It was four years ago when the London branch of the Yunus Emre Institute (YEE) introduced a new exhibition series with the participation of Turkish artists living in the United Kingdom. The “Turkish Community Art Exhibition” has been bringing together both professional and amateur Turkish artists to create solidarity and unity within the Turkish community living in the U.K. since 2019.
Held with the call of “Let’s Come Together Under Art,” the exhibition series began displaying its works online following the COVID-19 restrictions in 2021. The show has since become all the more accessible for artists across the U.K. and has drawn the attention of international platforms as well. As a result, the fourth edition of the event achieved another success with the highest number of applications received so far.
The fourth “Turkish Community Art Exhibition,” which was opened online on Feb. 21, can be viewed on YEE London’s website until March 21. Launched with an opening ceremony attended by successful artists and important figures, including Ümit Yalçın, the Turkish ambassador to London, and Bekir Utku Atahan, the Turkish consul general to London, the show presents 70 works by 53 artists. Among the participating artists are Abdullah Harun Ilhan, Alev Alkan Tüfek, Ali Ergin, Arzu Taylan Ersöz, Ayfer Mills, Aynur Elif Boyraz, Aynur Kocaoğlu, Ayşe Kongur, Ayşe Özlem Yüksel, Ayşe Şule Yüksel, Ayşegül Coles, Beril Özeroğlu, Bilal Köse, Cansu Saraç Engin, Demet Tok-bay, Dilber Duygu Temur, Dilek Evin, Eda Ermağan, Eda Özlem Sipahioğlu Diler, Ednee Caldin, Esma Uğurluoğlu, Eylül Özmen Yüksel, Funda Evsenel, Gita Serin, Hatice Gür, Ipek Albayrak Townsend, Meryem Küçük, Mehmet Özmen, Meltem Bayrak, Merve Kahraman, Mesude Afzalov, Mine Bayar, Müge Koçak, Nur Akyıldız, Recep Yıldırım, Refie Nureddin Rufi, Rina Bakış, Sanem Güvercin, Şerife Orak, Serpil Çalışkan, Sevda Uykan, Sevim Çakır, Sevim Gelgeç, Sibel Pekgöz, Şöhret Başaran How-ells, Soyut Özmen, Tuğçe Karapınar, Tuğçe Özgelen, Ümit Demirbağa, Vedia Asım and Zerrin Bucaklı.
In the exhibition, each artist has their own online section you can scroll through. You can select artworks to see their descriptions and take a closer look into the background of the artists. As the show has provided a space for a wide range of artworks from traditional to modern arts, there is something for all interests and ages.
The exhibition starts with the acrylic works by Alkan Tüfek, who has been pursuing her career in the U.K. since 2009 by focusing on acrylics, oil painting and prints in particular. In her “Bath Abbey” and “Weymouth” for the YEE exhibition, she portrays town views featuring architectural and natural beauty. In the first acrylic, Bath Abbey, which is a must-see landmark for visitors, is depicted with brown hues and clouds that enhance the architectural beauty of the scene with a fairy-tale touch. The second one brings a seaside scenery by which we are always fascinated. Immortalizing Weymouth, the painting reflects the unique, colorful nature of the town with its pretty houses adding an expressionist touch.
Another impressionist painting takes viewers to the Marmara Sea with a depiction of a ferry in the Bosporus. For her “Istanbul Ferry,” Gelgeç takes inspiration from the city where she was born. She finds that once you are on the ferry, you feel like you have a free ride with your dreams, which takes you wherever you want to go.
For those who are looking for different flavors in the exhibition, Engin, Yüksel and Sipahioğlu Diler offer work exploring nature and architecture in different forms. While Engin’s ceramic tile works in which she visualizes marine animals provide insight into the secrets of the sea world, Yüksel's works represent harmony and peace and have been created using neuroart drawing techniques. Sipahioğlu Diler, on the other hand, welcomes viewers with ink drawings depicting Istanbul’s Ortaköy with its famous mosque and the Bosporus bridge in the background and London with the landmarks Big Ben, the London Eye and the Tower Bridge, respectively. You will surely hear the sound of classical music while examining the works by Alkan Tüfek and Sipahioğlu Diler.
The exhibition also displays works for those who are willing to examine traditional arts. Orak’s illumination works and Evsenel’s paper marbling works combine the traditional elements with modern touches, giving rhythm to their patterns and depictions. Inspired by the beauty of Alaçatı, one of the famous touristic places in Turkey, Orak paints a blue door, using different kinds of illumination techniques. Evsenel chooses to depict four incredible forces that have shaped our planet since its birth and allowed life to flourish. In her marblings, colors representing volcanoes, oceans, glaciers and atmosphere dance in a mesmerizing harmony.
Installations and sculptures also find their unique places in the exhibition. For example, an art doll by Temur portrays the famous painter Van Gogh and his favorite sunflowers, reflecting the artist’s passion for art on his face. Akyıldız’s “Dis(Connected)” also presents a wire phone sculpture revolving around the themes of human emotions, life and death and nostalgia. The artist explains her work: “It is a reflection on my experiences with losing loved ones and how I dealt with those emotions. The continuous ringing implies how I am unable to contact them.”
You can visit the “Turkish Community Art Exhibition” online on the website of YEE London to examine many other mesmerizing works selected from over 144 artworks from 61 artists.