2016 / Fine Art / Other


  • Photographer
    Sarp Kerem Yavuz

One of the greatest experiments in creating a secular democracy for a Muslim nation has failed. Since the Gezi Park Proftests of 2013, my practice has been centered on the contemporary condition of Generation Y in Turkey, my generation, and our struggle to redefine and assert ourselves in a growingly conservative political landscape. I watched birds fall from the sky as clouds of teargas enveloped my city that summer, and my father’s fingers and ribs were broken by the police. I am interested in using staged photography to challenge the root of the issue, the residual Ottoman mentality that embraces a totalitarian regime. Contemporary political discourse in Turkey celebrates a reinterpreted, shining Ottoman rule that had no faults, no decay, no corruption. Day by day, this narrative is (super)imposed on us. In this body of work, I use projections of patterns scanned from various publications put out by the Turkish Ministry of Tourism and Culture, and designs from Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, to illuminate figures in darkness. Depicting the human is taboo in Islamic culture, and ornamental geometry and fractal art have developed as a result of this ban. I am interested in breaking this rule, using the product of the rule itself. While these pattern associated with Ottoman culture can be quite attractive, Ottoman governance practices embraced by the current ruling party have proven to be quite oppressive. Through the series Maşallah, I have been attempting to navigate the conflicts and alienation that arise as a result of the dual nature of my heritage.