Quarter with more or less still complete rows of typical Ottoman houses with
wooden balconies in small streets through which I have often walked, though
many are abandoned for decades. There is the scent of times long past,
and a kind of melancholic beauty envelopes the visitor. Each building has
stories to tell and luckily some very few of these treasures have been taken
over by artists or have been changed into cultural places. Others have been
given to tenants who cannot afford to maintain their place or even repair it.
Atelier and the American University of Cyprus have now organized an exhibition
before it will, most probably and hopefully, be renovated. But let the
organisers speak for themselves about this outstanding project:
Invitation: A distinctive interdisciplinary
art exhibition by SOL. Join us as the artists transform this historic building
into a unique experience.
No. 1 + 39 Exhibition
This exhibition is a collaboration of
various artists from Cyprus, France, Persia and the United Kingdom. These
artists have created their works of art through their own personal
interpretation and understanding of this building. They have focused on their
individual feelings and impressions and they created their works of art in their own
time and place.
This exhibition includes artistic
installations, paintings, photographs, a performance and a cinematic
installation. Participating artists are: Toya
Akpınar, Selis Tutkum Altınok, Mathieu Devavry, Arianna Economou, Sümer Erek,
Sinem Ertaner, Hayal Gezer, Nilgün Güney, Nurtane Karagil, Osman Keten, Lee
Maelzer, Omid Kalantar Motamedi, Şenol Özdevrim, Ayşe Rabo and Sibel Kemal
As a reminder of the history and the
past of the building and the general area, there is archival research by
Hadjilyra about the history of this building, the Soultanian family who
built this house and their family (including a family tree and several
photographs), the Armenian presence in the neighbourhood and a map with
information on the various places of interest in the Karaman Zade and Arab
Ahmed Pasha quarters.
Additionally, there are some photographs
of the last resident of this house and also used the basement as a shoe-making
workshop, provided by his son, Serhan Şensoy.
The exhibition will be open from
Thursday, 26 July 2018, until Tuesday, 31 July 2018, between 18:00-21:00 and it
is organised by SOL Atelier / Exhibition Hall and the American University of
the evening of the opening on July 26, the lanes served as reception spaces for
the many, obviously highly interested guests, quite a number had come from the
South as well. I could see and hear them discuss from the windows above when we
were let in, in groups of ten – for static reasons I believe. The exhibition
was taking places in two buildings, in No. 39 Hafiz Hasan Efendi Sokak and in
No. 1 Sht Salahi Sevket Sokak, just around the corner.
were sent up a narrow steep wooden ‘chicken ladder’ to the first floor, as they
were the customs in the old days. Here we were surprised to meet the ghosts of
former inhabitants in the rooms, a lady in white going to her boudoir, deep in
thought, a young girl reading and sleeping in her bed, a young man meditating,
some pieces of furniture and matrasses arranged as if the house was still
populated, performances some of the artists had arranged. I am sure we all had
the feeling of having woken up the old family members fallen asleep for
decades, just like in ‘Sleeping Beauty’.
Rooms became installations, filled with some articles of daily life next to a
painting, or photos, books, a poem, drawings….. the rooms became the frame to
the objects and artworks the artists had created, even soap bubbles came out of
one rooms, obviously the former room of a youngster.
the street corner, in No. 1 Sht Salahi Sevket Sokak, we found the former
atelier of a shoemaker in the basement below street level, where the old wooden
shoe forms were transformed into birds, they have been given wings around a
painting, and in that same building, one room, a space totally in white, with
time molten over objects. Ashes of the past, so very still, but telling its
touching stories, stories around the bric à brac on a chest.
here, a servant, slowly with her head bent, a figure of a different time level
served us with snacks on a tray she had brought out from the old kitchen of the
noble mansion. Crockery, broken cups, a big melon cut open, some bread crusts
and stuffed zucchini flowers. I took one and ate it, it was delicious, as if it
were made today.
as we left the building, a big full moon rose over the narrow lanes, it has
seen it all, long ago.