Old İznik tiles revived by muralist couple

Old İznik tiles revived by muralist couple

UŞAK - Anadolu Agency
Old İznik tiles revived by muralist couple

AA photo

Turkey’s first and only female muralist, Nursen Güven, and her husband Güvenç Güven bring İznik’s historical art of tiles, used in the most magnificent Ottoman structures in the 16th century, into the present with their artworks.

Güvenç Güven, who joined an exhibition titled “16th Century Technical İznik Tiles” in the western province of Uşak, said that he and his wife had been working on the hand-carved works of Edirme Selimiye Mosque, Istanbul Sultanahmet Mosque and Rüstempaşa as well as restoring their original design and color after some 200 years.

Güven said that she had taken classes from tile master Faik Kırımlı, and established their own workshop with her husband to start working on İznik tiles. He said that they had made original design and color compositions of hand-carved ornamentation of some 50 mosques in Turkey and abroad.


Nursen Güven and her husband
Güvenç Güven pose with their
works in an exhibition in Uşak.
They bring life to İznik’s historical
art of tile-making in their works.
AA photo

Art neglected with Westernization

“The art of tile had its heyday in the period of Kanuni Sultan Süleyman and Mimar Sinan in the 16th century. With the effect of westernization, this art was neglected in the 17th century. Later on, despite many trials in the Republic era, it could not reach its former magnificence. Thanks to his research, especially in the archives of the Topkapı Palace in 1960s, my teacher Kırımlı succeeded in making the İznik tile with the original technique. I found him in 1995 and took classes from him. We have reached a certain level within a short time since we adapted it in our mind and heart,” Güven said, adding that they had opened many exhibitions in Turkey and abroad. “We unite our knowledge and experiences with my husband and continue working today.”

Güven said that with the exhibitions abroad, they found chance to represent Turkey in an international arena, and added, “We have been participating in international events to represent Turkey for nearly 12-13 years. We have participated in events in countries like Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Bahrain. Also, we have artworks in special collections of museums in Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. We were the winners of a traditional art event, which was organized in 2006 with the participation of 30 countries.”

Turkey’s first female muralist Nursen Güven said that it was a hard work to make İznik tiles, adding, “We make them using materials like sand and stone. It normally takes one or two months to make a tile. The designs made on it can take from three to five days up to three to five months.”