Heidi Trautmann

570 - Visiting artist Osman Keten in his studio in Nicosia


Preparing for the 23rd International Tüyap Istanbul Art Fair together with artist Mustafa Hastürk


By Heidi Trautmann


Once in a while I visit my art friends in their studios to keep up with their work and their lives. Thus I did last week on my way to the jazz concert. I always enjoy walking through the Arabahmet lanes, but in autum, in the late afternoon, there is a special atmosphere in the air, with the doors of the old Ottoman houses ajar and lights switched on, noises filtering through to the outside, a mix of television, of people talking, music in the background, first smells of evening dinner being prepared and some kids still playing games in the early evening light. In summer they all would sit outside.

Here is Osman Keten’s Art Studio, just opposite the French Cultural Centre’s building from whence I hear the repetitive practicing of French vocabulary.

The door to Osman’s studio is open and in a concentrated pool of light I can see him with his students working at their easels. It is one of the most beautiful studios, not for the atmosphere alone but for the fact that it is a lovely renovated Ottoman house with an inner courtyard.  It has four big rooms with high ceilings and good light, which he all uses for his work and the display of his huge paintings.

Osman is a very good teacher and his advice and tutoring is often sought by university students for his philosophy of teaching art. I like the importance he lays on teaching the very basics of art.

“It is pencil drawing, the study of the theories of colours, teaching the mixing of paint and its application on canvas or paper. I add the development of philosophical thoughts on colour and subject, of light and shadow in art and then I support my students in finding their own style, which is very important.

Osman shows me his latest work which will be presented at the 23rd International Tüyap Istanbul Art Fair. The art fair at the Tüyap Fair and Convention Center, Büyükçekmece is between November 2 and 10, 2013.  In addition to almost 1000 artists, 150 art galleries and 25 independent groups and initiatives the organizer has exhibited the works of almost 150 young artists in their respective exhibitions.  He and Mustafa Hastürk, another painter and good friend, was selected by the TRNC Cultural Directorate to participate at the fair to represent their country.

“The fair is known to me quite well as I have already participated on other occasions, to one I organized the participation of four of our art friends on the Greek side, among them Nicholas Panayi. It is an important art event. This time I will go with Mustafa.”

Where is art going, I ask.  “Backwards…back to realism because people want to remember and they remember via the visual.”

Looking at Osman’s new painting I cannot see realism but the development of a philosophical thought…

“The thought is one of our Turkish sayings: ‘For the one cup of coffee you have offered me I owe you 40 years of favours”. The thought is of connection through the gesture of offering coffee to a visitor.”

It is coffee that plays the main part in his new work; coffee used as paint, the hazard forms on squares, and these squares connected to each other by strings, the human connection, made durable through coffee. What an extraordinary idea. I’ll remember that.


Note by the author:

Follow www.facebook.com/istanbulsanatfuar, www.twitter.com/SanatFuari and www.instagram/sanatfuari for the latest news and updates about participating art galleries and independent artists, exhibitions and other events during the fair.

The 23rd International Istanbul Art Fair will be held concurrently with the 32nd International Istanbul Book Fair organized by TÜYAP Fairs in association with the Publishers’ Association of Turkey.  There are also Turkish Cypriots writers participating in the book fair accompanied by Bedia Kale from the Cultural Directorate.



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