By Heidi Trautmann
“What is life to us, what is my life, your life? It is the space between the threads of a net, an endless net spread over our families, our people, spread over our country, yes, even over the entire world. The knots are the important events determining our lives, and our destinies are inseparably connected to each other, even when superficially separated, the bondages remain.”
This is how Emel Samioğlu explains her art work to me, the art work she is going to take to Korea in September when she and her colleagues will join the yearly IAPMA Congress, Workshop and exhibition in Seoul. International Association of Paper Making Artists. On another occasion I will separately inform on this very special art form.
“The same applies to our identity which we carry in our genes, the way our people arrived where I now live, my ancestors who came by boat across the wide waters of the Mediterranean, to finally settle on this island. Life in symbols, the net, the boat, the waves of the sea and my father’s belt, that is all included in my artwork. That is the net of my life with the knots destiny has fastened.”
I know of Emel Samioğlu’s philosophy in her art for many years. She has always been fascinated by history, the old goddesses of womanhood and family, the old crafts which are values disappearing with the wind of modern developments, the memories of childhood and the history of her family. It is a must for her to not let the traditions of her country die.
It takes no wonder, she has studied art history besides fine arts in Ankara from 1963 to 1967 at the Gazi University Faculty of Technical Educational School for Girls and later went to London and France for workshops and research. She is always ready to experiment and has joined IAPMA because the use of handmade paper and other natural fabrics in her art work has intrigued her as a painter for many years to find new ways of expressing her philosophy. In many exhibitions, local and international, she has won the respect and admiration for her work. Her interest in the up-keeping of Cypriot traditions and ways of life has taken her on many journeys and left her with many new experiences.
Emel Samioğlu is another one of those artists I have lately been talking about, going to far away countries to represent North Cypriot art and culture. The world is opening up to art, may it open up in other fields as well.