By Heidi Trautmann
When I entered the exhibition hall of the Atatürk Cultural Centre first week of June I had the impression of having in front of me the Pinturas Negras - the black paintings - of Francisco de Goya, late works of the Spanish painter. The recordings of a socialist of the misery of his people. Thus, Hikmet Olgaçer a self taught painter, has processed his experience of the days of the Cypriot referendum in 2004, the discussions in the villages, the pros and cons, the despair and hope, in dark colours, the body of a village community around a fire, people coming out of a polling place, mother and daughter sitting in the dark holding hands. An outcry!
Opposite are paintings of the Mesaoria in all seasons with the people enjoying themselves, sowing and harvesting. The ideas and working techniques of impressionism.
I spoke to Hikmet Olgaçer, born in Ozanköy in 1959. He graduated in veterinary medicine but became an elementary teacher, now in his 26th year of teaching. Painting has been his passion since childhood days, also was he encouraged by his art teacher Gülten Ahmet. He studied fine arts from reading numberless art books and catalogues, from visits in art museums and galleries, and he made his choice to paint the way he paints now. It is his 3rd solo exhibition with 32 paintings. Paintings of the traditional ways of Cypriots, every day scenes like having lunch in the field or boys balancing on the quay wall, Hikmet Olgaçer tells me, that is his idea, a close look on everyday’s life in the community. Whenever possible he takes his equipment and goes painting outdoors just like the old masters did. Close impressions.
I ask some of the visitors in the gallery what they think of the paintings and two answers were: “I like to understand what the painter wants to tell me and in these paintings I can recognize my country and my feelings.”