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...
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...
Design, Islamic Art, Shopping, Textiles
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...
Architecture, Books, Modern Art
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...
Contemporary Art, Exhibitions, History, Photography
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...
Contemporary Art, Music and Performing Arts, Orientalism
‘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)...
Exhibitions, Modern Art
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...
Contemporary Art, Film
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...
A rare exhibition at London’s Asia House
By Roger Williams | May 6, 2016
, 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...
Exhibitions, History, Textiles
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...
Contemporary Art, Exhibitions, Islamic Art, News
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)...
Contemporary Art, Exhibitions, News
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
Architecture, Contemporary Art, Exhibitions, History
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...
Culinary Arts, Nature, News
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...
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...
Music and Performing Arts, Jazz
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
Books, Literature, News, Shopping
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...
Architecture, Design, Photography, Textiles
‘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...
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,...
Archaeology, Architecture, Culinary Arts, Design, History, Islamic Art, Literature, Textiles
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...
Books, History, Literature, News