For the Cyprus Turkish Orthopaedic Disability Association
By Heidi Trautmann
Figen Inan’s philosophy of art is her deep interest in people living on the fringe of society such as physically or mentally disabled people. “It is not that they chose to live on the fringe of society but they are made to by society, a topic nobody really wants to speak about and that is my way of making aware how these people live, what their problems are but also what their joy and passion is within their world.”
Figen has come from London to live in Cyprus since 1979. She is interested in all sorts of artwork but prefers painting and photography. She has participated in an art workshop at EMAA’s Art Association and is now still working with artist Nicholas Panayi in his very good Art School in Nicosia South, and who is known for his bi-communal and social engagement.
“My first art project was ‘Little Angels’ which was based on children with mental and physical disabilities. I combine photography with painting with my projects since I want to reach the awareness of society for a theme they often disregard.”
I have been following up Figen’s activities, have seen her art projects and have reported on most of them. It is fine to make donations but that alone does not suffice, it is the living conditions, these people suffer from, and the respect they ought to have.
“To visit the families of the people of my project who are also directly concerned by the restricted life conditions, gave me courage and power of will to go through with my work. I think that is the right way to approach society to show them the problems by means of documents, painted documents or by photography.”
Her second project which had three parts to it was 'Don't hinder my Dreams’ which was a documentary by means of art and photography in cooperation with Neslihan Basaran, again based on children with mental and physical disabilities and ‘Two hundred Stars’. The latter event was a great success, I reported, a march through the old city of Nicosia with the disabled group accompanied by school classes, wearing all the same T-shirts with music and fun, and the afternoon spent in the garden of the Presidential Palace with games.
“It was also planned to have a TV programme in which personalities of society were supposed to meet and talk to them, but not all of those who were invited showed up….”
Figen’s new art project ‘Movement’ in which the TOPARLANIYORUZ Association is a partner, is coming up on December 4 - 8 at the Ismet Güney Art Centre in Nicosia, opening on Dec 8 at 18.30 hrs. Figen is a volunteer member in this association and within the framework of the exhibition the association has bought a wheelchair for the Cyprus Turkish Orthopaedic Disability Association.
“My artwork is based on adults in wheelchairs, people that have only physical disabilities and are full of love and passion for basketball. Watching them play was exciting for me and very touching and has motivated me more in my art work than I can say.”
“Not only society as such should take notice but also artists,” Figen says, “as life is not just about landscapes and beautiful things, it is the facts of life that we should carry to the awareness of our governments, that these people have a right to live and be respected, to be protected by suitable laws and given proper buildings so that they can all feel as free and independent as we do.