Our North Cyprus Artists proudly contributed art works on the occasion of the opening of the first museum of its kind in Turkey
By Heidi Trautmann
On December 12, 2012 at 12 noon the new Museum for Paper and Book Art, a project by the EGE University in Izmir, was opened by the Rector Prof. Dr. Candeger Yilmaz and the curator of the new museum Nedim Sönmez who is known worldwide for his wonderful marbling art work. The museum is housed in a renovated traditional building situated in a park near the bay of Izmir.
It was a very ambitious undertaking with the support and help of many who are interested to establish a memorial for paper, its beginnings and its forms of use. The museum will give information on the history of paper, on the first steps in printing, its artists and engravers, the various techniques of printing and finally paper and book art. Both these disciplines are getting more and more established with their own associations; Members of IAPMA (International Association for Paper Making Artists) have donated art works and are now part of the permanent exhibition of the museum in the section of paper art, among them four of our North Cypriot artists, Inci Kansu, Ismet Tatar, Emel Samioglu and Simge Uygur.
Paper is the carrier of time, a title I chose for an interview with Inci Kansu many years ago and I remember that I was fascinated to learn about the process of paper making and its philosophy; especially the use of natural fibers such as tomato and all sorts of leaves. With Ismet Tatar’s work there will be the only work in the museum that is made from pure natural products from her garden. Emel Samioglu has discovered paper art on her road of research of her past which lies in the Mediterranean Sea, and Simge Uygur has for many years worked on the secrets of regeneration, sculptures made from paper pulp of pregnant women or of cocoons representing flora and fauna.
The history of paper is most interesting and has drastically influenced our own human history.
Paper was invented by the Chinese by 105 AD during the Han Dynasty and spread slowly to the west via Samarkand and Baghdad. Papermaking and manufacturing in Europe started in the Iberian Peninsula, today's Portugal and Spain and Sicily in the 10th century by the Muslims living there at the time, and slowly spread to Italy and South France reaching Germany by 1400. In medieval Europe, the hitherto handcraft of papermaking was mechanized by the use of waterpower, the first water papermill in the Iberian Pensinsula having been built in the Portuguese city of Leiria in 1411, and other processes. The rapid expansion of European paper production was truly enhanced by the invention of the printing press and the beginning of the Printing Revolution in the 15th century.
The word "paper" is etymologically derived from papyros, Ancient Greek for the Cyperus papyrus plant. Papyrus is a thick, paper-like material produced from the pith of the Cyperus papyrus plant which was used in ancient Egypt and other Mediterranean cultures for writing long before the making of paper in China. Papyrus however is a "lamination of natural plants, while paper is manufactured from fibres whose properties have been changed by maceration or disintegration.
It is therefore most proper that paper and its various disciplines are honoured with an own museum; and books will not die as many predict as nothing compares with the pleasure to hold a book in your hands and open it for the first time, all the smells and promises it contains…..