By Heidi Trautmann
For many years now Feridun Işıman is travelling to art colonies, international art workshops and art meetings and the like, all over Europe, representing with his art and engagement the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. What is the idea of these encounters? It is what it says: to meet with other artists, to get to know their work and culture, and their approach to a theme if there is one given. But also to get to know the culture of the host country, its museums and art galleries, its architecture and beauty of nature. In the TRNC there were occasional international art workshops over the years and I remember that Feridun Işıman wanted so much to have an art colony established here in order to be able to invite art friends and colleagues to introduce them to the culture of his country as well.
This year he joined an International Artists’ Meeting in Konya at the Karatay University from May 14-28 and he met with artists from 25 different countries and from Turkey with 14 artists. The artists came from Germany, Lithuania, Slovakia, Montenegro, South Korea, Turkmenistan, Egypt, Greece-, Holland, Russia, Tajikistan, TRNC, Kosovo, Poland, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Hungary, Ukraine, Syria, Serbia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria. The curator of the Art Meeting was the artist and Lecturer of Art Academy, Mr Orhan Cebrailoğlu assisted by the lecturer Mrs Belgin Akın.
In the event’s programme the curator had included a press conference to inform people about the presence of so many international artists in Konya and artists were given a guided tour through the interesting historical city of Konya and to many places of culture and interest, especially the Mevlâna museum, which contains the mausoleum of Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, a Sufi mystic. Also the Karatay Medrese, a school built in 1251 by the Emir of the city Celaleddin Karatay, serving the Seljuk sultan. There are many outstanding samples of Seljuk architecture to be seen.
The artists were given the opportunity to get to know each other first at a five star hotel in Antalya and to relax by the sea. After that the artists returned to Konya and settled down to work around a concept about the culture and history of the city. The philosophy of Islam and Sufism and its mysticism created by Mevlana and Shamseddin gives enough ground for thought to the artistic mind. In the paintings you could easily recognise the influence of an artist’s country: a Russian would approach the theme differently than one from Germany, for example.
The atmosphere among the artists was very friendly and animated and an average of three to four paintings was created, some did up to five and six. After work the artists were taken around the countryside, for example the prehistoric village of Çatal Hoyuk has impressed them immensely, Feridun said, and not to forget the most enjoyable dinner parties they were invited to by leading personalities of Konya or local companies.
Finally the day of exhibition had arrived on May 28 and the artists could proudly present to the public a wide variety of art works. Feridun Işıman had created three paintings in acrylic with mainly women figures, “Wind of Seljuk” 110x120 cm; “Anatolia”120x110 cm, and “Phoenix” 80x60 cm. The Governor of Konya, the Mayor and other important people inaugurated the exhibition and many hundreds of people came to view it and to meet with the artists.
On May 29 the artists left for their home countries, taking with them the precious memory of the kind hospitality by the people of Konya and its rich culture, but leaving behind friends and the knowledge that art is still the strongest bond between humans around the world.