Engineer quits job, makes rag dolls depicting women's problems
by Anadolu Agency
ESKİŞEHİRMar 09, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Anadolu Agency
Mar 09, 2015 12:00 am
Erzurum-based Arzu Öner, who gave up her career in engineering to specialize in rag doll art, echoes many incidents and problems that women in Turkey encounter in their daily lives in her work. In her statement to an Anadolu Agency correspondent, Öner said that she worked as a civil engineer for 17 years, but she began making rag dolls due to problems that she faced in her professional life and her interest in art.
Stating that she was interested in many fields of art from ceramics to painting, Öner claimed that none of these art forms made her feel happy. "I conducted research on rag dolls. When I began making the dolls, I didn't know how to sew or use a sewing machine, but I learned after many trials. I am still working on how to make the best rag doll," she said, adding that she works on rag dolls 18 hours a day.
She said that she observes many problems and incidents that Turkish women experience due to the socio-cultural structure of Turkish society and tries to mirror these on her dolls, which she names differently. "Every woman is different from another, and all of them have different lives and stories," she said. "What they experience and their inner worlds can be understood from their clothes, speeches, postures and eyes. Each woman is a different world and each doll that I have made tells a story of a different woman. I write women's stories with rag dolls," she continued. She added that she illustrates incidents she comes across in her daily life through the rag dolls. "I watched the argument in the Parliament on TV the other day. That night, I made rag dolls that I named "frightened dolls," she said. Stressing that each doll reveals its own story, Öner said some of the dolls do not have mouths or some of them have zippers instead of mouths in order to criticize the oppression imposed on women to prevent them from freely speaking their minds.
Öner observes her surroundings closely before making her dolls in her workshop, and draws the image she visualizes in her mind on a piece of paper. Moreover, she uses plastic bottles, used paper, eggshells and natural glue to emphasize recycling. "We separated the plastic and glass bottles from other waste, but our doorman did not put them in the recycling bin so I began using plastic bottles in my work to protest," she said. Öner mostly uses clothes, paper, fabric, eggshells and plastic bottles in the making of rag dolls. She has made nearly a 1,000 rag dolls since she started and sold 200 of them at her first solo exhibition. "My dolls are very popular abroad among people who who are collectors," Öner said, adding that she sends rag dolls to France, Canada and many other countries. People who want to purchase Öner's dolls can contact her via the Internet. So far, she has only held one solo exhibition, but she has participated in two group exhibitions. Öner will open her second solo exhibition today.