By Heidi Trautmann
Alashia – the oldest name for Cyprus, city kingdom of
Cyprus – around 1500 BC mentioned in old Syrian and Egyptian trade documents. Alashia,
under this image of a name 17 Cypriot artists travelled to Izmir, under the
curatorship of Ayhatun Atesin, ceramic artist, and with the financial blessing
and good words by the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture, to have a
group exhibition within the framework of
the grand 2nd International Izmir Art Biennale in May 2013.
The artists participating were in the order of
alphabet Aşik Mene, Ayhatun Ateşin, Emel Samioğlu, Emin Çizenel, Eser Keçeci,
Feridun Işıman, Gamze Anil Baykan, Gökçe Keçeci Şekeroğlu, Güner Pir, Hikmet Uluçam Ilkay
Ensoy, Inci Kansu, Ismet Tatar, Mustafa Öztunç, Özge Refik Kutsay, Pembe
Gaziler, Ruhiye Onurel (Ros). A very good and interesting mélange.
The paper artists Inci Kansu, Ismet Tatar and Emel
Samioğlu had also taken part in the grand Biennale exhibition on the
fairgrounds and among themselves they had a spacious area for the display of
their art works. Just three days before these three artists had also
participated in a paper art exhibition in Kayseri organized by a Turkish paper
artist on the premises of the university. They do get around, our artists.
It was a grand event again, the Art Biennale, an event
organized by Seba Art Gallery, i.e. the artist Seba Ugurtan, a woman of power
and determination. The opening was end of April starting with eight separate exhibitions
in eight different ‘art temples’ of the city, among them our Alashia Art Group.
The most important supporters of the important event were the Govenor of Izmir,
the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the National Museum of Art and Sculpture,
Izmir Metropolitan Municipality and Ege University.
Seba Ugurtan’s idea was to bring together artists from
different countries to express their cultural values by the common language of
art and in return encounter the beauty of Turkey and its history and
hospitality. Over 400 artists from 58 countries were selected by the jury out of 1600 artists from 58 different countries who have applied to
participate at the 2nd International Biennial of Izmir. The spaces available at
the International fairgrounds this year were generously planned and looked more
like exhibition halls than in the first year for the display of paintings,
performance, original printing, sculpture, graphic design, photography,
installation, ebru, digital art, tile and glass video art, illumination,
textile, ceramic, 1700 artworks altogether. A heavy catalogue of around 5 kg
was the resulting proof of the event.
Ismet Tatar gave me not only the details such as
photos and a catalogue but also her impressions. “Everything was well organized
from the opening ceremonies, advertising, to the last meeting and dinner for
the participants and the presentation of the first prize which went to an
I would like to conclude with some words of Seba
‘Our aim for the 2nd International Biennial of Izmir
was to tell how important the connective power of art is. The artists are the
best models for the presentation of different ideas and thoughts without being
destructive and harsh. They explicate that people should respect each other’s
personality. This is the only language to achieve being a human, those who
understand and want to understand, those who listen to art and the artist, know
how short life is and how perfect as possible it should be spent.’