Statements – Memories – Phenomena of Human Life
is a healing power, many know that, it is a multi-purpose tool to make
something visible in an artistic way. Experienced artists have the ability to
bring something to the surface so it can be seen, understood and handled
better. What is art, how far goes art and what is involved in its many facets.
Art is the expertise of…. presentation of an object, a situation, a phenomenon,
a social or political problem in a simplified or abstract form, dismantling the
‘thing’ from its covering, its mantle of protection or its veiling skins. All
art forms are tools with its specific forms of presentation, painting,
sculpting, theatre, literature, photography, and so on, and can all be used to
make a point. What is an artist? The way I see it, an artist is a highly
sensitive person who has all his senses well developed through his/her work, owns
a great perceptiveness of all things around and with hard training and belief,
he/she will be able to present them in a proper way. And as it is with every
living being, education and experience is the most important factor in the
development of a person, especially an artist. One cannot present hunger, pain,
love, happiness and unhappiness if one has not gone through these experiences.
I heard that a ballet dancer will only be an accomplished dancer when he has
crossed the valley of pain, that had most impressed me when a child.
Erek is such a person, such an artist. I did an interview with him for the
second volume of my book ‘Art and Creativity in North Cyprus’. Here a short
paragraph to introduce him. The entire interview is attached below.
Multidisciplinary conceptual artist
Born in Limassol
A house is a
place where spirit and art can reside
roots, earth, identity, refugees, displacement, conflict, loss: these are the
elements that are included in Sümer Erek’s interpretation of ‘house’. Not
simply a roof over one’s head, providing the freedom to express one’s
personality but also, as he says, a home for the arts.
I met Sümer Erek
during one of his visits to Cyprus when he sees his family and friends, coming
for one of his own exhibitions or to an exhibition of his artist friends. For
many years now, his base has been in London with his house and his studio, his
work and his immediate recognition, but his heart is in Cyprus, an aching
Sümer was born
with an immense curiosity and an ever questioning mind. “My curiosity stopped
at nothing, exploring, researching from early age on. There were books
available to me at the house of my uncle who was an archaeologist. Questions
formed when I saw my uncle working and I always received answers. Also my
parents were creative people, my father a carpenter and my mother a
tailor. Creativity was a daily exercise
for us, creativity also in the wider sense for me, enabling me to get the
things I wanted, to be creative at earning my own money which made me
I was regarded an arrogant little fellow because I was rather
Erek knows pain, he knows about the difficulty to identify and handle the pain
to dismantle it. In this project which was shown in the ArtRooms in Kyrenia he
speaks about it, about his experiences from 1974 – 2018 and how he went about a
pain, a double pain of loss and of his own near death. It happened in Istanbul
in 1974 during the civil war, that he and his friend were kidnapped and shot.
Read the story in the link below, a review of his exhibition and live
performance in Brussels. This 1974 event changed his life and his understanding
of art. Over 40 years have passed and – as he said to me when I visited the
exhibition – it was through my work on this project that I faced my
encapsulated pain and brought it to the surface.
exhibition has ended today, it was on for a whole month, but I could not attend
to it before having found myself in a similar phase of pain. However, I wanted
to talk about it and share my few photos with you. It is what art is about, at
least one important part of it: it is to interpret life and the many
experiences one goes through.
main part of the project was the establishment of one book for each year passed
since that deadly encounter in 1974, i.e. 40 books and for the Unlived Days of
his murdered friend, that makes 14.600 posters altogether, he shows on screen
over eight hours. Posters worked on the basis of a drawing he once did of his
friend and of photos he had. Next to it, on another screen, artist friends read
the thoughts and comments from family members and others, just like facing a
Wailing Wall. The exhibition is an emotional journey and pain is the vehicle,
encountering portraits and stops on the way. Sümer Erek was present and guided
you, Sümer, for sharing.