Contemporary Art is against the Contemporary War
Open Letter to Art Institutions
The war in Eastern Turkey escalates with increased brutality. The Turkish State applies indiscriminate cruelty against its population within the whole blockaded Kurdish region. Peace protests in Turkey are shut down with sheer force. The mainstream media are silenced, and mute. Everyday starts with news alerts of increased state violence and civilian losses. At this moment, we believe it’s time for art institutions step up their support for peace through art, and assist artists who firmly demand peace.
Dear Directors, Curators, Educators and Friends,
We urge you to consider opening your street windows and vitrines for art. Even though this may be regarded as a humble gesture, we hope you will consider artworks including installations, poetry, video, and text that question the ongoing war, discrimination, and nationalism. We hope that this peace initiative will resonate with you.
Signatures: Hakan Topal, Didem Yazıcı, Ali Akay, Defne Ayas, Adnan Yıldız, Artspace NZ, Chus Martinez, Charles Esche, Cansu Çakar, Sinem Dişli, İpek Ulusoy, Elif Erkan, Serra Tansel, Özlem Günyol & Mustafa Kunt, Sabine Küper-Büsch, Mehtap Baydu, Emek Ulusay, Ferhat Özgür, Aslihan Demirtas, Nermin Saybaşılı, Ege Berensel, Power Ekroth, Hrag Vartanian, Civan Özkanoğlu, Khaled Barakeh, Banu Cennetoglu, Pınar Ögrenci, Fulya Çetin, Mehmet Ulusel, Timur Çelik, Fulya Erdemci, Mirak Jamal, Ceylan Öztürk, İnci Furni, Süreyya Evren, Refik Akyüz, Bonaverture Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Zeynep Direk, Haluk Çobanoğlu, Derya Yücel, Tony Chakar, Öykü Özsoy, Korhan Erel, Rupali Patil, Metehan Özcan, Caner Aslan, Marwa Arsonias, Kari Conte, Leyla Gediz, Erdem Taşdelen, Önder Özengi, Tuce Silahtarlıoğlu, Mohammad Salemy, Jonas Staal, New World Summit, Asena Günal, Ali Taptık, Aykan Safoğlu, Feza Canlıgil, Ata Kam, Younes Baudi, Renée In der Maur, Hera Büyüktaşçıyan, Demet Ortaköylü, Nalan Yırtmaç, Adam Fearon, Ali Kazma, Gökşin Varan, Lorenzo Sandoval, Zeki Coşkun, Ceren Oykut, Oda Projesi, Özge Açıkkol, Güneş Savaş, Ani Schulze, Nick Wells, Leyla Ustel, Neriman Polat, CANAN, Volkan Aslan, Sanatorium, Marsistanbul, Labaratuvar, Işın Önol, AICA-TR (Uluslararası Sanat Eleştirmenleri Derneği Türkiye Şubesi), Yasemin Özcan, Özlem Altın, Erkan Özgen, Didem Erbaş, Fırat Araboğlu, Dilek Vinchistir, Özgül Kılıçarslan, Yeşim Ağaoğlu, Özgür Demirci, Özgür Erkök Moroder, Ali Şimşek, Amira Arzık, Ali Cabbar, Björn Schirmeier, Başak Şenova, Ayşe Erek, Ezgi Yıldız,
In my previous article I wrote about how both soft and hard Islamists render a very dark future for the Middle East. I finished my article by stating that the Kurdish Movement may provide a salient alternative for the whole region. However, this alternative is currently under attack by Islamists and its supporters.
As I write this article, ISIS thugs surround the northern Syrian city Kobanê — also known as Ayn Al Arab. While both the Kurdish guerilla group PKK, Syrian arm PYD and some factions from the Free Syrian Army are desperately fighting to keep ISIS out of town, the situation is getting worse by the day. Turkey is reluctant to open its borders for humanitarian and military assistance, and so help ISIS to take over the town. In fact, the Turkish government sees this siege as an opportunity to eliminate autonomously controlled cantons established by PKK/PYD in 2012. While in effect ISIS seems to be running a proxy war for Turkey, the Syrian civil war and the sectarian fire is quickly spreading all over the region, igniting already tense ethnic issues.