Saturday, 26 September 2015


O look, Istanbul has decided to throw an art and culture Bienali in honour of my return. The theme is Tuzlu su ( Saltwater) which is apt given it could mean my tears at leaving my folks in Australia, my tears at the thought of leaving Istanbul, tears of joy when Istanbul delights me or quite simply my good friend - the Lady Boss.  There are lots of little installations set up all over the city but the ones I chose to visit are on Buyukada ( Big Island) which is about an hour ferry ride from the European side of Istanbul. And the best bit is the displays are free and in English. Actually, the second aspect I think is a bit of a shame. I mean it is nice for me to be able to understand what is going on but is not very inclusive for all the Istanbullis who do not have a command of the language. Such a pity. One of the hardest things in my classes here has been to engage my students in discussions about art. It doesn't tend to rate for a lot of them to the extent that when I have asked them to tell me their favorite painting in the world they often simply say the portrait of Ataturk hanging in Ankara. That is not to say it isn't a fine portrait but it is not really what I mean when I ask them about art.
And yet the incredible thing is my most favorite painting in the world is done by a turkish painter - Osman Hamdi Bey.

Anyway  Buyukada was very pleasing. I got to lay down in the hull of a moored ferry on a bed made out of ropes and get hypnotized. I saw a great video montage about Trotsky. And my favorite was this set of sculptures  set out in the sea just off the island.

Crazy, gorgeous ideas.

I loved the juxtaposition of these absurd animals against the mad skyline of Istanbul

There was even an emu!

Of course I had to join in.

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