by Heidi Trautmann
for five years we have not seen any new work by Şenol Özdevrim, although we have seen him a lot around, for example as art advisor to the Vounous Terracotta Symposium and as a Bronze Age bearer of light, so it was with some excitement that many of his friends and young fans came to the Girne Municipality Art Centre to see his exhibition.
The first time I met him was on the occasion of his second solo exhibition in 2007, please read the text below.
The current exhibition was dedicated to his wife who died too early in 2014 and there was a portrait of her he did in that same year. A song in her memory was played and candles were lit.
His new paintings are an explosion of colours, untamed in contrast to his former style. There are also works where the structure on canvas is predominant. Strong, expressive and meaningful and in full control of the techniques he is using.
His clay sculptures follow the same serene layout as before but with fine surface structure.
A friend of his had come from Turkey to act as the curator for this exhibition, Mahpeyker Yönsel, and she added, ‘he is my best friend…’ She had an exhibition at the Atelier 54 of the American University of Cyprus in Nicosia in the morning; the department where Şenol Özdevrim is now working as a teacher.
The exhibition is open until March 30, 2019.
Painter and Sculptor
born in Limassol in 1959
In spite of everything
On last Monday, a beautiful May evening, many art lovers of all ages came to the Acapulco Hotel where in one of the big reception halls the art exhibition of Şenol Özdevrim was opened by Education Minister Canan Öztoprak with Mustafa Hastürk, the Director of the Cultural Department at her side - and - before the ribbon was cut, a young girl of ten, Miriam, one of his pupils, approached the artist and handed him a white rose.
Şenol has dedicated his 2nd solo exhibition to two great artists who died in 2006, to Ali Atakan, the great painter and teacher of many of our local artists of today, and to Şinası Tekman, the sculptor and poet, and he feels that “those who have given us so much should not be forgotten”. With both, he had worked together, and both have had a definite influence on him as far as the strength of expression and workmanship is concerned. His large-size pictures radiate an enormous vivacity in forms and colours, sparkling like precious stones. They are abstract paintings in a tamed form. In many paintings he has grasped - with both hands - beautiful moments of a day throwing them high into the blue sky or on a wide red surface in front of him.
A moment of surprise for me - and I think for many others as well - were Şenol Özdevrim's highly interesting sculptures displayed across the entire room, mostly made of clay, elements of beauty and serenity. A feeling of floating and flying reigned in the hall, the universe with its crystal-clear transparency and sparkling riches.
Among the viewers were many young guests, especially Şenol Özdevrim's pupils at Güvenci Okular Grubu in Bellapais, where he had taught for four years. They sincerely discussed among themselves the pictures and objects displayed. I talked to them, they were very proud of their teacher's exhibition and in their eyes, it was also their success. In his eyes that is the answer to his life well-lived.
(Published in CyprusToday on May 12, 2007)
I have met Şenol Özdevrim again in Girne at his home and studio some months later to learn a little more about him. He lives there with his wife and his young son who is an eager student with talents for painting and music. Will he follow in his father's tracks, I ask him. Oh yes, he answers and shows me his new oil painting and I can see that he has well understood his father's themes of work.
The appartment is completely taken over by Şenol's work; sitting between sculptures and easels I can read - from the paintings hanging on or leaning against the walls - Şenol's world of ideas like a book with all pages opened. His colours are bright and clear and I am drawn into a microcosmos of small wonders. Is this our world observed through a highly sensitive microscope? Universe or underwater, it is a higher level of conscientiousness, telling us, “look, this is more important than our personal problems, this is what we are about to destroy, this beautiful world of ours.” Şenol is very concerned about peace and environment and he depicts the difference between natural and false man-made beauty, the achievements of modern society ending in global warming. A very sensitive man who touches everything with tenderness and care and is at all times aware of the world around him. His sculptures go around humans, homeland, earth and sea. The circle, a form of love and understanding, but when broken up signifying unbalance. The form of a pole reaching high, the form of squares... he uses them all to depict the destiny of his people. His people like worms or underground shoots in white clay trying to overcome the suppression against dark powers and then, his people safe in the centre of a circle again enjoying a bonfire.
He now teaches at Girne American College and he does that with love and respect for his students and his duty to teach them. I am sure they adore him as much the pupils in Bellapais do and who still miss him.
Şenol is a very prolific artist, not only in creating new works but also in organising workshops; for example international workshops such as the Türksoy Meeting in North Cyprus in 2007, or a forthcoming international workshop in 2008. The exchange of ideas and experience with artists in other countries is very important for the development of an artist, Şenol says. I can see it from his biography. He visited art colonies in Bosnia and Macedonia and spent even three months in Australia doing research in museums. Between 1991 and today he regularly took part in group exhibitions in Cyprus and Turkey, often in two or three in one year, and he had his second solo exhibition in 2007 which was the one above. Two of his statues were chosen for stamps, 1994 by Germany and 1996 by Bosnia.
Considering the small space he has available for his feet to stand on, his easel for his paintings and the work-table for his sculptures, Şenol has created a rich world. “In spite of everything”. It proves again that a brave heart and determined mind can reach high.
(The interview was done in April 2008)