A new book on sculptor Tankut Öktem published
ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish society has been represented in Tankut Öktem’s sculptures. He is famous for large-scaled works.A new book in honor of Turkish sculptor Taner Öktem has been published on the fifth anniversary of his passing.
The book’s title, “An extraordinary master: Tankut Öktem,” is also the name of a new exhibition that has gone on display at Istanbul’s Caddebostan Culture Center.
The exhibition reflects the 64 years the artist spent creating many important sculptures in Turkey. His large-scaled sculptures have always attracted attention, such as the Manisa National Forces and Atatürk Monument, the Military Academy Monument, the Kastamonu Şerife Bacı Monument, the Zonguldak Mine Workers Monument, the Magosa Freedom Monument, the Amasya Monument and the Çanakkale Monument. Different parts of Turkish society are represented in Öktem’s sculptures, in which workers, villagers and farmers are the main characters. The artist preferred to speak and stay in touch with his subjects while making his sculptures.
Öktem was chosen as one of the best sculptors in the world for a piece titled “Love,” but became well-known in Turkey in the 1970s for his monumental works depicting Atatürk and the Turkish War of Independence, remarkable for their large number of figures. Öktem, who produced close to 1,000 bronze and stone sculptures throughout his six-decade career, is best known for the grand sculptures he designed for city squares in numerous Turkish provinces. Öktem was born in Konya in 1940 and his childhood was spent moving from one location in Turkey to another following the successive assignments of his veterinarian parents who were employed by the state. By his teens, he was already recognized as a child prodigy in sculpture and painting and he chose to concentrate on the former discipline after his enrollment in the ceramics branch of the Istanbul Fine Arts School. In third grade, he received first prize in a World Contest for Young Sculptors. He completed his education in Germany in 1962.
Öktem also created sculptures of Turkish stars. A statue of Barış Akarsu, a young Turkish artist who died in a traffic accident in 2007, was spearheaded by Öktem, who also died in a traffic accident himself before completing the statue. His daughters finished the piece and with the support of the Barış Akarsu Culture and Arts foundation, it was placed in Küçük Liman Culture Park in the northwestern province of Bartın’s Amasra district.
During the inaugural ceremony for the statue, Öktem’s life story was read and Bartın Gov. İsa Küçük called on people to obey and adopt traffic rules as a lifestyle, saying, “Then Öktem and Akarsu will wave their hands at us with smiling faces.”