Heidi Trautmann

861: Şinasi Tekman, the first Turkish Cypriot Sculptor (1933-2005) Exhibitions and Book Launch

By Heidi Trautmann


From 15-29 April at the Rauf Raif Denktaş Culture and Congress Centre in Famagusta and from 06-20 May at EMAA (European Mediterranean Art Association) the works of the first Turkish Cypriot sculptor Şinasi Tekman could be seen. A collection of wooden sculptures and of documents were on display, a collection donated by the family to the Centre of Cyprus Studies. To complete the understanding of this man’s life work, Zehra Şonya, herself a sculptor, has for many years researched the life of Şinasi Tekman who is also known for his poetry and articled he wrote for the local press.  I had met Zehra in 2006 and heard from her that she was working on this subject, a subject she had put her heart in.

Şinasi Tekman was born in Yiğitler village/Cyprus in 1933.  He had his secondary education at LTL – which I think means Lefkoşa Turkish Lycee – and from 1950-1952 studied at the Güzelyurt Teachers Training College. In 1956 he went to England and studied at the King Alfred’s College until 1958. During the years 1980-1990 he was headmaster of the Türk Maarif College. There is a table of his vita I photographed at the exhibition.

In the last years of his life he had a small workshop and exhibition room on the first floor of Büyük Han, next to Kadir Kaba’s photo gallery and Mehmet Ertug’s Puppet Theatre.  I admired his work for its witticism and humour, for the artist’s sharp eye. He discovered and uncovered the living contents in a piece of wood, a root and I wonder how often he roamed the mountains and olive groves, the beaches of his island to find his material. I believe, he was a great inspiration for young artists who came to his studio as Feridun Işıman was telling me.


His short stories and poetry were published in Çardak and Cevre magazines and his book publications he is known for, are: Haydan Gelen Huya Gider (Play 1952); Nasreddin Hoca Poems (1954); Atatürk Çocuklarina Poems (1955) and Yeşilada ağaç, Orman poems (1957).


I have seen the exhibition in Nicosia at EMAA’s and was very impressed. I have great respect for the well done work of setting up the exhibition, Zehra Sonya as curator did a great job.  The exhibitions at EMAA’s are always well done, you can see the experience and knowledge behind it.

The exhibition in Nicosia is still on until May 20, during the week 10:00 – 13:00 hrs and 16:00 – 18:00 hrs. The EMAA building is behind the Nicosia Deniz Plaza.




The book by Zehra Sonya is available at EMAA's  and in all bookstores at the price of TL 50.00.
It is a precious documentary not only of the sculptor himself but also as an image of the 20th century. 

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