Mayor’s wax creations on display in Eskişehir
ESKİŞEHİR – Anadolu AgencyWhen he’s not busy running Eskişehir, Mayor Yılmaz Büyükerşen is known to dally in his other favorite pursuit: making wax sculptures. Now, Central Anatolia’s favorite Renaissance man has begun showing off his latest creations at Turkey’s first wax sculpture museum, which, appropriately enough, is named after him.
“Unforgettable actress Marilyn Monroe, the well-known late Turkish author Yaşar Kemal as well as journalists and television producers are among the statues,” Büyükerşen said.
“Late artist Zeki Müren’s first wax statue is in Eskişehir, too. His clothes were donated to the Turkish Education Foundation after his death. I received samples of these clothes and our own tailor made them. Our museum is the first in Turkey and has drawn many tourists,” he said about the Yılmaz Büyükerşen Wax Statues Museum in Eskişehir’s Odunpazarı district, which features 160 statues.
Also in the collection are Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his family members, various Turkish and foreign statesmen, artists, media members and athletes.
Opened in 2013, the museum has so far received 1 million visitors, while the revenues from the museum are donated for the education of girls and those with disabilities.
Büyükerşen’s start in making wax sculptures is legendary. The mayor visited London’s Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in 1996, only to view an Atatürk sculpture that bore little resemblance to the father of modern Turkey. Realizing that he could create a better Atatürk sculpture on his own, Büyükerşen rolled up his sleeves to do just that.
“Late businessman Mustafa Koç wanted to change the Atatürk statue in London and made an agreement with the museum to change it,” the mayor-cum-artist said. “The sculptor at Madame Tussauds Museum came and told me that he wanted to work with me. Then I went to London and we finished Atatürk’s statue. Now the museum there displays this statue.”
Statues around the country
Büyükerşen said he was working on statues on the weekends while also pursuing academic studies.
Büyükerşen said various Turkish cities were displaying now his wax statues, adding that İzmir’s Karşıyaka Municipality had turned a mansion owned by family members of Atatürk’s wife, Latife Hanım, into a museum.
“They demanded me to make wax statue of Atatürk, Latife Hanım and his mother, Zübeyde Hanım. I made the statues and sent them. I also made an Atatürk statue for the Aegean Industrialists’ building. I was requested to make the wax statues of Gen. İsmet Paşa as the commander of the western front and sent it to Akşehir. I also gave an Atatürk statue to the Atatürk Museum in Kayseri. The Turkish War Colleges is home to two of my Atatürk statues. The Naval Museum and the Naval Academy are home to the statues of Turkish soldier Rauf Bey and Atatürk, too. I gave an Atatürk to the military museum in Harbiye, depicting him sitting on a rock with his uniform. Recently, I gave an Atatürk statue to the İzmir Metropolitan Municipality,” he said.
Büyükerşsen said creating a wax statue required teamwork, adding that he was mostly working on the faces of the statues.
He said they had different materials for the hair, eyebrow, eyelashes, mustache and beard, adding that the statue-making included various stages such as painting and eye-making.