Heidi Trautmann talks to Feridun Işıman about his experience at an Egyptian art journey.
Feridun Işıman is a most prolific artist and he is to be appreciated for his tireless endeavours to carry North Cypriot art to European countries, also to USA, Korea and Japan, and this year to Egypt, a country which is deeply involved in many internal problems, as we know, to find a satisfying basis for a future stable life for all. I would call him an Ambassador in matters of art, has he not organised an international exhibition just recently at the Atatürk Cultural Centre.
For the last ten years I have known him to travel to art colonies and workshops in many Mediterranean countries, and he is well known in art circles and a friend to many. What is his motivation I wanted to know. Feridun says:“It is to learn about other countries, their culture and their art, which teaches us a lot about their ways of life.
From November 8 – 18, 2012 Feridun Işıman joined the ‘Ostraka Art Festival -
Arabic-Turkish Art Forum’. Its director in Egypt and organizer of the event is Mr Mohamed HAMEDA and he cooperated with Mr Orhan Cebrailoglu, painter and lecturer at Konya University, who organised and curated the event for 30 artists from Turkey and one artist from North Cyprus namely Feridun Işıman. But may Feridun Işıman tell of his experience himself:
“The first two days we spent in Cairo; we met with no problems. We were accommodated in a luxury hotel and started immediately an intensive cultural tour. First we were taken to the Cairo Museum which we all anticipated with great excitement. To plunge into the history of 1000s of years back and to come so close to this great culture, especially in “Tutanchamun”s room, we shall never forget.
The next point of our tour was the visit to the Modern Art Museum of Cairo where we saw very good samples of Egyptian modern art from the early1950s to todays’ art. Not only could we learn about the Egyptian contemporary art but also the old masters of Egypt. We continued with a visit to the Opera building and then visited an art exhibition by the woman artist Nihal Wahby with paintings and carvings on wood as a contemporary essence of ancient Egypt.
After dinner we attended the inauguration of another woman artist’s exhibition with acrylic paintings on canvas about the people of Egypt and their situation.
The next day we went to see the pyramids at Giza. A guard came with us on the bus. Having found our way through the undisciplined traffic of Cairo we could soon see the Great Pyramid of Khufu(Cheops), Khafre and the pyramid of Menkaure, it was a great moment for us. As soon as the bus stopped we were surrounded by local people pushing us to buy touristic stuff. After having seen the inner rooms of Mastaba’s we got into two-wheeled chariots drawn by a horse, for a tour around the pyramids. İt seemed like an ancient Roman race riding over stones with soil and dust in the air. We ended the tour at the feet of the famous Sphinx with a view of three pyramids in the background. İt was really a great view of ancient Egypt.
On our way back to Cairo we had to go by different roads for safety reasons as people were protesting against their government with demonstrations on the Tahrir Square.
Next day we had a six hour bus journey to the city of Alexandria. On the way we stopped at Suleimanie Hotel to see the works that have been done by international sculptors at the OSTRAKA SCULPTORİNG SYMPOSİUM. They were made from metal and marble.
In Alexandria we visited the famous Library very modernly equipped with computer systems. At the Alexandria Library there is a special section for Anwar Sadat as a sort of memorial, with his dress displayed he wore when he was assassinated and the things he used daily. In the same building we saw exhibitions of local ceramic, painting, sculpture, graphic arts, very expressive indeed.
With all these images of ancient and today’s art, culture and social life in Egypt in our mind, we flew to Sharm el Sheikh. Sunny warm summer weather welcomed us. New developments, holiday resorts shooting up in the desert, but in a modern Egyptian style and with the charm of the desert.
Our holiday resort “Faraana Heights” was quite close to the airport, a modern oriental place surrounded by green plants and palm trees, tastefully decorated with lots of pools. You can walk to the Red Sea in three minutes from the holiday resort and swim in the warm sea while snow is falling in Europe.
Each artist had a private flat at the holiday resort. For the daily work all artists came together on the roof of the main building. They were supplied with art material, acrylics, brushes and canvases.
For the remaining six days, we the artists were to create our impressions of what we have seen on our journey through Egypt. The results were really satisfying and successful for all artists and for the organisers.
While some artists worked in an abstract style, others worked in a figurative, surreal or expressionist style to transpose their ideas on canvas. Apart from individual art works, all artists worked together on panels laid out on the floor in a long row. Each artist worked on one panel side by side in close contact to the others.
On November 17, all artworks were taken to the central branch of Faraana Hotel Group where the exhibition was opened on the same evening.
A woman artist from Egypt and an artist from Turkey were together inaugurating the exhibition. A Turkish music group played classical Turkish songs .
Later in the evening certificates of participation were given to all participating artists from Turkey, Egypt, Palestinia, Saudi Arabia and other countries.
At the ceremony the organizer of the event Mr. Mohamed Hameda spoke to the participants:
“The aim of the Arab-Turk Arts Forum is to bring the Turkish and Arab artists together for the first time in this symposium. I am very happy to have been able to realise the Art Forum OSTRAKA and I hope to improve it in coming years. This year we had 30 Turkish artists among us and only six Arab artists. Next year we will make the number of artists equal. I have arranged visits and sight-seeing especially for the Turkish artists to learn more about Egyptian art and thus we were able to see the reflection of Egypt in their art works at the exhibition. I would like to thank my friend Orhan Cebrailoğlu for his support to create the ‘Arab and Turkish Art World Symposium’ and I would like to thank all the Turkish artists for participating. The level of the artists and their art works were of very high quality and high standard.”
The next day in the morning at 06.30 o’clock the artist group from Turkey was on the plane to İstanbul with colourful memories of Egypt, its people, art, and life in their hearts.