International Relations at Istanbul Aydın University)
Participants: Fatma Çelik (photographer), Serdar Bayram (documentarian)
25 January Saturday 16:00-17:00
Catalogue launch and exhibition tour
8 February Saturday 16:00-17:30
Talk: People who lost their water, water that lost its people
Moderator: Dr. Akgün İlhan (Mercator-Istanbul Policy Center fellow and broadcaster on Açık Radyo)
11 January, 18 January, 1 February, 8 February Saturday 11:00-15:00
Workshop: Setting up a narrative with photographs
Tutors: Serra Akcan, Kerem Uzel
(Applications end on January 6th. For detailed info: http://bit.ly/FotograflarlaAnlatiKurmak)
[The exhibition On Solitude and Water and works in the exhibition are realized with support from Spaces of Culture]