Crossing paths of Traditional Turkish Arts and Northern Cyprus
By Heidi Trautmann
In the Ottoman times this exquisite art form had its peak in the 16th century. The first workshop was erected on the premises of Topkapi to deliver documents and illustrated books to the Sultan and his entourage. The art form – and also artists - were brought from Persia and we find similar traditions in China. After Atatürk introduced the use of the Latin alphabet, it was feared that the beautiful fine art of calligraphy would be forgotten, that is, the miniature art which is figurative and illumination art which is a decorative and calligraphy book art. Today it is taught in the Turkish Decorative Arts Section at Fine Arts Academies in Turkey.
Sabriye Şeker is one of those artists to have studied this art form and she now teaches at her own studio in Istanbul those artists who have come with her to Cyprus for the exhibition of their work. These are: Silva Atiniz, Sevil Bayrak, Ayşegül Nalçaci, Zeynep Belkis Ocak, Gülümser Sarialioğlu, Çiğdem Ustaoğlu and Ümit Üstün.
They were invited by KANER Companies Group, a trade organisation with a wide international network trying to support art and culture in North Cyprus. I had the opportunity to talk to Eda Akdeniz responsible for Public Relations of the KANER Group and she mentioned also their social responsibility activities, for example with a painting competition for children from the SOS Children Village, organised by Gloria Jeans Coffees in 2011.
The income of the present exhibition at the Bedesten in Nicosia will entirely go to the Society for the Protection of Spastics for the Life House Project.
Old documents of this Ottoman book art can be found at the National Archive in Kyrenia for researchers to evaluate them and this is probably the deeper meaning of the title given to the exhibition: crossing paths, a bond of culture.
Unfortunately, the exhibition was open for five days only but if you want to learn more about the miniature and illumination art then visit Şeker Sanatevi’s website www.atolyeseker.com