Painting Bridges Between Cultures

With the directions of the artists, the children freely painted canvases and t-shirts with special techniques developed by Yucel Donmez. In the outdoor performance at Oslo International School, Stabekk Skole and Krokstad Skole in Nedre Eiker, both students and artists painted a canvas of 25-30 meters in length, which is the Norway's largest painting made by children in this age group. In addition, the students designed their own t-shirts with this painting technique. The artists have previously done this project in Chicago and New York, with great success and a lot of media attention.

An Extra Ordinary Art Exhibition

The visiting artists also attended to the opening reception of the exhibition at Galleri Stabekk Kino in Bærum, where their art pieces are to be presented in cooperation with the Turkish Embassy. The exhibition is sponsored by Turkish Airlines and Turkey`s largest brewery Efes.

The exhibition came about through contact with the Norwegian – Turkish artist Sibel Kurt with the participation of 12 of Turkey's foremost contemporary visual artists and sculptors.

From Left to Right: The Turkish Ambassador in Norway Hayati Guven, Sibel Kurt, The US Ambassor to Norway Barry B. White, and Yucel Donmez at the opening of the exhibition. Donmez, the developer of this special painting technique, has been recognised by American art critics (Alan Artner, Chicago Tribune, 1989) as an artist who has shed new light upon the art of painting with his self-developed painting techniques.

‘I do not just paint pictures for the sake of painting. I think a painter almost cannot get around taking into account all the things happening around him or her’, Mürüvet Kayabay Safak runs her hand over a picture with the title ‘the one who wasn’t free’ and explains: ‘I feel the problems of the society personally; I almost feel them inside me.’

Mürüvet Kayabay Safak is taking part at an international exhibition of twelve Turkish artists displaying their works at Galleri Stabekk Kino for the next two weeks. A greater variety of themes, styles and statements is hard to find in an Oslo gallery. The creations range from abstract art, to wooden statures and surrealism resembling the great master Dalì. There is for example Sibel Sun Kurt surprising us with very feminine, stunningly colorful works or Faruk Kasikci displaying slightly dark pictures recalling an ambiance maybe Ernst-Ludwig Kirchner would have created. Eventually Kani Kaya is putting our mind at ease again with his calm naturalistic motives. The viewer is facing an almost nude women lying on her side, composed of light yellow and green colours. ‘I do not work with models, most of it I can create just by heart’, laughs Kaya. ‘My brain is like a filter taking in reality and then coming up with my personal ideas which you now can see on that picture.’

Kani Kaya (on right) and Faruk Kasikci (on left). Kasikci, portraying only women figures in his paintings, says that he will start including men when men really deserve women. Also he suggests the women will have real virtue if they can share the divine motherly compassionate towards their children with whole humanity.

It is noticeable that those Turkish artists are neither afraid of nudity nor of strong colors. There are strikingly many women in focus, modern women with light hair, seductive dresses, with flowers in their hair, women playing instruments. Those are not reluctant pieces of art, those are not poor spirited artists. We are not facing dull, shy pictures. Rather are we being confronted with sparkling mosaics, shattered perspectives or handmade violins. ‘I don’t even play violin’, says the artist Haluk Riza Safak, ‘but with wood and trees it is all the same. As soon as you understand the texture, the language of your material it is an easy, yet demanding, process’, he explains and then adds with a smile ‘I guess in that way trees are just like women’.

It is people like Safak who add to the multiple facets of that exhibition. They render it into an unique possibility now offered to the citizens of Oslo. The possibility to experience a tiny bit of Turkey in the heart of the Norway’s Capital.

Pioneering Artists with International Audience

The artists contributing to the exhibition are Margaret Sibel Kurt, Faruk Kasikci, Sahabattin Sen , Yücel Donmez , Berrin Ilhan, Mehmet Akkaya, Sinan Sencicek, Sukru Kara, Riza Haluk Safak, Muruvet Kayabay Safak, Kani Kaya and Sibel Payyu. Several of the artists are currently unknown to most people in Norway, but all have a wide international audience.

The exhibition will be open from May 7 to 22 in Galleri Stabekk Kino and several of the artists will be present throughout the exhibition period.

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