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From 2010 till 2014 I had been researching the designs of the textiles used in the religious rituals for my PhD thesis. The idea of this sculptural installation was based on the concept of the prayer rugs of Anatolian. The prayer rugs are used by Muslims to perform religious everyday duty – Namaz. Namaz is one of the Five Pillars in the Faith of Islam and an obligatory religious duty for every Muslim. It is physical, mental and spiritual act of worship that is observed five times everyday at prescribed times. In this ritual, the worshiper starts standing, opens the hands, bows, prostrate and concludes while sitting on the ground. In Anatolia Region prayer rugs are not only the main textile piece used by religious people in everyday duties, but also it takes incredible important place in the dowry trunk. There was tradition (still it is alive in the some regions of Turkey) to give prayer rugs like a gift to the future mother and father in law. Not less important is to mention that unique hand made carpets were usually made by women. Therefore it can be said that prayer rugs are important for a woman to express her personal creativity and to develop spiritual and psychical attitudes. In my project I created 5 different female figures from felt following the poses of the body performing namaz steps: standing figure with open hands (TEENAGER), standing figure with hands on the chest (BRIDE), bowing figure (MOTHER), prostrating figure (NEWBORN), sitting on the ground figure (GRANNY). Each figure represents one period of the women’s life from the birth till the senescence. I decided to bring to life these women, whose are in the symbolic and real pray all their life. I decided to reorganizes the pray steps depending on the felling I want to impart to the viewer and to reflect each character of particular period (person). Therefore for a newborn I chose the most “innocent” and vulnerable position (prostrating position). For better expression of the feelings during adolescence I decided to create teenagers figure using open hand position. Open hands symbolize the curiosity and self-presumption and in other hand timidity of the young girl. The third figure symbolizes the bride, stoned face, calm position, and hands tightly locked on the chest, this biggest figure symbolize the middle way of the women. Wedding day is the happiest and the scariest day of the women’s life.. It is the end of being “little daddy’s girl” and first steps to the new life with the hope and obscurity. Next to the bride there are sorrow and happiness walking together.. The third figure symbolizes motherhood; the woman is caring a baby on her back. The child is the only one live being who can make women carry him on the back all the way till the end of the days. The child is the heaviest and in the same time the lightest weight in the woman’s life. The last felt sculpture, so called “Granny” is the position of the sitting on the ground. This figure is the calmest and the brightest of all, I paid a lot of attention to the hands and the face of this old woman. My aim was to reflect and to transfer the beauty of the senescence, to give all my respect to the imperfectness and divinity of the aging woman. This position is the last one and it is the ending/closing piece of my collection. The old women feels that it is the end, that she lived her life she had her bright and dark moments, now she is calm and spiritually elevated.. To finish this felt collection took 1,5 year. I feel that it is one of my work which has my soul reflection in it, every figure is something like self-research, it is like going step by step in to deepest corners of the woman’s soul..
GOD OF LONELINESS
“God of loneliness” was created in 2016, this period of time was peculiar for me. I was in the calmest period of my life, but on another hand I was feeling myself so full of different emotions. It was the time when I felt a storm in my inside that was sealed in unbreakable silence. I was happy to stay alone in this time period. I decided that the “God” who helped me at this moment was “The loneliness”.
DENIAL OF FEAR AND DESPAIR TALISMANIC SHIRTS
It is believed that talismanic shirts protected people from diseases, from dangerous enemies, and healed them from illness. We came across talismanic shirts in the Turkish culture before the Turks accepted Islam as a religion.
There are many Talismanic shirts kept in Topkapı Palace Museum in Istanbul. In order for a talismanic shirt to serve its talismanic function there were certain rituals to be conducted during the spinning, weaving and embellishing processes.
Initially, the shirts were cut in to pieces then the texts and other embellishments were added before the pieces were assembled. The astrologer decided when to start the writing process according the “propitious moment”. The shirts were usually made of white cotton fabrics.
Talismanic shirts were divided into geometric figures such as, small squares, large squares, rectangles, rhombuses, circles, semi-circles, triangles and ellipses. They were embellished with the texts from the Qur’an, with the ninety-nine names of God, holy sayings, with poems, prayers, wishes, entreaties etc.
For this project women donated their own white shirts to show their support for women who are subjected to physical and/or sexual violence or abused. 65 women living in Izmir, Istanbul, Antalya, Hatay, Essen, Klaipeda, Kaunas and Vilnius supported the project by donating their shirts. The “talismanic shirts” were created from these donated shirts; these were cut in pieces and different sections from different shirts attached together following an order. The exhibition consists of 21 shirts. The names of the women who donated their shirts were written on the largest one. The other 20 shirts have their own story. The prayers, entreaties, and desperate cries of child brides, young girls and women were written on the shirts. Statistical data about violence against women in Turkey, in Lithuania and worldwide is also featured.
It is a known fact that 35% of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual violence, the cases of violence against women go unreported and more than 700 million women alive today were married as children. In Turkey 36% of women have experienced either physical and/or sexual violence and 44% of women never disclosed this. The societies prefer to deny this reality.
In fact the talismanic shirts can be described as a symbol of fear and despair throughout the ages of violence, savageness and darkness. Women in the 21st century have to live in a world where the violence and savageness are still prevailing. However is it possible for them to hope that the talismanic shirt will protect them from danger?
The exhibition entitled “DENIAL OF FEAR AND DESPAIR: TALISMANIC SHIRTS” is inspired by this idea and it aims to highlight the issue of women who are subject to violence.
The concept and the research field I work on; it is and it has always been human beings...I like old people or people with beautifully imperfect faces. I try to focus on their mimics and I try to recollect the details of the faces later in my works. Last few years I start researching importance of emotions, I mean the inner world of women or men. In my own way I am creating “creatures like humans”; to reflect the feelings that we all have lived at least one time in our life. There is no gender of my “creatures like humans”, because all of us can feel pain, anger, happiness or loneliness. It does not depend on our gender, age or color. Another important point about my “creatures like humans” is that there is no alive person in real world looking like them; I use approximately 4-6 different faces, or the details of them to create my own unique and expressive face. I use my sketches of faces seen in the streets, I am spending hour in front of mirror or taking selfies of different face expressions. For me the most important think is reflect the feeling, the power of one or another emotion.
The concept of felt sculpture collection, called “Cactus”, is still the same, but this time I compare my “creatures like humans” to the cactuses. Super active feelings, let it be happiness, sadness or anger, does not effect ourselves so much. In other hand, it is for sure that when we reflect these feelings to the ones who are surrounding us we can easily harm them; make them feel bad or jealous etc. At that moment ones transforms to something that has needles outside even if the beauty lies in inside...
ETERNAL CYCLE: APPEAR, REGENERATE, DISAPPEAR
It is possible to come across with the cult of mother goddess throughout the history who is referred with different names in quite a number of cultures and civilizations. Anatolia, Greece , Italy, Germany, Great Britain, North European countries, Far East countries, Japan, India, Africa are among them.
Mother Goddess generally represents motherhood, reproduction, creation, femininity, continuity of life, fertility and abundance. The mother goddess of Anatolia revives the life and she has been associated with the birth of humanity as a whole along with the universe and everything in it.
Mother Goddess who had been effected humans from different cultures for thousands of years, was the starting point of this project. Three dimensional felt objects and the embroidered motifs were inspired by mother goddess figurines. Three large felt objects symbolize the appearance, the regeneration and the disappearance of women. Women maintain life and reproduce new generations as an individual and then they disappear.
Women/Mothers have sublimated as sacred creatures because of their gifted nature, unfortunately when they are reduced to a sex object , men humiliate women and commit violence against her.
Throughout the history men ruling societies have been going back and forth between these two extreme points. The enormous progress during the 20th century did not help to improve this situation.
Most probably male gods were much more powerful than the female goddess until the antique rationalism. However equality between man and woman has not been established literally in modern times.
The project aims to point out this unchanging situation and invites people to think about the problem with a new perspective while keeping in mind that how powerful creatures are women.
SEVEN STEPS TO ECSTASY
In the last few years I began researching the importance of emotions, the inner world of women and men. In my own way, I am creating “creatures like humans”. This project named "Seven Impulses of Ecstasy" is very personal, it is about the darkest side of the human’s inner world, and the sins that we all have lived at least once in our life. The seven deadly sins, also known as the capital vices or cardinal sins, is a grouping and classification of vices within Christian teachings. Behaviour or habits are classified under this category if they directly give birth to other immoralities. According to the standard list, they are pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth which are also contrary to the seven virtues. These sins are often thought to be abuses or excessive versions of one's natural faculties or passions (for example, gluttony abuses one's desire to eat). Living these sins is like traversing between endless freedom and death. Freedom itself is believed to be something positive, something without limits. On the other hand limitless or living without moral borders leads to death. In my work I sought to reflect the seven deadly sins on the human faces through the emotions and characters. Somehow it is a reflection of my oven sins and weaknesses. It is the face I wear from time to time, the deadliest flowers in my life garden.
Lust, or lechery (Latin, "luxuria" (carnal)), is intense longing. It is usually thought of as intense or unbridled sexual desire, which leads to fornication, adultery, rape, bestiality and other immoral sexual acts. 2.Gluttony
Gluttony (Latin, gula) is the overindulgence and overconsumption of anything to the point of waste. The word derives from the Latin gluttire, meaning to gulp down or swallow.
Greed (Latin, avaritia), also known as avarice, cupidity, or covetousness, is, like lust and gluttony, a sin of desire. However, greed (as seen by the Church) is applied to an artificial, rapacious desire and pursuit of material possessions.
Sloth (Latin, tristitia or acedia ("without care")) refers to a peculiar jumble of notions, dating from antiquity and including mental, spiritual, pathological, and physical states. It may be defined as absence of interest or habitual disinclination to exertion.
Wrath (Latin, ira) can be defined as uncontrolled feelings of anger, rage and hatred. Wrath often reveals itself in the wish to seek vengeance. In its purest form, wrath presents with injury, violence, and hate that may provoke feuds that can go on for centuries.
Envy (Latin, invidia), like greed and lust, is characterized by an insatiable desire. It can be described as a sad or resentful covetousness towards the traits or possessions of someone else. It arises from vainglory and severs a man from his neighbor.
Pride (Latin, superbia) is considered, on almost every list, the original and most serious of the seven deadly sins: the perversion of the faculties that make humans more like God—dignity and holiness. It is also thought to be the source of the other capital sins.
The first part of this project focuses on Izmir’s culinary culture. Izmir has been home to various communities throughout the history. Turks, Jews, Cypriot Greeks, Levantines, Cretans, Macedonians, Bosnians and Albanians all lived together shared their customs, married to each other. The Jews who settled in Anatolia after leaving Spain in 1492, quickly integrated with Turkey and its culture. Having many common features of Mediterranean culture and living on both sides of the Mediterranean for centuries, they adopted the common flavors of these lands. These different societies have formed a culinary culture that has been continuing for centuries. The project started with the dishes of Izmir which reflect these different cultures. All the dishes are formed with textile materials, like real dishes these textile objects were made by hand with love and passion.
When the Turks first came to Anatolia from Asia, they had carried the rich food culture along the way, and they had enriched it with the materials gathered from every country along their way. When they settled in Anatolia, which encircled by three seas, offered the benefit of living all four seasons, providing fresh vegetables and fruits, en- riched the culinary culture more. With so many ethnic groups living on this fertile land, culinary culture has turned into one of the world’s best. This project will continue with Turkey’s other regions showing the richness of the culinary culture.