Turkish-German dialogue celebrated with art
Hatice Utkan Özden
This year, Berlin hosts an exclusive exhibition for the commemoration of the 60th anniversary for celebrating the Germany and Turkey dialogue.
The occasion is the 60th anniversary of the recruitment agreement between Germany and Turkey as a central commemorative date for social diversity and the 10th anniversary of the artist residency program on the Bosporus.
Since 2021 is a very special year for German-Turkish relations, October marks the 60th anniversary of the German-Turkish recruitment agreement.
“The people who came to Germany under this agreement have enriched our country. Without them, the economic miracle would not have been possible. What has grown over the past 60 years is something unique. It shows that, in the end, it is people who connect us. That is why we founded the Tarabya Cultural Academy 10 years ago,” said Michelle Müntefering, the minister of State for International Cultural Policy and chairwoman of the Academy Council.
The Tarabya Cultural Academy allows artists from Germany to live in Istanbul for a period of time and work on their project ideas. The residents process their impressions and encounters in works that stimulate reflection. They deal with the current situation in Turkey and Germany and also with the complexity of German-Turkish relations.
The Tarabya Cultural Academy is a residency program in Istanbul. The program was founded in 2011 with the initiative of the German Bundestag to promote artistic exchange between Turkey and Germany.
Every year the Tarabya Cultural Academy brings together around 20 artists, who live and work in Germany, and German-Turkish artist tandems to network with the Turkish cultural scene under the auspices of coproduction grants, which are awarded in cooperation with the Allianz Kulturstiftung. This year all the artists gather for the festival.
The artistic and discursive contributions of the festival participants deal with local contexts, global challenges and current urban tendencies from a wide variety of perspectives. The German-Turkish relations at the time of the First World War thus formed an important starting point. Another anchor point is the 60th anniversary of the German-Turkish recruitment agreement, which set in train a migration process that has shaped and changed both countries.
[HH] Artworks on different cultural issues
Works on pressing issues, such as the climate crisis and urban transformation processes, also show how global issues affect both countries.
The artistic works that deal with women’s rights, LGBTQ and body politics bring social grievances into focus. In 2020 alone, 404 women were murdered in Turkey. Violence against queer people in public spaces is increasing and the pride parade has been banned for years. In 2021, Turkey withdrew from the Istanbul Convention, which aims to prevent violence against women across Europe.
Among these artworks, Viron Vert’s “Go like water” comes like water showcases the complicated language usage of Turkish culture. Full of metaphors, Vert’s work is a room installation conceived for the archive space of the exhibition.
The expression is a multi-layered expression of the eternal state of limbo occupied by people between departure and arrival, between embarking on a path and returning and between wanderlust and homesickness -- a complex dualism that has also been embodied by the Tarabya Cultural Academy through its history, its geographical location and its essential orientation.
The color-complementary architectural installation takes its title from a Turkish proverb with which travelers are bid farewell and unites spatial structure, various forms of expression and positions in cultural theory, journalism, film, visual arts, literature, music and the performing arts into a whole.