Painter İbrahim Balaban dies aged 98
Turkish painter İbrahim Balaban died at the age of 98 in Istanbul. One of the best known Turkish painters, he had been in a hospital for about two weeks for a broken femur and died of multiple organ failure.
He will be buried in the northwestern province of Bursa’s Seçköy village, where he was born.
Balaban was known for his paintings depicting the poverty of Anatolian people.
“He was a very important value for Turkish painting. ... I wish he had drawn such an interest when he was alive. I am very happy that he saw his own museum when he was alive. Great artists should be shown this interest when they are alive,” said his son, Hasan Nazım Balaban.
Born in 1921, Balaban was imprisoned in 1942 at the age of 16 for growing cannabis and started painting in prison. After his release, he killed his enemy, who attacked the wedding house on the day he got married and then was imprisoned again in 1947.
In prison, he met the great Turkish poet and writer Nazım Hikmet, who was 20 years older than him. Thanks to Hikmet, Balaban improved his painting skills. Besides painting, he also studied philosophy, sociology, economy and politics in prison. The painter described his seven-year friendship with Hikmet in his book, “Şair Baba ve Damdakiler.” Hikmet wrote poems for his paintings, too.
Balaban made more than 2,000 paintings and authored 11 books.
He is survived by two sons, a daughter and five grandchildren.