Garajistanbul celebrates 5th year by honoring sponsors

Garajistanbul celebrates 5th year by honoring sponsors

ISTANBUL-Hürriyet Daily News
Garajistanbul celebrates 5th year by honoring sponsors

Rıza Kocaoğlu (L), Kıvanç Tatlıtuğ (C)

Garajistanbul offered its thanks to the sponsors and collaborators who have been by its side in its five-year journey, with an installation made to honor them and an unforgettable live performance by the McCoy Tyner Trio.

Founded in 2007 as an art collective by Övül and Mustafa Avkıran and with the aid of some 87 institutional and individual supporters, garajistanbul held a re-launch cocktail party yesterday, showcasing its renovated inner design. The party was attended by Beyoğlu Mayor Ahmet Misbah Demircan, as well as prominent names from artistic circles such as actor Kıvanç Tatlıtuğ, actress Nurgül Yeşilçay and actress Derya Alabora.


Beyoğlu Mayor Ahmet Misbah
Demircan (L) poses with the
owner of Garajistanbul,
Övül Arıkan.

Speaking at the event, Mayor Demircan said garajistanbul constituted a special place in his plans to change Beyoğlu district into a center of arts and culture, rather than simply an entertainment area. Recalling 2007, when Övül and Mustafa Avkıran visited him to ask for his permission to turn the ground floor of the Galatasaray Parking Lot into an art center, Demircan said garajistanbul had proved to be a very appropriate project in accordance with the municipality’s plans about the district, in terms of its multidisciplinary approach to arts.

“When I became mayor in 2004, İstiklal Street was full of recreation facilities from Taksim Square down to the Galatasaray area. In Galatasaray it was dead. Beyoğlu deserves more than being a simple recreation area, and we are determined to change it into a well-established center of arts and culture.”

Kıymet Daşdan, the sculptor of the work titled “Buttress” located by the entrance of the club, is among the team that has been shaping the interior design of renowned Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk’s soon-to-open Innocent Museum. Speaking to the Hürriyet Daily News at the party, Daşdan said her participation in the garajistanbul project came through the restoration architect Cem Yücel.

“We had to take a break in what we were doing in the museum because we were waiting for some extra materials. In garajistanbul, the owners wanted to have a ‘supporter’s wall’ in the new design, so that they would be able to both offer their thanks and tell the story of their five-year history. They agreed that this wall should be built by an artist. That is how they contacted me.”

HDN Daşdan presented her project in December, and the building of the work took around a month. “We had to work night and day to get it done before the re-opening,” she said.

Her work consists of 87 supporting buttresses, symbolizing the venue’s supporters, and 41 LED screens, showing a selection of nearly 300 photographs of past events at the club.

The McCoy Tyner Trio also gave an unforgettable live performance at the party.

The club awaits a wider Istanbul audience in the coming days, with a series of art events including concerts, theatrical performances, and dance shows.