Borderless and Brazen*
Gülşen Aktaş, Aykan Safoğlu

Talk

September 20, 2017 / 18:30

Gülşen and I met randomly at a film screening in Berlin in 2012. The coffee we drank in the foyer marked the beginning of a friendship and life-long collaboration between a gay cis-man of White Turk identity born in the West of Turkey, and a Kurdish cis-woman born in Dersim, who dedicated her life to activism and women’s work in Germany. As Gülşen and I got to know each other better, beyond different generations and socializations, populist politics all over the world has taken giant steps to destroy any possibility of democracy on this planet. This is why Gülşen and I held on to each other and continue to do so, to cherish our chosen family, commons and our ancestries. This conversation is an occasion to share the feminist elements of Gülşen’s life that reflected onto my mirror and seeped into my art practice. We’d be happy if what emerged from of our friendship would eventually reflect back onto you.

*Borderless and Brazen is a poem by Afro-German poet May Ayim.

Gülşen Aktaş (b. in Dersim) graduated from high school in Urfa and became a primary school teacher in the province of Diyarbakir. At the age of 21, she followed her mother to Germany. In Berlin and Frankfurt, she studied political science and worked in one of the first women's shelters in Berlin, and on various immigrant and women's projects. Since 2007, she is the director Huzur, a Berlin leisure center for senior citizens that offers consultation and cultural tours in Berlin. For her political engagement, Aktaş received an Order of Merit from the city of Berlin in 2011, where she still continues to live and work.

Aykan Safoğlu (b. 1984, İstanbul) lives and works in Berlin. He studied at Universität der Künste, Berlin, and Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, and was resident at SAHA studio, Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam. In his art practice, he forges relationships - friendships, even - across cultural, geographic, linguistic, as well as temporal boundaries. Working across film photography and performance, he makes open-ended enquiries into cultural belonging, creativity and kinship. He has recently participated in group exhibitions such as Father Figures are Hard to Find, nGbK, Berlin (2016); THE BILL: For Collective Unconscious, Artspace, Auckland (2016); Home Works 7, Ashkal Alwan, Beirut (2015), and has screened at various international film festivals. 

Free of admissions, drop in. This event will take place in the auditorium. The talk will be in Turkish.

Temporary Exhibition

15th Istanbul Biennial

Pera Museum hosted the 15th Istanbul Biennial, organized by Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) and sponsored by Koç Holding. The 15th Istanbul Biennial brought together artworks by 55 artists from 32 countries, all addressing different notions of home, belonging and neighbourhood.

15th Istanbul Biennial

Girl in a Blue Dress

Girl in a Blue Dress

This life-size portrait of a girl is a fine example of the British art of portrait painting in the early 18th century. The child is shown posing on a terrace, which is enclosed at the right foreground by the plinth of a pillar; the background is mainly filled with trees and shrubs. 

At the Order of the Padishah

At the Order of the Padishah

In this piece, Żmurko presents an exotic image of a harem chamber, replete with gleaming fabrics and scattered jewels, as a setting for the statuesquely beautiful body of an odalisque murdered “at the order of the padishah”. 

Medicinal Herbs in Byzantium

Medicinal Herbs in Byzantium

Knowledge of plants and the practice of healing are closely entwined. The toxic or hallucinogenic nature of some roots, and the dangers associated with picking them, conferred a mythical or magical character and power.