Artist paints ‘Turkish Saga’ in cities he visits with caravan

Artist paints ‘Turkish Saga’ in cities he visits with caravan

Ece Çelik – ISTANBUL
Artist paints ‘Turkish Saga’ in cities he visits with caravan

A Turkish artist has been traveling the country with a caravan he bought in October 2020 and has been painting extinct cities, historical artifacts, and people inspiring him on his canvas within the scope of a project he named “Turkish Saga.”

Accompanied by his Italian fiancee, Chiara, Ardıç Aguş has made 40 paintings in seven months.

“We will be on the roads for one more year. My target is to have 120 paintings by then,” Aguş said.

Starting the journey from the northwestern province of Çanakkale last October, the couple stopped over in Gallipoli and the ancient cities of Troy and Assos, and the artist commenced the “Turkish Saga” without losing time.

“I started painting there in Çanakkale. Drawing the daily lives of the Turkish people makes me sentimental,” the artist said happily.

What makes him emotional about this trip and project is “his longing for the country” as he left Turkey when he was young.

“I have been far away from Turkey since I was young. I got painting training in Britain at lycee. Then I went to Florence, Italy, to learn classical painting technics,” he said.

After his master-apprentice relationship at John Michael Angel’s atelier under a “military discipline,” in his words, Aguş started thinking about what he would do afterward.

“Being locked in an atelier drawing all day will force me to have a monotonous life. My gut told me to go to Turkey,” he said.

“The 19th-century artists advised their apprentices to paint in nature. So I followed the footsteps of these artists and gave ear to this advice, as painting in nature feeds an artist,” he added.

Being away from Turkey for a long time, Aguş dreamed of returning to his home country to his fiancee.

“She got excited as soon as she heard the news, and we started the ‘Turkish Saga’ project together,” Aguş noted.

For her part in the project, Chiara is the caravan driver and the decision-maker for the route.

While Aguş paints, Chiara takes photos and videos of moments and upload all of them to their social media accounts.

“We started our journey from the northwest side of the country and want to finish it through the northeast,” Aguş said. He wants to finish the project by painting the archaeological site of Ani in the eastern province of Kars as his final work.

When asked how people react when they see him painting, he replied, “All welcomed us warmly. People who saw us brought us tea or food and opened a conversation.”

Talking about an unforgettable experience he had on meeting an old woman in the Fethiye district of the southwestern province of Muğla, he said: “I was drawing the rock tombs. A woman came and gave me the idea of drawing on a bigger canvas.”

The artist intends to exhibit his “Turkish Saga” project once it’s complete in three countries: Turkey, England and Italy.