Master Artists

RAISING HIS HEAD BRIEFLY FROM HIS ‘OTTOMAN’ WORK AND GLANCING OUT HIS STUDIO WINDOW, MINIATURIST TANER ALAKUŞ ‘SEES’ BYZANTIUM.

 The traditional Turkish Islamic arts of calligraphy, miniature painting, book illumination and paper marbling are coming together in the exhibition “41 Master Artists-41 Works of Arts-41 Times Maşallah” held at his studio in Kariye by Turkey’s leading miniaturist, Taner Alakuş.  All of the artists whose works are included in the show, which starts on April 30th, are prominent figures. We collected aphorisms from 18 of them.

ALPARSLAN BABAOĞLU
A person who works with his hands is a worker. A person who works with his hands and his brain a craftsman. A person who works with his hands, his brain and his heart is an artist. Everything done with love is art.

YRD. DOÇ. ALİ RIZA ÖZCAN
Art is a journey beyond the ego.Art is the right angle in the chamber of the soul.

AHMET ZEKİ YAVAŞ
Art: making the ugly beautiful and the beautiful even more beautiful.

PROF. DR. ÇİÇEK DERMAN
Art comes into being when training, effort and patience interlock. In our traditional arts especially, the purpose of art is not to produce works but to turn ourselves into a work of art that will enhance our moral character. If art is made with the joy and ardor of worship, the result will be magnificent.

DİLEK YERLİKAYA
Art is a person’s reflection of himself. Every brushstroke I make is the dance of my colors. The dance of my art is the colors that are diffused when the rainbow touches the earth. The colors of peace, happiness, sadness, joy, tears and childhood that are in me - these are what I can add to my art. This is what I want to express in every brushstroke.

EMEL OGAN
When love of the universe is combined with the artist’s personality, sensitivity, aesthetics and concern for and sense of beauty and the works created are entrusted to eternity.

FATMA ÖZÇAY
Art is the beauty deep in a person’s soul, and it elucidates for us the Creator of the Universe, the true artist.

FUAD BAŞER
Art is the way to becoming a man through discovering the beautiful, developing its execution, and then sharing it.

PROF. DR. FARUK TAŞKALE
The art of illumination for me is a means of expressing myself and finding release.The shaping of my feelings, beliefs and experiences in colors, motifs, composition and harmony. This emotion and desire are endless and steadily growing, like the universe.

TANER ALAKUŞ
Art is the spiritual connection between teacher and student. Just as art is the sultan of the spirit, so the practicing artist must be the humblest among those spirits. Art is the artist’s own paradise.

YRD. DOÇ. HÜSEYİN GÜNDÜZ
For art lovers and calligraphy buffs a beautiful inscription is a beautiful picture. For the artist who creates the work, it reflects his inner world on paper in lines, shapes, colors and beautiful words. Calligraphy is a language. It gives rise to a silent communication between people whether they know that language or not.

İSLAM SEÇEN
Art is a seed, however much you plant, that much will grow. Art is a royal realm.

MAHMUT PEŞTELİ
Art is another name for immortality in this world.

YRD. DOÇ. GÜLNİHAL KÜPELİ
As I see it, what makes a ‘craftsman’ an artist is not his being drawn along by his craft in an effort to make use of everything everywhere; instead it is the way he brings to his art the balance and harmony of the universe by realizing what to use where and how to use it through his innate talent and intelligence, the artistic experience he has gained, and his intuition.

LEVENT KUM
How nicely Âşık Veysel put it when he said, “the black earth is my faithful lover.’  Once it falls into the hands of the tile makers, black earth is handled roughly and crushed, and yet it submits to the master’s hands. Earth knows its end is in the tile maker’s hands and is silent. Until, that is, it is adorned like a bride and sings a song that endures into the future.

MAMURE ÖZ
Societies live through their traditions. This is also true of art. I have been practicing the art of illumination, one of the most important branches of our traditional arts, for 34 years. My aim and my desire is to leave this extraordinarily beautiful art to future generations without losing it. Art should be made for art’s sake. Art should be made with love.

NİLÜFER KURFEYZ
Success in the art of illumination is proportionate to how correctly we establish the connection between analysis and synthesis.

DR. MÜNEVVER ÜÇER
Highest of all the arts of the book, illumination is not merely a branch of art that enables us to express ourselves; it also embodies our world view in its designs and colors.  The dark blue that is heavily used in the art of illumination represents the sky and the infinite universe, gold the sun, light of our life, the motifs used nature and life, and the way the designs that make up the compositions unfold one after the other represents movement and the continuity of life.

What really excited me as curator of this exhibition was the way miniaturist Taner Alakuş, who works in an old Ottoman quarter right next to Chora Museum, took a break from his painstaking work and raised his head to glance out the window of his studio as if he was looking at the entire Byzantine and Ottoman past.