Just now, the journalists of the government critical newspaper “Cumhuriyet” have been sentenced in an unprecedented politically induced trial and just now, the state of emergency in Turkey has been extended once again. Meanwhile, Osman Kavala, Turkey’s most important and influential civil society activist and philanthropist, has been in prison without charge since October 2017. What does this mean for artists and cultural producers in Turkey? And how has the art scene in Turkey changed since 2016 (the coup-d’etat), or shall we say, since 2013 (the Gezi protests)? And what can we understand about it and how can we help our colleagues in Turkey?
Asena Günal is the program coordinator of the art center Depo in Istanbul-Tophane. Depo is an initiative of Anadolu Kültür which was founded by Osman Kavala. She is concerned about the isolation Turkish art scene might face with the rise of authoritarianism. Depo is a space for critical debate and cultural exchange with a wide variety of international art exhibitions, screenings, talks and such and the first initiative in Turkey to focus on regional collaborations among Turkey and countries in the Caucasus, the Middle East and the Balkans. Asena Günal is also the co-founder of Siyah Bant, a platform that documents censorship incidents in the field of arts.
Asena Günal has studied International Relations and Sociology and obtained her PhD in the History of Modern Turkey program at the Atatürk Institute, Boğaziçi University. She previously worked as an editor in İletişim Publishing House between 1998 and 2005.
In this open talk, Asena Günal will speak about the current situation in Turkey and especially in Istanbul’s art scene, how does the state of emergency affect the artists, who is Osman Kavala and how does his detention and arrest intimidate the civil society and the art scene; she will also talk about the artistic programme at Depo and their resistance strategies.
An invitation by para polis/Anke Hoffmann in collaboration with Corner College/Dimitrina Sevova.