Heidi Trautmann

297 - EMAA HAS OPENED THE DOOR - Young Artists Abroad

Yeni Düzen has published an article written by Zehra Şonya, member of board at EMAA (European Mediterranean Art Association) representing a status report at the end of 2011.

It is a report of continuous progress of the target they have set themselves. I absolutely agree with what she says that art is one of the most significant subjects in education which is not sufficiently provided for in the school system. Art helps creating peace and understanding, it helps people to see things clearer. Here is her text:


Young Artists Abroad

Zehra Şonya


The European Mediterranean Arts Association (EMAA) aspires to contribute to Turkish Cypriot art, and since its foundation in 2002 our organization has been actively working towards attaining its objectives in this regard. One of the most important objectives of EMAA was to introduce the Turkish Cypriot society to a contemporary art centre, which was achieved last year. The centre which was founded with the support of the EU grant programme and Nicosia Turkish Municipality, has been receiving so much interest from public that the course quotas fill up within a day. While the centre caters for all age groups, rebuilding bridges between art and society, it also aspires to improve people's lives by emphasizing the functionality of art, especially the visual and contemporary arts. In doing so, the centre attempts to eliminate the gap between contemporary art and people. Studies have shown that the society has been craving for such an improvement in their lives, and the interest in learning more about art is rather substantial. In this respect, EMAA Capital Art Centre serves as an alternative to others, by appealing to those with an interest in contemporary art.

Since 2002, the organisation has given particular importance to institutionalisation and paving the way for the young people by promoting international initiatives. The events held by the organisation within the last couple of years, especially those organised within the framework of the EU Grant Civil Society Strengthening Programme and the networking achieved throughout these events have paved the way towards international initiatives. We are so proud that, after years of trying to keep our organization up and running, we are finally seeing years of hard work and effort really pay off. This goes to show that EMAA's organizational policies and strategies have been beneficial.

In September, EMAA recommended Serhat Selışık, one of the young artists, for a fifteen-day international artist development programme in Lefkara. As a result of another invitation from the same event, Sinem Ertaner and Esen Keçeci also attended another international programme which took place in the Sculpture Park in the Lake District, England. The artwork created jointly by Gökçe Şekeroğlu and Eser Keçeci, who attended the Wonder Women workshop this summer made an indelible impression on the viewers. In November, the artists travelled to New York to attend another event within the framework of the same project. The second Wonder Women project was exhibited at The Gowanus Studio Space, New York, Brooklyn. Apart from this, Sinem Ertaner, who took part in the young artist development programme alongside the Greek curator Xenia Kalpaktsoglou last June, attracted great attention from Pavlina Paraskevaidou with her work which featured a series of slight films which were previously dumped in one of the government buildings. Her work was featured in "The Location of Culture" exhibition in the Netherlands, alongside Gülsün Karamustafa and Hüseyin Çağlayan's pieces. The exhibition was opened in October, at Pulchri Studio, The Hague. Özgül Ezgin and Zehra Şonya also received invitation from Tütün Deposu, one of the most distinguished contemporary art centres in Istanbul, as attendees for the February 2012 -Açık Masa İştirak Programı, literally "Open Table Participation Programme". In addition, Özgül Ezgin will also attend the exhibition in Istanbul, Beyoğlu - Akbank Art Centre which is going to feature artwork of Adel Abidin, Yane Calovski, Bahar Behrani and Almagul Manlibayeva, Ipek Duben, Ahmet Ogut and Rheim Alkadhi. The exhibition curated by Başak Şenova will be open between 13th March and 21st April 2012. UNCOVERED is another exhibition held with contributions of EMAA which created a tremendous impression internationally (the exhibition itself drew 1600 viewers and the web page was viewed by over 45.000 people). The internationally recognised UNCOVERED artists who will take part in upcoming events abroad are as follows: Özge Ertanın & Oya Silbery, Görkem Müniroğlu & Emre Yazgın, Zehra Şonya & Gürgenç Korkmazel, and Erhan Öze.

European Mediterranean Arts Association (EMAA) aspires to contribute to Turkish Cypriot art, and since its foundation in 2002 our organization has been actively working towards attaining its goals in this regard. Apart from hard work and selfless dedication, the financial aid from the events held within the framework of the EU grant programme played a big part in such success. However, given the current circumstances, the continuation of this success is a big concern for us. The major problem the association faces is the lack of much needed of financial resources that are required in order to survive within an inconsistent governmental structure and maintain our international initiatives. Despite years of indifferent and ungenerous attitude towards art from the government, EMAA has managed to achieve an undeniable success, which should be taken more seriously by the government. The Ministry of Culture has to revise its impotent attitude towards art, and necessary steps should be taken towards developing deliberate policies. On the other hand, the government should stop hiding behind financial obstacles, and should budget for art as much as sports, especially football, if not more so, and the budget should be used towards necessary infrastructure works. The government should urgently introduce remedies to tackle this reprehensible issue. Any legal or financial adjustments should be made in order to inject art into everyday life, rather than limiting it to schools. One of the government's priorities should be to establish suitable structures to attract people, youngsters in particular, as well as working in cooperation with other civil society organizations that have contributed with several successful projects up until today. Artists long deserving of much greater recognition must be supported, and their creativity and productivity must be cultivated through structures that will ensure the permanent effect for the future generation. The bottom line is that the government must give the utmost importance to art and culture they deserve, and focus on a brighter future that art has to offer.


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