vendredi 25 novembre 2016

Paris-based Turkish artist: We have to fight our own demons

Three decades ago, in the wake of 1980 military coup, İsmail Yıldırım left Turkey to go to Paris, via Lebanon. He also helped his friend and prison-mate Yılmaz Güney, the award-winning Turkish director and actor, to escape. Despite Yıldırım’s flight, however, his mind and his paintings remained firmly on Turkey and Turkish issues.

“We all fight our own demons,” he said at the opening of an exhibition of his paintings at Galeri A in İzmir in western Turkey. “I am in Paris and likely to remain there. But most of my paintings, what I read and what I draw, are about Turkey.”

The paintings on the walls of the gallery, an old Greek house that somehow escaped the Great Fire of Izmir in 1923 and the brutal replacement of old houses with seven-storey apartments, confirm his words. Paintings with faces and figures against a dark background, with slashes of red and orange, are part of a series titled “Sivas” – in reference to the brutal burning of 35 people, mostly Alevi intellectuals, who had gathered for a cultural festival in Sivas, by a fanatic mob in 1993.

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