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ARTS: Colours of Turkey

Makerere gallery features explorations of ancient culture through paintings

Kampala, Uganda | DOMINIC MUWANGUZI | Turkey has a rich cultural heritage. It is largely known as part of the cradle of civilization in Europe with recorded history stretching back over 15,000 years ago. It remains a dominant influence on contemporary European social, cultural, and economic life.

Part of that influence is currently on show in an exhibition of artworks by Turkish modernist artists at the Makerere Art Gallery in Kampala.

The exhibition titled `Colours of Turkey; the Cradle of Civilisations’ has works that reflect the rich cultural heritage of Turkey’s Anatolian civilisation that is still evident today in its social-cultural practices.

It features artists like Sedef Yavuzalp an abstract, surrealistic and figurative painter who also happens to be Turkey’s ambassador to Uganda. Her works reveal her passion for conserving the rich cultural tradition of her country through art in order to inspire audiences across the globe.

“Cultures are the footprints of any nation, and should be reflected in art,” says Sedef Yevuzalp.

Her paintings of historical situations bear the influence of ancient mosaic paintings created thousands of years ago but reveal her own style of mosaic. She depicts her love for ancient traditional histories and mythologies of not only Turkey, but ancient cities of Greece, Rome, and East Africa.

Another featured artist, Ӧnder Aydin is also a surrealistic with a love for the Anatolian civilisations. Other featured artists are Mine ϋlger, Sϋkran Pekmezci and Hϋseyin Yildirim. All of their works celebrate Turkish culture and mythologies.

The paintings reveal the secular element of Turkey, which is a deeply Muslim religious community. The countries amalgamation of different traditions like Arabic, Christian, and Orthodox cultures, and interplay of Roman and Greek ancient cultures is manifested in the drawings. The diversity and fusion of cultures is an important inspiration and strength of Turkish society. It underlies its concept of humanity.

The Turkish exhibition is part of Makerere Art Gallery’s mission to promote heritage conversations and restoration in communities since the gallery falls under the Institute of Heritage Conservation and Restoration.

Hopefully, the exhibition will inspire the university students to embrace research through art and create art that is inspired by their indigenous cultural practices. But beyond such academic lessons, the exhibit provides an opportunity for Ugandans to experience Turkish civilisation through art.

The exhibition opened on Dec.15 and will run up to end of February 2018 at the Makerere Art gallery. It is supported by Turkish Airlines.

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