Ottoman History Podcast, an online radio programme launched in 2011, had an interesting instalment back in July entitled Painting the Peasant in Modern Turkey. The podcast addresses the research carried out by Seçil Yžlmaz, a PhD candidate at the Department of History at New York’s City University. The main crux of the podcast is a discussion about a government-funded project carried out between 1938 and 1943 in which more than 60 Turkish painters were sent to villages all over Anatolia to create depictions of rural life. As well as focusing on the content of the paintings, Yžlmaz discusses the goals and impacts of this project, and how it contributes to the cultural history of the country. Click here to listen.
Some of the paintings that came out of this project can be found in a book published in 1998 by Milli Reasürans Gallery called Trips Abroad and Photos from Abroad (Yurt Gezileri ve Yurt Resimleri). It features the above painting by Saim Özeren, depicting a scene in the town of Beyşehir in Konya in 1939, as well as the work below by Melahat Ekinci. Painted in 1940 and entitled Aydınlı Kadın, it reflects a fascination with peasant women, in common with the work of many of the artists who took part in the project.