CerModern presents Turkey’s underwater richness
A new exhibition at CerModern, featuring photographs revealing the underwater richness of Turkey, will take visitors to the magical world of underwater with its light, sound effects and video presentations.
The opening of the exhibition was organized on Nov. 16 with the attendance of Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, Deputy Foreign Minister Yavuz Selim Kıran and ambassadors of some countries.
The exhibition, titled “Blue Heritage,” which features photographs taken by underwater archaeologist Harun Özdaş and underwater photographer Çağatay Erciyes during their work on the “Turkey Shipwreck Inventory Project,” presents visitors Turkey’s blue heritage covering a time span of approximately 4,000 years, from the Bronze Age to the Ottoman era.
Curated by CerModern, the exhibition aims to take visitors on a journey to the depths of the blue world with 58 photographs, light, sound effects, video presentations and ancient amphorae brought from the Bodrum Museum.
Özdaş and Erciyes attributed the exhibition to Turkish sponge divers who guided the discovery of many shipwrecks in Turkey.
The exhibition, which is a first in its concept, also includes a photograph of the first artwork found in underwater shipwrecks in the Mediterranean.
Speaking to the state-run Anadolu Agency, Özdaş said that they aim to make the underwater cultural heritage visible.
Emphasizing that Turkey has an important cultural richness in the sea as well as on land, Özdaş said: “There are hundreds of ships that sank in a wide period of time, from the 18th century B.C. to 1915, that is a period of about 4,000 years. The general theme of the exhibition is the photographs of the ships identified in this process.”
Özdaş stated that they selected the works for the exhibition among thousands of photographs taken during the dives made to reveal the existing cultural property, adding, “We have a variety of finds such as plates, tiles, amphoras, capitals, artworks and sculptures.”
Ambassador and underwater photographer Erciyes stated that they aimed to promote the underwater cultural riches and “blue heritage,” adding that they believed the exhibition would also contribute to the promotion of Turkey.
Noting that Turkish sponge divers played a major role in the emergence of underwater archeology as a discipline, Erciyes said: “Many underwater excavations have been carried out in Turkey since the 1960s. Turkish sponge divers are the ones who show the shipwrecks to archaeologists during these excavations. Most of the artifacts unearthed from the shipwrecks that are on display at the Bodrum Underwater Archaeology Museum are the artifacts that sponge divers showed to archaeologists. This is why we attribute this exhibition to Turkish sponge divers.”
Yahya Coşkun, the deputy director-general of Cultural Heritage and Museums, explained that Turkey has the richest seas in the world in terms of underwater archaeology and that it is home to many unique and precious artifacts in the sea as well as on land.
He said that the underwater archaeology studies in the world started in Turkish territorial waters, adding that the Turkey Shipwreck Inventory Project became the largest shipwreck inventory not only in Turkey but also in the world.
Emphasizing that their priority is scientific studies, Coşkun said: “These photographs were also taken primarily for scientific data. But the photographs are also incredibly poetic. They turn into a visual feast with the difference and contrast of colors underwater, revealing unseen artifacts. The exhibition will be a truly unique experience for visitors.”
Organized under the auspices of the Culture and Tourism Ministry and with the support of the Foreign Ministry and Dokuz Eylül University Underwater Cultural Heritage and Maritime History Application and Research Center (SUDEMER), the exhibition can be visited at Ankara’s CerModern until Dec. 19.