Questions raised after famous statue disappears in Ankara
ISTANBULThe disappearance last week of an enlarged and bronze version of renowned Turkish sculptor İlhan Koman’s statue in Ankara has caused a stir between the artist’s foundation and Ankara Municipality, with the former blaming the latter for failing to protect the artifact.
“The responsibility for this artifact belongs to Ankara Metropolitan Municipality; we are asking, how did the statue disappear?” said Yıldırm Arıcı, a representative from the İlhan Koman Culture and Arts Foundation, which was named after the artist.
An enlarged version of Koman’s statue that has been located in Ankara’s Seğmenler Park since 1991 disappeared last week, with the park’s security personnel claiming it was removed for restoration.
The statements of the personnel were later determined to be false as Ankara municipal officials admitted that the statue was actually stolen. “The police have been notified. The necessary work is being done,” an official said.
“The original of the artifact was constructed in 1978 as part of a clay statue series. It is currently located at the foundation. Its bronze version had been in the park for years and belonged to the people. How did a very heavy statue disappear so suddenly? This artifact, which belongs to the people, is under the responsibility of Ankara Metropolitan Municipality. What if the municipality has thrown [it] away, without telling anyone? Such a question appears. What happened to this artifact, was it stolen, what is its situation? We are expecting answers to these questions from the municipality. Later, we will file a criminal complaint,” said Arıcı.
Koman, who lived from 1921 to 1986, was a major figure in the history of Turkish modern and contemporary art. His statues – both monumental public works and smaller-scale series – explore the possibilities of form and the nature of materials. Driven by scientific ideas and a strong connection to nature, Koman’s abstract sculptural forms are rooted in minimalism and driven by a desire to discover “the unknown within the known.”