Picasso Mustafa turns village into art gallery
A retired Turkish and literature teacher, who is living in the western province of Manisa’s Salihli district, paints fruit and human figures on the walls of houses and gardens in the Çökelek neighborhood.
Mustafa Toga, 65, whose nickname is Picasso Mustafa, started painting the outer walls of his house two years ago. At the request of his neighbors, he painted various figures on the outer and garden walls of dozens of houses. Mostly painting animal and nature figures, Toga does not refuse special requests.
Last year he painted an eagle, the symbol of the Turkish football team Beşiktaş, on the wall of a house. He also painted Turkish cinema characters.
Named Picasso by locals, Toga does not accept money and he pays for dyes himself.
Speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency, Toga said he has been doing oil and charcoal painting for 40 years.
He said he decided to make oil painting on the façade of his house, and added, “I made the figures of horses, cows, grapes and the Maiden’s Tower on the walls. I also painted the figures of the unforgettable characters of Turkish cinema İlyas Salman and Şener Şen from the film ‘Çiçek Abbas.’”
He said the locals liked his paintings and asked him to paint the walls of their houses, too. “I have so far painted the façade of dozens of houses and gardens.”
Toga said he mostly painted figures reflecting the village life and soul.
“Because village life is important in our lives. In my neighborhood grape cultivation and breeding have priority. This is why I generally paint cows, sheep, chickens, roosters, grapes, corns and cotton figures on the walls. I try to reflect village life as well as issues on the country’s agenda in my paintings. For example, Beşiktaş became champion last year when I was painting the wall of a house. Then I put an eagle figure in the composition. Also, young people in the neighborhood love the late singer Barış Akarsu and I painted him too in one of my drawings,” he added.
Toga said people from other neighborhoods also asked him to make paintings for them, adding, “These works will remain as long as the walls remain. This is the best part of this hobby. People from different villages see these paintings when they come here and invite me to their villages. I go to their villages in my spare times and do the paintings they want.”