What could that word be?

Lexiqamus, a new online search tool, makes deciphering Ottoman words that much easier

By Emma Harper | June 22, 2016


Anyone who has tried their hand at learning Ottoman, the hybrid of Turkish, Arabic and Persian that served as the official and literary language of the Ottoman Empire, is like to have encountered James Redhouse’s Turkish and English Lexicon (1890). I picked up my copy in Istanbul the summer before...
Posted in History, News

Fabrics fit for a Sultan

Ottoman Silks launches a line of kaftans with Glyndebourne

By Emma Harper | June 15, 2016


The wavy stem of a tulip, the fanning of a carnation, the lattice pattern created by delicate peony blossoms… the floral motifs of classical Ottoman silks are simply sumptuous. No wonder they were the first choice of Sultans, who commissioned teams of weavers trained in the art of silk hand-weaving...
Posted in Design, Islamic Art, Shopping, Textiles

Readers’ retreat

The Vitali Hakko Creative Industries Library in Nakkaştepe overflows with fashion, art and architecture titles

By Emma Harper | June 7, 2016


My visit to the Vitali Hakko Creative Industries Library coincided with the last truly cold day of spring – a frigid wind whipped off the Bosphorus, pushing the rain sideways such that no umbrella could prevent it from stinging my face. The normally suffocating humidity of the metro bus came...
Posted in Architecture, Books, Modern Art

Turkey’s humanity made transparent

Istanbul Modern opens a new photography exhibition ‘People Attract People’

By Emma Harper | June 2, 2016


From the mouth open wide in mid-guffaw to the two fingers softly securing a cigarette, Ozan Sağdıç’s 1961 photograph ‘Diplomats’ demonstrates how the human form can encompass just as wide and varied a topography as any landscape. Sağdıç is one of 80 photographers whose work is on display in Istanbul...
Posted in Contemporary Art, Exhibitions, History, Photography

Vinyl Icons

Persian Pop and Turkish Psychedelia

By Tim Cornwell | May 29, 2016


Once in a while a curator with instinct and particular passion hits a mark. In Vinyl Icons: Persian Pop and Turkish Psychedelia, staged in Newcastle, in the heart of Britain’s northeast, Sara Makari-Aghdam uses the work of five contemporary artists to construct a celebration and reflection of a permissive past...
Posted in Contemporary Art, Music and Performing Arts, Orientalism

A son of Pera returns home

‘Mario Prassinos: In Pursuit of an Artist, Istanbul-Paris-Istanbul’ opens at the Pera Museum

By Emma Harper | May 24, 2016


Contemplating the Istanbul skyline today, your gaze will most likely fall on slender minarets and hulking skyscrapers. Yet imagine an Istanbul where trees – yes, trees – dominated the horizon. It seems impossible now, what with all the çılgın projects of late, but this was the Istanbul (or rather Constantinople)...
Posted in Exhibitions, Modern Art

Digging into the ‘Tables of Istanbul’

Zeynep Kılıç’s film explores Turkish cuisine in Istanbul

By Emma Harper | May 18, 2016


In the first few minutes of Zeynep Kılıç’s documentary film Tables of Istanbul (Sofra Sofra İstanbul), she recalls how, early in their relationship, her now husband, Wayne, joked that if they were ever to break up, he needed the rights to her red pepper paste. The rich, slightly spicy paste...
Posted in Contemporary Art, Film

‘Mustang’ gallops into UK theatres

By Emma Harper | May 11, 2016


Riding on the wave of its critical success, the Oscar-nominated Mustang will be screened in UK theatres (in cities such as London, Oxford and Edinburgh, among others) starting May 13. If you’re feeling a bit lazy, there are also options for watching the film at home beginning on the same...
Posted in Film, News

Jewellery and textiles of Central Asia

A rare exhibition at London’s Asia House

By Roger Williams | May 6, 2016


Turkestan Journey, the current, free exhibition at Asia House, recalls a time a hundred years or more ago when women of Central Asia were adorned with an armoury of jewellery. The 60 pieces in a dozen glass cases are part of a thousand items collected over the past 20 years...
Posted in Exhibitions, History, Textiles

Turkish art in the city that never sleeps

Frieze New York, ‘Court and Cosmos’ and more

By Emma Harper | May 5, 2016


As one of the world’s art meccas, New York is always teeming with exhibitions, fairs and public art installations. This month a good number of the thousands of works on display are by artists from Turkey, both present and past. So lace up your trainers, because we’re traipsing around the...
Posted in Contemporary Art, Exhibitions, Islamic Art, News

Stirring sound installations

Cevdet Erek will represent Turkey at the 2017 Venice Biennale

By Emma Harper | May 1, 2016


Turn almost anywhere in the Turkish art world – whether biennials, group exhibitions at major art institutions or small collaborative projects – and you’ll find Cevdet Erek and his stirring experimentations with sound, space and rhythm. So it was no surprise when the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV)...
Posted in Contemporary Art, Exhibitions, News

Turkish homes, memorable scents and novel topographies

Four extraordinary exhibitions in Beyoğlu

By Emma Harper | April 26, 2016


Over the next few months Istanbul’s galleries and museums are pulling out all the stops before the summer exodus. The following exhibitions in Beyoğlu are particularly exciting, and, as a bonus, they can be visited during the course of one day. Once you’ve had your Turkish coffee and some sustaining börek,...
Posted in Architecture, Contemporary Art, Exhibitions, History

All eyes on the humble olive

Inaugural Slow Food-organised event in Ayvalık takes a deep dive into the history, culture and ecology of the olive

By Jennifer Hattam | April 22, 2016


‘Turkey is not really an olive oil country.’ It seemed a strange thing to say at an event hosted in Turkey and dedicated to the world of olives. ‘So why are we meeting here?’ one international participant whispered after the Turkish academic Artun Ünsal made his declaration on the first...
Posted in Culinary Arts, Nature, News

Exotic exile in Antalya

Films with a Turkish connection screened at the 2016 Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival

By Emma Harper | April 20, 2016


It may not look like Turkey, but the WOW Kremlin Palace in Antalya was the sole Turkish connection at this year’s Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival, held from April 14–17 in Hawick, Scottish Borders. Sasha Litvintsev’s short film Exile Exotic is set at the hotel, which features a replica...
Posted in Film, News

Jazz standards and standouts

Tickets go on sale for the 23rd Istanbul Jazz Festival

By Emma Harper | April 15, 2016


Each year the Istanbul Jazz Festival, sponsored by the Istanbul Arts and Culture Foundation (IKSV), manages to push the envelope in terms of either artists or venues. In 2016, they are doing both. The highlight of this year’s packed programme features two rapidly rising jazz acts performing at a very...
Posted in Music and Performing Arts, Jazz

The London Book Fair 2016

Istanbul printers travel the world

By Roger Williams | April 12, 2016


The sun shone through the great glass roofs of the London Book Fair on its opening day today, when publishers from around the world brought their books to market. Sometimes it seemed more like a travel fair, and trips could be planned around such tempting titles such as Medieval Georgian...
Posted in Books, Literature, News, Shopping

Inside story: Borçka

A journey through Turkish homes

By Lynn Gilbert | April 11, 2016


In this blog series, the photographer Lynn Gilbert takes us on a journey through Turkish homes. Visiting the town of Borçka, in Artvin Province in Turkey’s Black Sea region, turned out to be an experience which I savoured long after my visit. For in this small, unassuming town I gained...
Posted in Architecture, Design, Photography, Textiles

Cataloguing a century-old natural science collection

‘Empty Fields’ at SALT Galata situates the traces of a dispersed museum within a contemporary context

By Emma Harper | April 7, 2016


When Istanbul is abloom with tulips each April, it is often the sheer quantity of flowers – the cascade of colour in Emirgan Park comes to mind – that dazzles visitors. But for budding botanists, discerning the different varieties is what delights. If one such botanist were to find the...

Calling young and old alike to apply for the 10th Ancient & Modern Research Prize

Applications due October 31, 2016

By Emma Harper | April 2, 2016


Have an idea for a research project related to things Turkish or textiles? Now is the time to put pen to paper and apply for the Ancient & Modern Prize, an award of £1,000 given to a candidate aged under 26 or over 60. Applications are open until October 31,...
Posted in Archaeology, Architecture, Culinary Arts, Design, History, Islamic Art, Literature, Textiles

Queen Elizabeth and the Islamic World

A new book sheds light on a time of unexpected alliances

By Roger Williams | March 27, 2016


This unattributed portrait of Abd el-Ouahed ben Messaoud, Moroccan Ambassador to the Court of Elizabeth I in London, was painted in 1600. Excommunicated by the Pope and at war with Catholic Spain, the Tudor queen had made alliances with the Muslim world and was selling arms to Morocco. The story...
Posted in Books, History, Literature, News
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