About Through the Window
The Turkish/Dutch online queer art project Through the Window hosts talks and an exhibition via Instagram. The exhibition launch event takes place on the 24th of June. Through the Window was founded at the beginning of the pandemic by Turkish musician, songwriter and DJ Kübra Uzun, artist and filmmaker Ömer Tevfik Erten and Dutch writer and philosopher Simon(e) van Saarloos.
Through the Window is a great example of how to maintain and intensify the cultural relation between the Netherlands and Turkey during the pandemic. More importantly, TTW facilitates a safe and inspirational online space for an international queer community to share ideas about art, activism and pride.
Kübra Uzun (Project Coordinator): ”Pandemi süreci hepimiz için zorlu ve yeni bir deneyim oldu, olmaya da devam ediyor. Queer sanatçılar, gece çalışanları aniden işsiz kaldı; sergilerimiz ertelendi, projelerimiz iptal oldu, sahnelerimiz kapandı. Üretimini var ettikçe ve paylaştıkça mutlu olan bizler için nefes alanlarımızın da kapanması demekti bu. Through The Window (TTW) tam da bu noktada, kapanan yerden yeni bir alana doğru yol alıyor, yeni kaplara taşıyor ve doğası gereği var olan formları yeniden biçimlendiriyor. Biz queer sanatçılar pandemi sürecini nasıl geçiriyoruz? Ya da nasıl hayal ediyoruz? Bu soruların peşine düşüp, hem bunun bir parçası olan herkes için yeni bir alan yaratmak hem de bu dönemde yaratılan özgün işleri bir araya getirerek queer hafızadaki yerini tutmak istedik.”
Ömer Tefvik Erten (Curator): ”TTW, queerlerin hayatta kalma, direnme ve çözüm üretme pratikleriyle ortaya çıkan bir platform. Bizler, sürdürülebilir barışçıl geleceği birlikte düşünüyor ve harekete geçiyoruz. Bazı sanatçılar kendi alanını başka bir sanatçı ile paylaşıyor, işbirliği yapıyor. Bu duruşu önemsiyoruz çünkü tek başına bir çıkışın olmadığını çok iyi biliyoruz. TTW kocaman bir dans pisti ve burada hepimize yer var.”
Ahmet Rüstem Ekici
Born in Adana in 1983, Ahmet Rüstem Ekici graduated from Interior Architecture and Environmental Design Department of Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University in 2008. For ten years, Ahmet worked as an art director on TV sets and studio and stage design platforms. Ahmet Rüstem teaches “Designing Space for Camera” and “Illusion in Places” courses at the Art, Design and Architecture Faculty in MEF University.
Admitted to the 2019 San Francisco American Arts Programme by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and ZERO1, Ekici continue to work by means of 3D art, new digital media programs, and venue-specific installations and by adding dimensions to the works with the potential of augmented reality.
Ahmet Rüstem Ekici’s works, handling the notion of the human body and social codes, shape themselves around such concepts as gender, archaeology, architecture, and existence. Ahmet’s series question the parallels of the relationship between the body and architecture. The artist’s venue-specific installations come from the cinema, events, oral storytelling, and individual experiences that acquired their place in our collective memory.
Creating AR and VR works as well, the artist has works exhibited in such organizations as CADAF Online, Thessaloniki Queer Arts Festival, Museari Queer Arts Museum, Kyrgyzstan National Museum of Fine Arts, and XX Art Flaneire. Ahmet’s first personal exhibition “Hamam” took place in Galeri Bu Galata.
Ekici continues to create works on the augmented, virtual and mixed realities.
Alev Ersan’s work has its roots in composition and narrative and is developed through the mediums of literary translation, animation, poetry, and installations using text, sound, and drawings. She has worked collaboratively on many of her projects. Central areas of research and teaching have been cross-genre forms of autobiographical subjectivity and narrative; the investigation of the city space through feminist and queer perspectives, and translation as a practice and mode wherein it acts as a crossing point of separation and connection, as a relationship of alterity between a subject and her environment as well as a rendering between different mediums (text/space/sound) and languages. Since 2017, her research has been focused on experimental forms of elegy and epitaphs and works in private and public mourning.
Can Küçük examines the industrial environmental objects, especially the occurrences that take place inside the body. Instead of regarding these objects as ascribed constancies, he looks for their potential function and meaning, transforms them in order to understand how they constitute social matters, attempting to find the personal inside the solid. Having his first personal exhibition Hav Hav Hav Hav Hav taken place in Pilot Gallery in 2020, the artist also had their part in such exhibitions as “Glass Castle” in The Evliyagil Museum (Ankara, 2020), “Positive Space” in Operation Room (Istanbul, 2018), “One Day in Hotel” in Zilberman Gallery (Istanbul, 2018); “Burnt Palaces” in Pilot Gallery (Istanbul, 2018), “Genetically Modified” as a part of “BAHAR” event of 13. Sharjah of Biennale Istanbul (Istanbul, 2017) and “Oxytocin: Experiments on Trust” at Haydarpaşa Train Station, İstanbul (2016).
Damla Şahinbaş was born on December 24, 1995 in Istanbul. Having achieved sociopolitical knowledge and experience in high school, she gravitated towards activism. She passed the proficiency exams of Photography and Video Program at Yıldız Technical University Art Design Faculty in 2014. Here, apart from photography and video education, she received experimental photography, documentary photography, and darkroom photography education and produced her own series afterwards. In 2018, she executed the “Couch Grass” project in the sphere of documentary photography, photographing LGBTQIA+ and queer identities in their private spaces in order to be able to touch upon the very core of their existence. In 2019, she organized their first exhibition with their “Couch Grass” project. In 2019, a selection from her “Couch Grass” series was exhibited in Visual Arts Center in Pescheria (Pesaro, Italy). In 2020, a series of her photography was exhibited in the Arada’ 9th Interdisciplinary Art Festival as a part of “Bald but Hairy” exhibition. In 2021, she was invited to the photozine series, collected by Faz Collective and published by Fail Books, marking her first limited publication in such format. Currently, she is working on a project in darkroom photography printing.
Dandelion Eghosa is a 27-year-old non-binary visual artist from Nigeria, who is currently studying at the DAI Art praxis-Artez MA program in the Netherlands. Eghosa is working with diverse visual mediums including photography, digital, analog collages, and film. Their interests lie in documenting the expressions of everyday life and in highlighting marginalized identities particularly the Afro-LGBTQ+ community. Their work offers a fresh interpretation of queer imagery that provides a counterpoint to existing misrepresentations and encourages the expansion of human thought, beliefs, and feelings.
Diren has invented an anti-elitist gallery concept in a guerilla way, which is called “Art Space Project”. Since Diren started ASP in a village of Fethiye in 2016, more than 30 art spaces have been established.
“Paganism” and “Reinterpreted ritual” concepts have been evident themes on Diren’s artworks. Because of the political situation, most of Diren’s artworks are based on activism and disclosure practices. In 2018 Diren designed “Non-Barrier Art Map” as a solution for disabled people who cannot able to access to cultural places and galleries. N-BAM has been chosen 1st project of “Art and Culture” category in HEG social responsibility project competition. In 2019, Diren’s project “Produce for Art”, which is based on providing assistance and materials to fine art students who can not afford their art ideas, has been chosen as the best project in “Art and Culture” category again.
Diren’s literary works are mostly related to “LGBTI+ History and Art”. In 2018, Diren translated “S.T.A.R” (“Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries”, Sub Press) to Turkish. In 2019 Diren compiled the book “A Night of June: Biographical Analysis of the Stonewall Riots” (Kaos Çocuk Parkı Publishing). In the same year Diren was selected for the artist in residency program conducted between the European Union and Turkey called “Be Mobile, Create Together”. In 2020-2021, Diren presented series of seminars about LGBTI+ history on various of associations and communities. Diren is one of the participants of the “Contemporary Art and Curatorship” programme carried out in cooperation with the Open Dialogue İstanbul and Akbank Art Center. In October 2020, Diren has been selected as a participant for “Art Writers” programme carried out by Namanlı Art Center and Netherlands Consulate. Same month Diren has been awarded by Akbank Art Center with the 38th Akbank Contemporary Artist Prize for an interactive installation “Beyond the Wall”.
Since June 2020, Diren has been presenting a queer radio show “Wild Side” on Radio Modyan, every Sunday night at 10pm.
Elçin Acun was born in 1982 in Izmir. She finished her BA and MA at Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University. She is currently working as a research assistant in the department of Photography and Proficiency Program in Art. Elçin has organized three personal exhibitions and participated in many national and international exhibitions as well. By means of photography and video, Acun creates fictional works and often design them as installations. Her major topics are notions of body, gender, and women politics. Acun creates women characters stuck in extraordinary conditions and concretize them with her own self. These women are sometimes imprisoned in vain efforts, and sometimes they just struggle to be visible. They are in an indefinite universe in a spiraling prevalence of the present. This cycle represents the assigned gender roles and the repetitive nature of the self-reproduction of these roles. In the last phase, Elçin attempts to approach the personal by means of her own body.
Ghaith Qoutainy (Damascus, 1995) is an artist whose stance sets feet on grounds of philosophies that seek the non-definition, the in-betweens/outside of the conformed-to norms, ideologies such as those that exceed the simplistic object-subject relationship; looking through a lens of queering as a form of transversal understanding, and expression as a notion of resistance. Conclusively, these beliefs reflect unambiguously in the overall and detail of the artist’s work. Their trans-medium expressivity fluidifies borders of reductive singularity through the embodied perceptual experience of ecologies; internal and external. As a bachelor student of the department of Sonology at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, the artist has established an in-depth sight on broad spectra matters of sound; musical and non, theoretical and practical, technical and artistic. From there, Qoutainy has grown to create with a wide range of interests and through many disciplines. Zooming in on Qoutainy’s portfolio, we find works that treat the medium as a departure ground to the more, the apprehended extra, the beyond-materialistic comprehension of our interactive receptivity.
Born in 1991 in Istanbul, Hakan Sorar completed his BA in Mechanical Engineering and MA in Sciences. Hakan continues their associate degree in the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department at Istanbul University and their master’s program in Communication Design and Semiotics department of Design Faculty in Beykoz University. Sorar focuses on human, identity, memory, and city in the making of art works. Using an instant photography technique, Hakan deconstructs the moment by manipulating the shots and create a new reality, Hakan manipulates the frozen moment, shred it and create new impressions from objectivity to subjectivity. Adding and cutting the shots, Hakan acquires new meanings of the notions of body and setting. Apart from photography, the artist meditates in their digital art, blurring the line between body and object upon the body itself; supervised, shaped, and objectified by various mechanisms of power. With photography and digital works, Hakan invites the spectators to raise questions that concern body, identity, form, politics, and gender.
Hala Namer (b.Damascus, Syria) is an Amsterdam-based artist, DJ, and a sound performer. Coming from a performance background, Hala utilizes elements from myths and fiction to explore speculative narratives. Her practice investigates concepts regarding nightlife, deconstructed sound, and system control. It is through machinery and objects that her stories are told and make you ask — what does it mean to re-think pre-conceived meanings of the tools? Aside from her DJ practice, having performed in numerous international venues, Hala has also scored live films in Amsterdam, such as those during Pride 2018, scoring Barbara
Hammer’s films in Melkweg, and in Subbacultcha & Eye Film Museum in 2020. Currently, Hala is studying Moving Image at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy.
A non-degree graduate from Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University and the Major Programme of Modern Dance from Istanbul State Conservatory. They create their works as a non-awarded dance artist and a non-awarded choreographer and also work as a dancer of Istanbul Modern Dance Ensemble in Istanbul State Opera and Ballet.
Kalib Batta is a Black Afro-Caribbean queer, agender, polyamorous, panromantic, and demisexual artist and writer, who seeks to destroy the mantle of patriarchy and norm hidden in our worlds, to find community and belonging through the arts, and collectively heal from internalized oppressions and trauma.
This is Kiki Ginash, Turkey’s one and only monster with a 71cm. A nightmare you wouldn’t want to wake up from. A painter, performance artist, drag queen, and saboteur of beauty and body. They graduated from Painting Department of Fine Arts Faculty of Marmara University in 2020. They continue their creative and terrorizing work in Istanbul. Unfortunately being an Aquarius, Kiki was born as a graduate project on January, 25 of 2018. Then they started their drag career so that everyone would have a chance to experience this beauty. They focus on such themes as conservative family, toxic mom figure, birth, loneliness, religion, spells, and fear. Recently they continue their life live on “Koştur Koştur” (eng. “Hustle Your Butt”) program with alt_cut.
Through deviating our everyday manners to non-everyday manners, Kwinnie wants to reveal stories that are not always visible. They reveal themselves in performances, installations & poetry. These stories are created to connect with people & to understand people. The body is at the core center. Once the body morphs, the way & the extent to which someone dares to be vulnerable changes. This affects another core element in Kwinnie’s practice, which is language. A tool we are expected to use on a day-to-day basis. By distorting the body, you deal with language differently & so, your communication to others.
Mala Badi is a gender-non-conforming conceptual artist, performer, and intersectional feminist activist. Mala born to a working-class family in Casablanca, Morocco, and they are based in Amsterdam. Their writing and artwork focus on themes of exile and decolonization. They use art to dismantle and disrupt systems of oppression and to give their point of view about history and social change.
Mmaapengo Námoda is an artist, thinker, and curator. Her/Their art practice generates experiences for self and ancestral healing. Námoda is currently an MA student at DAI Art Praxis in the Netherlands.
Mert Çağıl Türkay
Born in 1987 in Istanbul, Mert Çağıl Türkay accomplished their MA in Photography in Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University and continues at the same department in proficiency training in arts. He participated in many national and international platforms-based exhibitions and workshops, such as “International Print Triennial / Interfaces”, “Realm -Eyes On / Monat der fotografie Wien”, “Mamut Art Project”, “TÜYAP Art Fair” and “Aspects of Balkan Photography”. He practices in photography, different photography printing techniques, installations, and video projects. Examining the supervision of the normative structure, the varying effects on the artists and their works, as well as the methods of questioning these effects in their art and academic works, the artist touches upon such topics as body integrated with the queer spectrum, gender, and identity.
Nash Caldera graduated with a BA in fine art from Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam in 2018. In her graduation year, she was nominated for the Drempelprijs and the Maaskantprijs both from WdKA. She performed at several art institutes in The Netherlands. In 2018 and 2020, she performed “Di Tera Nos Ta Bin Di Tera Nos Ta Bai II in Het Nieuwe Institute, Rotterdam. Since 2018 and still, she is collaborating with the exhibition titled “G/D Thyself: Spirit Strategy On Raising Free Black Children”, in Galerie Lecq, Rotterdam. In 2019, Caldera collaborated with a former classmate on a performance titled “My Broken Tongue” in TAC, Eindhoven. Nash’s performance titled “Adorá Yemayá Tapá” was a live performance inspired by a video performance that she made before in Framer Framed’s project in Werkplaats Molenwijk, Amsterdam. Caldera did a performance called “Mansa” which was part of the opening of the “Van Amulet tot Artefact” exhibition at Worm (s/ash Gallery), Rotterdam in 2019. Caldera was a participant in the project “WHO AM I BECOMING” which was made into a film and screened at IFFR in 2020. Her residency at Uniarte in Willemstad, Curaçao in 2020, and the performance titled “Riba mi skalchi”, which she created during this residency, have led to a further experiment on the online showroom “Kontemplando di Multiplisidat den Kontekstonanon”, a part of the El Pran Projecten platform in 2021.
Noli is a sick artist in more ways than one. She struggles with [mental] health and in the past years has become housebound and mostly bed-based because of the stigmatized chronic illness ME/CFS. Her work is made on ‘good days’ when she is able to. It is done in and around the house [mostly on her floor] using whatever materials are available and with the help of her caregiver. She exists somewhere between the Here and Now and a Dream Realm of her Imagination and considers this key to survival. She is into Radical Dharma, Cultural Somatics and Disability Justice. She dreams of healing all of her Shame Monsters and helping others to do so as well. She hopes that her work contributes to creating cultures that feel life-affirming for [dysregulated] people so that they too feel able to exist and belong in this world.
Onur Karaoglu works between performance art and theater. Since 2010, his original and adapted writing and directing pieces were presented at spaces like garajistanbul, bomontiada Alt, Roxy, Heidelberg Theater, and Rotterdam Schouwburg. His installations and video works were presented at Bahar (Sharjah Biennial 2017), SPOT, Operation Room, and Artnivo. He is one of the founding members of Studio 4 Istanbul that is producing theater, film works, and performance space KÖŞE in Yeldeğirmeni which then turned into an international performance festival. Karaoglu teaches a class dealing with the link between performance art and theater at Boğaziçi since 2013. He received BA in Sociology at Boğaziçi University and MFA in Theater Directing at Columbia University in New York.
Sadiqa is a queer non-binary refugee sex worker and a performance artist from Morocco, living in the Netherlands. They are a Rapper, Slam poet, and Storyteller. To them, every art piece is a political statement, it’s a weapon of control for the oppressed, against the falsifications of the oppressed.
Through words, they share the beauty, pain, joy, sadness, laughs, and tears and also tells queer stories from a queer perspective. Because by sharing emotions, stories, and experiences we contribute to the creation of realities where queers are not just included but also leading and reclaiming their history.
Ünal Bostancı makes installations, sculptures, and mixed media artworks; mainly focusing on the themes of transition and mutation in history, space, and time. His works are characterized by the use of everyday objects, reflecting the social conditions in which they are produced and often exploring transformed ideologies in an ironic way. Recent group shows include Mamut Art Project, Istanbul (2019); “Positive Space”, Operation Room, Istanbul (2018); “Decadence”, Pera Palace, Istanbul (2017); Timeless Palace Museum, SPOT Production Fund (2016).