I-You-They

A Century of Artist Women


October 9, 2021–March 27, 2022


I-You-They: A Century of Artist Women features a selection of works by artist women who lived and worked in Turkey between roughly the 1850s and the 1950s. Realized under the patronage of Çiğdem Simavi and curated by Deniz Artun, the exhibition derives its name from one of Şükran Aziz’s exhibited works. The exhibition not only recognizes each woman, most of whom could not realize themselves and therefore were overlooked and neglected by art history, but also searches for the grounds for making a collective “we”.

I-You-They points to “another” time where all women and works that remained outside the straight lines drawn from a name, group or institution towards one another are remembered and told and presents these artist women with a “century” of their own.

The exhibition spreads across three floors of the Meşher building with 232 works by 117 artists. The entrance floor “I” is for unsung women who are only faced with their mundane existence in the mirror. Mirrors placed in different corners of the exhibition space are meant to catch a glimpse of more than one face or facet of a single woman. Remembering that there were moments when women deliberately erased or scratched their own names from history, these mirrors also work as a “magnifying” medium held up to those who failed to reflect the sparks of their creativity on history.

The first floor “You” offers an encounter with the soft and unifying other and calls out for children as the primary “you”s. Most of the exhibited portraits and self-portraits are selected to contemplate the experience of motherhood and subjectivity, the definition of family and compassion, the power of creativity and immortality. “You” also juxtaposes the sanctity of motherhood with the sensuality of nudity.

The second floor “They” casts a look at women through the eyes of others. Flowers, especially when they are in a vase, are evocative of all the adjectives attributed to women: emotional, vulnerable, amateur-spirited, ordinary, domestic and decorative. Expected to depict the safe and the elegant, many artist women were able to express themselves only by painting flowers in a vase. Therefore, flowers scattered all around the top floor of the exhibition without favoring any one artist or work over another, offer an alternative to a schematic family tree and a linear art history. I-You-They does not claim to write this history. On the contrary, it recalls and reminds us that this history to be written is not singular, but plural. It is a call to a “we” in and through which each woman and each work can construct its very own history.

Artists: Naile Akıncı, Nükhet Aksoy, Maide Arel, Hale Asaf, Perran Berrünnisa Atamdemir, Jülide Atılmaz, Can Ayan, Neşe Aybey, Şükran Aziz, Hatice Şahiye Barlas, Iraida Barry, Behice Nuri, Saime Belir, Belkıs Mustafa, Lerzan Bengisu, Sabiha Bengütaş, Nimet Berdan, Aliye Berger, Semiha Berksoy, Mevhibe Meziyet Beyat, Deniz Bilgin, Zerrin Bölükbaşı, Zabelle C. Boyajian, Sabiha Bozcalı, Halet Çambel, Refia Edren Çiray, Nevin Çokay, Hamiye Çolakoğlu, Gül Derman, Didar Tahsin, Şükriye Dikmen, Tiraje Dikmen, Güzin Duran, Ayhan Dürrüoğlu, Afife Ecevit, Nazlı (Emin) Ecevit, Efruz Cemil, Melahat Ekinci, Esma Ekiz, Emine Semiyye Hilmi, Selma Emiroğlu, Özden Akbaşoğlu Ergökçen, Nebahat Erkekli, Mari Ertoran (Kaloyan), Semiha Es, Esma İbret Hanım, Eren Eyüboğlu, Fatma Saime Cenap, Seniye Fenmen, Sühendan Fırat, Bilge Friedlaender, Lina Gabuzzi, Filiz Özgüven Galatalı, Ruzin Gerçin, Mari Gerekmezyan, Vildan Gizer, Nevide Gökaydın, Beyza Gönensay, Bedia Güleryüz, Hatice Süleyman, Hayriye Nuri, Seta Hidiş, Sara Farhi Huntzinger, Selime Işıtan, Mürşide İçmeli, Nasip İyem, Naciye İzbul, Sare İsmet Kabaağaçlı, İvon Karsan, Gencay Kasapçı, Nevzat Kasman, Sevim Kent, Türkan Kıran, Sabahat Kırlı, Füreya Koral, Hakkiye Koral, Emel Korutürk, Melike Abasıyanık Kurtiç, Müreccel Küçükaksoy, Harika Lifij, Mihri Rasim (Müşfik), Yıldız Moran, Muhterem Ömer, Muide Esad, Müfide Kadri, Nedime Ahmet, Nevin Edhem, Nimet Raif, Nüveyre Faik, Maryam Özacul (Özcilyan), Necla Özbay Özdemir, Rahime Yusuf Ziyaeddin, Rana Salih, Ruhiye, Safiye, Kristin Saleri, Mukaddes (Erol) Saran, Bedia Sarıkaya, Leyla Gamsız Sarptürk, Melek Celal Sofu, Harika Söylemezoğlu, İvi Stangali, Virginia Stolzenberg, Emel Şahinkaya, Maryam Şahinyan, Nasra Şimmeshindi, Şükûfe İbrahim, Tâciser Salih Şâkir, Cahide Tamer, Leman Tantuğ, Zekavet Bayer Taş, Frumet Tektaş, Celile Uğuraldım, Melahat Üren, Mary Adelaide Walker, Fahrelnissa Zeid, Elisa Pante Zonaro


Publication

The Constantinople Years
A Century of Artist Women
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