Refugee experience front and center at Istanbul Triennial

Refugee experience front and center at Istanbul Triennial

Refugee experience front and center at Istanbul Triennial

AA photo

The Third International Istanbul Triennial will open its doors on the weekend with the aim of raising awareness for refugees with the theme of “No Land.”

The triennial, which will feature examples from conceptual and contemporary art at the Taksim Cumhuriyet Art Gallery, will mostly host videos and installations by 40 artists of various art disciplines around the world. 
The curator of the triennial, Hülya Yazıcı, said the event provided a field of freedom for artists. 

“I have been working on this project for one year. In parallel with the theme, we wanted to invite artists who had experienced migration. Most of them are Syrian but we also have a Slovenian artist and a Kirkuk artist living in Poland. We also invited other artists who are sensitive to this issue,” Yazıcı said.

She said they had organized the previous triennial in the same gallery but had failed to establish a connection between the gallery and the outside world.

“This is a good and big gallery. Although it is in a very good location at the intersection of the İstiklal Avenue and Taksim, the gallery is not particularly visited. Therefore, I am trying to establish a connection between the gallery and the outside world. I have set a few traps to draw people to the gallery. A graffiti artist has made a painting about the issue on the street. Also, a well-known Russian artist has made a 3D installation on the street, too,” she said. 

Yazıcı said the issue of migration was a problem in Turkey’s region. “We are already living with the issue. We are close enough to them to understand their pain. There is a global war and all plans are playing out on this land. Imperialist countries are trying to draw other countries into the war to use their natural resources. As a reaction to all these things, we wanted to use his theme.” 

Art also reveals mistakes

At the same time, art is also a tool to formulate a reaction that leads people to think, the curator said.
Viewers to the triennial will have an opportunity to see the traces of war and forced migration and share the feelings of refugees, she said.

She said the international community had become indifferent to the concept of refugee and that it had only become a source of inspiration for artists sensitive to the issue.

“The goal of the triennial is to raise awareness about the difficult life conditions of refugees and their migration,” she added. 

The 3rd International Istanbul Triennial, which opens on Sept. 3 with support from the Independent Art Foundation, can be visited for free through Sept. 25.