Heidi Trautmann

862: 4th International Akdeniz Terracotta Symposium at the Bedesten

By Heidi Trautmann


From 4-14 April 25 ceramic artists from ten different countries have met again at the Bedesten under the curatorship of Ayhatun Atesin to re-create the ‘old people’ from Cyprus, the sculptures which have been taken away. Please read the stories about them in my reviews on the last three terracotta symposia.




It is such a pleasure to see the artists work together in the beautiful space of the old Bedesten. I have watched them how they embrace their work, how close they are with it. It is after copies of the originals that the artists worked, the originals which are in various museums of the world.


The artists who have brought samples of their studios for display in the Bedesten – I am duly impressed – are:

Simcha Even Chen, Kaan Canduran, GEORGE Vavatsis, Rıchy Quin, Aykut Hızılok, Maxim Delia, Valentins Petjko, Carina Cresta, Aziz Baha Örken, Fahimeh Haydari,  Eser Keçeci, Nevin Yici, Hikmet Uluçam,Vahid Novruzov,Vedia Okutan Gaydeler, Caner Aşcıer, Hamza Avcı, Nilay Dalgın, Tan Buğra Özer, Nil Bektaş, Cevdet Alparslan,  Emet E.Aslan, Yusuf Can Kulak, Şenay Buluğ, Hasan N. Suçağlar.

Four of them are from North Cyprus, namely Vedia Okutan, Eser Keçeci, Hikmet Uluçam and Cevdet Alparslan.


On May 12, five experts in the fields of archaeology and cultural heritage will talk about the era of the sculptures and their importance in the country’s cultural heritage. There will be a catalogue/book on all four terracotta symposia, collating the experiences of workshops, said Ayhatun Atesin, it will be most interesting to read.  Here are her words:


Cyprus, an island which hosted many civilizations being a resource to Mediterranean culture.

Alashia, an island of ancient world, Cyprus… Magical Island in the Hittite-Egyptian-Assyrian epigraphy…Many historical monuments composed during the island’s 12 thousand- year human history were taken abroad. Today, they are waiting in nostalgia in the world’s most famous museums…

Just like migrating people…They are telling a lot… However, the reality is that; “Alashia is enlightening the world”...”And it will continue to do so…As long as the world exists”.

How much we, as the ones who witness the present of this country, know about the past? Or how much we know about the past? How many of us know the meaning of 12 thousand- year old wonderful cultural richness blended with the reach cultural heritage of three continents? What are we going to leave to the next generations? It seems like we will not be able to leave much to the next generations, since the cultural heritage has been exhausted while also wiping out the past…

We are reviving our roots, which have been removed from these territories, by replicating them…

Our story has begun in Akdeniz village, where the Mediterranean friendship and world civilizations synthesized. Producing while strolling on the traces of the past… Witnessing the history while watching the wonderful scene of the coast, where the mountains meet the sea. Ensouling the clay, while respiring in pine-tree forests with texture inherited from old times. Then, the artists gave a mystical spirit to the clay under the gothic style of Bedesten…

Against the alienation which has been dragging us to loss of power and faith as well as insensitivity as a result of technology, history has revived with the importance of creative power of humanity and art towards spreading wisdom, goodness and beauty.


By May 14 the time for re-creating the past will be over, the artists return to their home countries and their own work, but the sculptures will remain here. It will take some time until the forms are dry enough to be fired. The over two metres high statues will be fired in two or three parts and then put together again. The firing will be done in Nicosia.


We shall need a space to give a home to – as I call them – the ‘old people’, at the moment they are under the roof of the Bedesten.  The new collection is a great achievement and it should be given the attention and respect it commands.



PS: I am sorry that I cannot put a name to the various art works or to the artits themselves. I am very impressed by their work and we all thank them to have participated in this great event. 

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