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Forbidden Games

212. International Photography Festival. Istanbul. Turkey. 2020.
Kiraathane Litterature House. Istanbul. Turkey. 2018.

For a long time I have been documenting the street life and daily life rituals of immigrants in Tarlabaşı in Istanbul, Turkey on a regular basis. The subjects of my photographs are mostly children.

There are several reasons for this. The first is that I can work with them more comfortably and my communication is more playful. Another is that I admire their imagination and joy of life, their energy and their curious view of the world. We are now a kind of family consisting of the children I photographed and myself. We became friends. Especially with the girls Havin and Şevval. We have known each other for many years.

In the first years, my aim was to show and document different aspects of the life in Tarlabaşı. Afterwards, taking a photo of a boy with a box on his head by chance opened other windows for me. This frame reminded me of Oskar Schlemmer’s ‘Triadic Ballet’, whose art I admire. I found similarities in life in Tarlabaşı, with the Bauhaus not only being a style, architecture and form but also a complex, vibrant, diverse community.

There are many similarities between Tarlabaşı and the Bauhaus school. Communal vitality, respect for craft, handicraft. Also, there are great similarities between the period we live in and the “Weimar Era”. Like the rise of fascism leading up to Second World War, a life full of prohibitions and the artist collectives that emerged as a result in Turkey.

In the first phase of the project (2018), we introduced work of Bauhaus artists to the children and made workshops and costumes about it. Costumes, make-up and masks seemed to stabilize and change the children’s movements and they started to act almost like actors. picture, collage etc. And these two pure worlds between Bauhaus and the Tarlabaşı children tried to meet in a relationship.
This ‘relationship’ will continue over the years as a project that is open to mutual feelings, thoughts, language and cultural communication, the meaning of which will deepen with each new project.