Initiated by the Vehbi Koç Foundation (VKV), Meşher opened its doors in September 2019 as an exhibition space characterized by a broad spectrum of disciplines. As such, it aims to answer a need by providing a dedicated infrastructure for a wide range of programming.
With its overall interdisciplinary approach, Meşher advocates the creation of new dialogues across time and cultures, not only through its exhibitions but also its comprehensive array of parallel activities such as publications, workshops and conferences. The exhibitions are mainly conceptualized and produced in-house through a network of collaborations with national and international experts, curators, and institutions, thus providing a platform of dialogue and inspiration in Turkey and abroad.
Meşher’s characteristic historical building was first mentioned in the Charles E. Goad map as Friedmann Apartments, and later referred to as Meymaret Han on the 1932 map of Jacques Pervititich, which presumably indicates that its architect might have been Petraki Meymaridis Efendi. Under the Republic, the building changed its name to Meymenet Han, as indicated in the 1950 map by Suat Nirven. Restored between 2007 and 2009, the building housed VKV’s contemporary art space Arter until 2018.
Located in the historic and cultural center of Istanbul, on the pedestrian Istiklal Street, Meşher, which takes its name from the Ottoman Turkish word meaning exhibition space, aims to heighten public understanding and appreciation by attracting the widest possible audience, thus leading to greater cultural awareness and discernment.