Visiting the new Rauf Denktas Culture and Congress Centre on the occasion of the Art exhibition ALASHIA
By Heidi Trautmann
With regard to arts and culture activities Famagusta
has always been a little neglected, treated like an orphan, with Nicosia being
the centre of it all, except for the yearly Music Festival held at Salamis or
an occasional art exhibition at EMU (Eastern Mediterranean University) and oh
yes, the Sand sculpture event at the EMU Beach Club every summer. Now, with the
new building, the isolation seems to have ended.
I mean, it is still quite a long way to go for those
who live in Nicosia, Kyrenia and beyond and there is no problem to make it in
broad daylight but for evening events it will remain an obstacle the organisers
will have to think about by, for example, offering a bus service.
Ismet Tatar, one of the artists participating in the
Alashia Exhibition curated by Ayhatun Atesin, and I decided one morning to go
and visit the exhibition in the new venue, as we have missed the opening
evening. Coming from Kyrenia, it took us one hour to get there but we enjoyed
the drive through the Mesaoria. We had taken the highway Nicosia-Famagusta. We
drove off towards Mutluyaka and Salamis Ruins to arrive at the Salamis Roundabout
where we turned right and drove to the next roundabout which is next to the
Lions Garden; there we turned left and there it is, just behind, a big building
in the middle of fields. Impressing.
A modern architecture with lots of parking areas for
the future. A wide entrance leading into a spacious hall, all in shiny marble.
We followed the directions to the exhibition area which is….a wide corridor
softly leading up in several turns to the second level where the theatre and
conference rooms are. It is not a self-contained room, it is rather a passage.
The hanging and lighting is excellent. However, a self-contained exhibition
area would have been better. The main interest of the planning authorities have
quite obviously been concentrating on theatre, music and conferences and not on
It was good to see the artwork of our many artist
friends: Aşik Mene, Ayhatun Ateşin, Emel Samioğlu, Emin Çizenel, Eser Keçeci,
Feridun Işıman, Gamze Anil Baykan, Gökçe Keçeci
Şekeroğlu, Güner Pir, Hikmet Uluçam Ilkay Önsoy, Inci Kansu, Ismet
Tatar, Mustafa Öztunç, Nurtane Karagil, Özden Selenge, Özge Refik Kutsay, Pembe
Gaziler, Pinar Yeşilada, Ruhiye Onurel (Ros), Şifa Alkapon and Vedia Okutan
Gaydeler. This group exhibition, as I was told by Ismet Tatar, has been so far
in Istanbul, then in Izmir for the Biennale and will go to Rome and further
after the end of the exhibition in Famagusta.
The manager of the new centre, Mr. Hasan Haksayar,
showed us around the place and opened for us the theatre houses, one for nearly
1000 audience, another smaller one for 280. And we saw one of the conference
rooms where at the moment an important conference takes place, a conference
about peace, an international conference looking at peace from a philosophical
standpoint, I assume.
The whole project of the Centre is a joint venture
between the Famagusta Municipality and the Eastern Mediterranean University;
all the services necessary for international conferences will be delivered by
the university such as interpreting services.
Artists who are interested in exhibiting or performing
can contact the manager via his email address firstname.lastname@example.org . The costs for exhibitions are to cover the expenses such as
electricity, around TL 300 a week, the hanging and organisation has to be done
by the artists themselves. Hasan
Haksayar informed us that he will have the website for the Centre ready within
a month’s time disclosing more details about the use of the centre.
On 13 December the Catalköy Municipality Theatre will
be present in one of the beautiful theatre rooms with the play ‘SINIR’ on their
tour through the island (see the Cultural Events Calendar).