- This event has passed.
Erhan Arık – Horovel
30/04/2011 @ 11:00 - 05/06/2011 @ 17:00
30 April – 5 June 2011
I had a dream. I’m in the house in Ardahan where I was born, a house ‘inherited’ from Armenians. And I’m in the part of the house we use as a barn. The voice in my dream is challenging me about this squandered wing of the house: “Why is this room so dirty? Why is this stone hearth where we once cooked our bread now used as part of the barn?” And I woke with a start, haunted by this and many more questions I don’t remember now. The sun wasn’t up yet when I set off towards that room in the barn. I opened the door, walked straight to the hearth, touched the stone and fell silent.
Until now, we Turks have learnt everything we know about Anatolia from ‘official sources’, from an ‘official’ version of history churned out by these same sources, as categorical in tone as it is consciously nationalistic. For this official version tells only of wars and ‘traitors’ who occupied and settled in Anatolia subsequently. It is couched in terms so egocentric that the ‘other’ is disregarded altogether, alienated and ostracized; terms that engender an empire of fear where enemies are constantly created. As a result, we have successfully destroyed all memory of the Anatolia that was once known as ‘the land of a thousand gods’. And in our dreams, even as children, we lie in wait for the enemy who will annihilate us one day. We Turks have therefore sought to define the Armenians on the basis of this self-induced paranoia.
As for Armenian children, their dreams are filled with stories of brutal wars that they have heard from their grandfathers every night before going to bed. And today, they attempt to describe their yearning for Anatolia in fractured sentences left over from these fears.
The Armenian railway clerk who used to work at the now defunct Kars border station and has been expecting his friend from Turkey for years… The Armenian father who named his child after a primary school teacher in Turkey he particularly liked… Stories recounted by Turkish farmers who once ploughed their fields on the border in horovel* repartee with villagers on the Armenian side… These all bring the people on both sides of the border that much closer.
The aim of this project is to tour the villages on either side of the border and listen to border stories, meaning a journey that will extend from Kars in the north to Iğdır, the southernmost tip. The exhibition is composed of these photographs and the videos of the stories that were recorded. To revive the memory we are letting slip by the day…
* In Anatolia, the horovel is the song that helps the peasants to get prepared for their work, while gathering and mobilizing the necessary internal and external strength needed to complete the work. Horovel is still sung on both sides of the border.
City Research Center
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Bir Ermeni kadının selamını getirdim
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