Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Journey of a Thousand Years

bronze figurative sculptures

My solo sculpture exhibition “journey of a thousand years” is an invitation to an inner journey. 

My exhibition is intended to inspire the viewers to travel the undiscovered lands of the self and recognize their purpose in life. We are complex beings with many facets of our personalities. Self comprises our values, goals, beliefs, roles we play, and the thoughts and feelings derived from real and imagined relationships.  But more importantly what really underlies who we are is how we see ourselves in our own mirrors and the value we put for our self-worth.  This is why I think it is important to travel our inner journeys to find and value our skills and talents and respect our intelligence and our beliefs in order to be content.

Each sculpture is an examination of a different aspect of the self and I am hoping that each will be a step in getting closer to realization of our selves. Some sculptures are figures looking at mirrors with laser etched images of memories and different personalities we assume in life.  They represent identities framed out of lived experiences and rehearsed or glorifying self images. Some have figures looking at their reflections in the water representing how we see ourselves and how this leads to the emotional judgment we make about our self-worth. 

“The unexamined life is not worth living” according to the Greek philosopher Socrates.  I am hoping that my sculptures will allow the viewers to analyze their lifes by traveling the undiscovered lands of the self and find out the truth within themselves. My intent is to emphasize the importance of self-realization beyond the roles we play in our life and to inspire the viewers to recognize their purpose in life and achieve self-esteem.  

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Way I Create

The creation of art is a complex process which is a result of emotions, mind, and technical knowledge. The philosophical conclusions and emotions combined with our techniques and knowledge result in various forms of art.

Pagliacci, bronze, 2012
Generally before I start a piece I only know the starting point, the end result is an unknown. Starting point is simply an idea occupying my mind for some time.  It is very hard to separate art and life for me because observations that lead to ideas continuously take place and I find myself thinking about possibilities of new subjects all the time.  When I have an inspiration, I allow the idea to live until it matures through my own perceptions.  It might take months for an idea to become ready. I made my Pagliacci sculpture almost 1 year after I put the first sketch on my book.  
Flamenco dancer, bronze, 2012
When it is time for the realization of an idea I start. I know why I am making it but I do not exactly know what the result is going to look like. There is always a reason and a call to make it, but the result is a mystery.

Creating itself is exhausting, but at the same time relieving.  It is a different experience every time. I work mostly with clay, which mostly responds to my hands but hand has its own dreams and so does the clay. The relationship which forms between my hands and the sculpture is very magical like a relationship with someone: unexpected, joyful, painful. 

Detail from Meditation, bronze, 2012
I stop when I see my idea and some certain life in the sculpture. It is hard to see with unbiased eyes when the work is so new. So I wait. Time demonstrates the strengths or reveals the weaknesses.    

Monday, November 5, 2012

Why do we create?

It is a privilege to be a sculptor but it is hard to explain someone’s art in words. If I could use words to explain myself I would be a poet or a writer rather than a sculptor. But I wanted to write about why I create and also attempt to relate my motivations with the motivations behind prehistorical art.

Sculpting is a way to communicate for me, a way to record my emotions and perspectives and also share them, share my perception of the life around me. I feel like I am almost compelled to do this since I started sculpting. It is not to please anyone. It is something I have to do, what my heart tells me to do, perhaps to be able to leave something from my own to this world, it is an act of giving for me. 

Hacilar Region, Chalcolithic Period, Circa 5th Millennium B.C.
And when you look into prehistoric art you will find similar motivations. There are examples of art more than 40,000 years old that were found in caves in Europe and Africa.  it is speculated that these first examples were made for communication, or religious, ceremonial or spiritual reasons. 

But how about the origins of creation for the sake of creating?

Maybe because I belong there but more than any other form of art, art of the Anatolian civilizations attracts me the most.  They are so pure and simple.  Decorated objects such as clay pots were made almost 12,000 years ago. The shapes and the abstract decorations on them were the first indications of people looking for beauty.  They were reflections of their observations from nature.  This clay pot for example is from 5,000 BC. The motif on it resembles a meander which is still being used in Anatolia on carpets, and rugs. It is the symbol of running of water, the eternal symbol of the flow of life.  It is functional yet beautiful and simple. 12,000 years ago then it started.

Woman Sculpture with silver
and gold,
B.C. 3000, Hasanoglan
Then, the human figures started to appear in art objects. About 9,000 years ago, people started to make little figures from clay.  We don’t know exactly what the reason was for them to create these figures, it could be related to beliefs, or some kind of protection from unknown, but they did what their hearts were telling them. They did not create to make a profit with them. It must have been something bigger, more important. They were the first objects made that were similar to themselves, a human figure.

A number of goddesses were created.  These goddesses were symbols of life, continuity, nature, fertility, productivity. There is no other object that has been so effective as these goddesses. A woman they chose, something that was productive as the nature they have been observing.  

There has always been a figure in the origins of stories and beliefs that are based on facts. Figure is one of the first instinctive forms of artI chose to sculpt the figure maybe because of the same reasons as those prehistoric people.  There is so many random stories the human figure offers. So they have been pretty much the only source of my work.  The human figure already beautifully designed serves my desire to connect and give in a timeless manner. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

My sculpture Pagliacci

Pagliacci is a beautiful opera by Leoncavallo on the tragedy of a jealous husband.  It recounts this tragedy as a commedia dell'arte troupe: There is a play within a play: "the troubles of Pagliaccio". I love the way Luciano Pavarotti performed it in 1994. The end is the most dramatic moment: Canio (real character of Pagliacci) stabs Silvio - his wife's lover at the end and declares: La Commedia è finita! – "The play is over!". It makes me cry every single time.

Sometimes revengeful anger may take us away from reality to a place where social and moral norms do not exist.  Mostly this is followed by guilt, regret, and sorrow.  My sculpture represents Pagliacci himself at a moment of remorse with the raven on his shoulder representing his self-consciousness.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Why did I make a sculpture on migrations?

G.S. Kharel - 2008

Dorothea Lange-1936

Numbers amaze me: how many nerve cells do our brains have and how much information is processed in a certain neural pathway? how many miles are there from earth to mars? how many bird species exist? One of the numbers that amazes me quite a bit is the number of people who has migrated. There are 200 million immigrants in the world today. Imagine the number of people who has migrated throughout the history; billions? People leaving their houses, neighbors, beds, everything with the hope of starting all over again.

While I am typing these letters, thousands of Syrians are trying to cross to Turkey to escape the current unrest. Will they ever be able to go back? During the World War II, nations migrated: everyone was on the move, peasants, collective farmers, intellectuals, army officers, landowners. Millions of people moved from India to Pakistan and vice versa when the two nations gained their independence from British colonial rule. Images of migrant workers fleeing Libya unrest, Serbian refugees fleeting Crotia, people moving in Bangladesh to escape flooding, the famous photograph of a mother with her two children migrating during the Great Depression have been occupying my mind for a long time. Eventually they found a way into a sculpture.

My sculpture “Migrations” is about 3 people leaving all they have behind. They have nothing to pack except their worries about the future. The woman on the far left side looks back one last time as if to save an image of what is being “past” at that moment. The second man has a little bag carrying the most essentials, perhaps some money, food, identification cards. The man in the front seems to be more hopeful – looking at the skies, same skies that will be there in a new life. I feel like more will be coming since I still can not stop thinking about all those people who has to suffer through migrations. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A visit to a mysterious sculpture park in Belize

I visited a sculpture park during my recent trip to Belize.  The park Poustinia was once a cattle ranch has been transformed into a magical sculpture park during 1980s. Artists from England to Uruguay have contributed to this brilliant environmental project where the art is abandoned to be surrendered and taken over by the patient nature. Wood decays, metal rusts, everything goes back to where it started reminding me of our own lifes.

"Returned Parquet" was one of my favorite art pieces.  It is a strong piece on the removal of mahogany trees during the colonial period by a Wales artist. It is literally a mahogany parquet floor laid out on the ground, "reclaimed" from Wales and "returned to the Belizean rain forest" to be taken back to its origins gradually.

"The Watcher," by Guyana artist, Winslow Craig, is a serious judging face sculpted into a sapodilla tree. It watches us with a deep concern as if it is criticizing the destroying way of living we carry on.

Next was the eerie sculpture of a young girl in a praying position in the middle of a dried pool. Here is the description on this creative piece: The girl is kneeling on a flat stone and in her hands she holds a string, at the end of the string a buoy has been tied. Surrounding the statue are 25 concrete balls, which were dyed with a red pigmentation. All the elements are in a pond, which is usually dry but floods during the wet months of the rainy season allowing the art piece to remain submerged under water. The piece will still be visible, as the water remains crystal clear most of the time.

All this art left for an eternal change  in this damp landscape left me thinking about the way I live: am I doing all I can to make the world a better place for our children?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Help Ending Hunger in Horn of Africa

I am writing this blog to let you know about a great opportunity to help the people affected by hunger in Africa. As you might know, the most severe drought in decades is still threatening the lives of more than 12 million people — especially young children — in the Horn of Africa. Severe famine has ravaged parts of southern Somalia, and threatens to spread further if nothing is done to prevent it. Kenya and Ethiopia are also severely affected by the crisis, with millions in critical need of food and water. The situation in Somalia is compounded by the high level of violence and civil unrest- with women and children often bearing the brunt of the violence. East Kenya is now home to hundreds of thousands of Somalis who have managed to flee the violence and drought conditions.

Amurt - a non-profit organization - has been helping local people to provide food security for their families through agricultural cooperatives centered around crops that can survive in the drought stricken areas along with food distribution and medical support. They are now starting a project to build a spirulina farm. Spirulina is sustainable and can be grown in Kenya and will not need the time and expenses of importation.  It can also boost the local economy and best of all it is an amazing quick efficient fix for malnourished kids containing over 60% protein that is easily digestable. Their project is to set up a model and support it for a year till they get self sufficient.  They will feed between 50 and 100 malnourished children and take heights, weight and arm circumference to show the effects of the Spirulina.  Then they will start training others.
Donations can be made through the website www.AMURTEL.ORG which is located in Vermont.