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Thorn Shelter

14/10/2021 - 30/12/2021

Artists: Želimir Žilnik, bi’bak, DiasporaTürk, Özlem Sarıyıldız, Semra Ertan and Cana Bilir-Meier

Prepared by: Erden Kosova, Marina Papazyan, Mert Sarısu

2021 marks the 60th anniversary of the bilateral Recruitment Agreement between Germany and Turkey, with numerous events being organised around the topic. In retrospect, there are still hesitations on how the historical decision taken in 1961 by the two countries, which has irreversibly affected the lives of millions of people, ought to be remembered. It is rather difficult to use the phrase “celebration” in this context, considering the hardship, pain and tension experienced, as well as the ways people have been reduced to their labour power, instrumentalised and regarded as statistical material by governments. Making this social reality visible in the field of representation remains difficult even today, as there are third, and even fourth generation people from Turkey living in Germany, among which serious sociological differences, a great wealth of experience, cultural production and identity construction has emerged.

One can observe the right-wing politics in Germany nearing increasingly closer to denialism, ostracisation and aggression, characterising cultural diversity as contamination and/or degeneration. On the other hand, it is of notice that Turkey attempts to exploit the different subjectivities emanating in Germany by portraying them as a monolithic totality in their domestic and international political maneuvers. Despite the dynamism of interactions in personal relationships, there is also a deep ignorance in Turkey regarding the current problems, political debates and cultural production of people from Turkey living in Germany.

Thorn Shelter brings together artworks, research and poems regarding the lives of different generations of people who left Turkey and migrated to Germany, in order to work and live. The exhibition, which includes the participation of Želimir Žilnik, bi’bak, DiasporaTürk, Özlem Sarıyıldız, Semra Ertan and Cana Bilir-Meier, functions as a preparatory step for the 6th issue of the e-journal Red Thread, which will be published in the coming months. The exhibition taking place in the former Tobacco Warehouse near the liaison office in Tophane, where the workers who were sent to Germany were examined, is also of historical importance. We hope that the exhibition will offer a practice of remembrance on the history of this framework, which will undoubtedly continue to be discussed for many years to come.

Image: Photos from the archive of bi’bak, (in front) untitled (1971, Berlin)


October 26, 2021
Göç edenlerin 60 yıllık hikâyesi





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