Glassmaking is an ancient art that has tread a complex path to the present. This week I want to tell you about a successful name in Turkish art, glass artist Felekşan Onar. Her brand, Fy-shan Glass Studio located in Pera, Istanbul, was founded by Onar in 2006. The studio designs and produces limited-edition functional art, decorative objects and lighting, reflecting expertise in glass blowing, casting, fusing, lampworking and cold-work. Fy-shan Glass Studio collections have been shown in Istanbul, Berlin, Stockholm, Venice and New York.
The artist's "Perched/Birds without Wings" installation was included in the Berlin Islamic Museum show, which opened on Jan. 25 and continued to April 8, followed by a special gala. Onar drew attention to the plight of Syrian refugees with her work "Birds without Wings," which was greatly inspired by the view from her studio in the Pera district of Istanbul.
The artist explained her story by saying: "Refugees find themselves in the middle of a chaotic city. Since they don't know their future or where they will go, they sit on stairs and sidewalks as if they are perched there. They walk back and forth, but they are not able to fly away." Felekşan Onar designed 27 birds inspired by these scenes. Her work was exhibited in the Aleppo Room of the Islamic Arts Museum in Berlin. She has recently prepared two brand new projects set to go on display.
Since its first show in Berlin, the flock of "Perched" has grown. This is mainly for two specific reasons: First, since the beginning of this story, the artist intended to make 41 pieces as the number is important for her personally. Second, as she intended to show them in Western countries to raise awareness for this social and political calamity, exhibiting them at the same time in different locations more pieces were needed.
As a result, a flock of 99 swallows has grown in Berlin where she has been making them at Berlin Glass since April 2017 and will soon be on their way to two new destinations: 41 will be shown starting with "Refugee Week" organized at V&A, London between June 17 and June 24, while another group will be part of the curated show, "Oh What a World, What a World" at the Visual Art Center of New Jersey opening on June 1.
Another piece of good news about the artist comes from Venice. One of the primary architectural events of the world, the Venice Biennale 16th International Architectural Exhibition, will take place between May 26 and Nov. 25, 2108 in Venice. Simultaneously, Glass Week will take place from Sept. 9 to Sept. 16. Being the first Turkish glass artist invited to Venice Glass Week, Onar will participate in Glass Week with her "41X" works at the Palazzo Contarini Polignac.
A group of 10 contemporary design studios working in Istanbul will present selected original works to the New York design audiences this spring during Design Week in May 2018. Felekşan Onar will be one of those 10 artists. Co-curated by two Turkish architects on two continents, Koray Duman in New York and Füsun Eczacıbaşı in Istanbul, the exhibition will present a scene representative of contemporary life in Istanbul, featuring works by: Autoban, Begüm Cana Özgür, FEYZ Studio, Fy-Shan Glass Studio, Gorbon Tiles, Linens, Merve Kahraman, Mucs Studio, Santimetre and Stepevi.
This group of 10 represents the diversity of Istanbul's design scene, bringing together works by small independent creators as well as established design brands who work with a range of materials including ceramics, glass, textiles, wood and metal.
The common feature of the exhibited designs can be attributed to the unique collaborative process between Istanbul designers and craftsmen, which dates back centuries. Tapping into the talent fostered through the ancient tradition of artisanal guilds, Istanbul's cosmopolitan designers are able to work closely over time with artisans that have perfected their craft through generations. The design process remains truly local to Istanbul, while their design vision is unmistakably global. Please follow Onar's exhibitions and enjoy the privilege of participating them.