‘Tuhafiye’ at Gallery Apel
In the past, almost every district had a tuhafiye store, which sold unknitted sweaters, socks, threads for mending dresses and blouses, buttons of all kinds, needles, colorful ribbons and hairpins, drawing the interest of women mostly. All these were small clues to a magical world then.
What made it “strange” (“tuhaf”)? The word “tuhaf” (adjective), or tuhafiye, derived from an Arabic word originally meaning “present,” altered gradually in the Turkish language and for some reason was used to describe things which are far more different and distant from the mainstream.
Just like the other specialized shops or workplaces, tuhafiyes were also affected by the rapid changing of the city’s social life and the widespread development of shopping malls.
Demand for custom tailors and shops, which sell tailoring items, decreased a great deal by the growth of the readymade industry. In time, the surviving tuhafiyes, squeezed at the back streets of a few neighborhoods, had to widen the range of products they offered. Now the scenery they display is almost like a kind of installation art. The striking union of goods varying from glasses to pajamas, from slippers to plastic flower pots, from accessories to pots and pans are at the same time a kind of reflection of today’s consumption trends.
The artists in the exhibition are İdil Akbostancı, Yeşim Bayrak Avinal, Aydan Baktır, Ramazan Bayrakoğlu, Bayram Candan, Sakine Çil, Aslımay Altay Göney, Güler Güngör, Selma Gürbüz, Yücel Kale, Raziye Kubat, Suzy Hug Levy, Lerzan Özer, Leyla Sakpınar, Emre Senan, Elvan Serin, Maria Sezer, Rüçhan Şahinoğlu, Yıldız Şermet, Sibel Şuhubi, Gamze Taşdan, Sinem Üstün and Bahadır Yıldız.
The exhibition can be seen through March 25.