Loneliness and love

Stop-motion emotions, artful butts, chilly silences and female speed demons: !f Istanbul is back and abuzz

By Emma Harper | February 5, 2016


The abundance of films at this year’s !f Istanbul Independent Film Festival can make a cinephile feel like Augustus Gloop in the Chocolate Room at Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory – just as Augustus fell head first into the chocolate river on account of his voracity, your desire to see everything...
Posted in Film

‘If music be the food of love, play on’

The 44th Istanbul Music Festival’s programme is announced

By Emma Harper | February 3, 2016


If you’re looking for inspiration, Shakespeare’s mellifluous verse is certainly a good place to start. Or at least that’s the philosophy of the Istanbul Arts and Culture Foundation (IKSV), which announced today that the theme for the 44th Istanbul Music Festival is inspired in part by a line in Shakespeare’s...
Posted in Music and Performing Arts, Classical Music, News

‘The life of the island’ – my great-grandfather’s dream hotel

Büyükada’s Splendid Palas, grande dame of the Princes Islands, remains a cherished family heirloom

By Emma Harper, with photographs by Monica Fritz | January 29, 2016


There are certain benefits to befriending a pistachio trader, as Serra Taşkent discovered during one of the many childhood summers she spent on Büyükada at the Splendid Palas Hotel – built by her great-grandfather in 1908. There she used to enjoy walking around the tables during dinner service, chatting to...
Posted in Travel

‘I can’t make love to you unless I imagine a palm tree’

‘Imagine a Palm Tree’ is a work in progress at the Benaki Museum. The artist Navine Khan-Dossos explains the project

By Navine G Khan-Dossos | January 25, 2016


‘I can’t make love to you unless I imagine a palm tree,’ says Justine in Lawrence Durrell’s Balthazar (The Alexandria Quartet, 1958). Since arriving in Athens I have heard a curious story, told and retold in different ways. It is about the removal of the palm trees from the urban...

Letters to the Editor: Sir Edward Barton (c.1533–1597)

The honorable demise of Queen Elizabeth’s envoy

By Scholar Squirrel | January 22, 2016


In splendidly illustrating the disappearing beauties and remaining monuments of ‘Istanbul Unwrapped,’ the two most recent issues of Cornucopia’s timely and moving series have recalled how Edward Barton, Queen Elizabeth I’s second ambassador to the Porte, came to be buried on Heybeliada in 1598. A photograph of Barton’s tombstone, relocated...
Posted in History, Letters to the Editor

Deciphering Islamic geometric design

Workshops and lectures with the artist and educator Eric Broug

By Emma Harper | January 21, 2016


As an Istanbullu, it’s easy to take the breathtaking beauty of Islamic geometric designs for granted. To start, many of the city’s architectural gems highlight Ottoman decorative arts that are more floral than geometric in design. As John Carswell wrote about the venerable Rüstem Pasha Mosque and its paradise garden...
Posted in Architecture, Islamic Art, Talks and Lectures

Pera’s coup

The Pera Museum to launch the V&A’s 2016 Jameel Prize

By Malika Browne | January 20, 2016


Is it coincidence, or the nationality of the last Jameel Prize winners, Turkish fashion designers, Ece and Ayşe Ege of Dice Kayek (see Cornucopia 44), that means Istanbul will host the fourth Jameel Prize? Whichever it is, today’s announcement that the Pera Museum will be the first external venue for...

Striking the right note

A peek into the history of women in Turkish music

By Emma Harper | January 14, 2016


Anatolian rock is a bit of a boy’s club. Or at least that’s how it seems at first. Anyone who loves this amalgamation of folk, rock and psychedelic music is more than familiar with Barış Manço, Erkin Koray and Cem Karaca. But, outside of the much-sampled Selda Bağcan, where are...
Posted in Music and Performing Arts

Theophania! Epiphany!

By Malika Browne | January 7, 2016

The Orthodox church certainly knows how to lighten what is otherwise the grimmest week of the year. I am standing on the freezing shore of the Golden Horn at Fener waiting to watch one of Great City’s most ancient rituals: the tossing of the crucifix into the Golden Horn on...
Posted in News, Travel

The eye-opening evolution of the nude in Turkish art

‘Bare, Naked, Nude’ at the Pera Museum

By Emma Harper | January 7, 2016


The reclining woman’s light pink dress is disappearing before my eyes – the thick material of the ankle-length, long-sleeved dress becomes ever more pellucid until it is only an outline framing the woman’s naked figure. In this video installation, the first artist to greet you as you enter the Bare,...
Posted in Exhibitions, History, Museums

Where coffee is king

By Cornucopia Arts Diary | January 6, 2016


The people of countless nations across the world are connected by the wonderful, enduring tradition: coffee-drinking. For millions, this universal dark liquid is an everyday treat, a comfort and a stimulant – a tonic to slow the frantic pace of modern life for a few precious moments. Turkish coffee had...

AyseDeniz’s Nirvana Project

By Tony Barrell | December 28, 2015


The last time that AyşeDeniz Gökçin came to our attention, she was adapting the music of Pink Floyd for the classical piano, with a nod to Franz Liszt (see ‘Magical Movements’, Cornucopia 50). Some of those Floyd songs dealt with serious subjects such as insanity and alienation, but now the...
Posted in Music and Performing Arts, Classical Music

Expanding horizons

Young Photographers Award 2015

By Emma Harper | December 28, 2015


Sometimes a burst of colour can go a long way in lifting your spirits, especially during the bleak midwinter. So if the short days and overcast skies are bringing on the winter blues, it will do you good to visit this year’s Young Photographers Award exhibition at Mixer in Karaköy....
Posted in Exhibitions, Photography

Good vibrations

‘ZERO: Countdown to the Future’ exhibition at the Sakıp Sabancı Museum

By Emma Harper | December 22, 2015


What is a painter without paint or a brush? The ZERO: Countdown to the Future exhibition at the Sakıp Sabancı Museum more or less answers that question: a member of the ZERO art group, a network of avant-garde artists who wanted to wipe the slate clean in the post-war period...
Posted in Exhibitions, Modern Art, Museums

Applications open for 2016 Moon and Stars Project grants

By The Cornucopia Blog | December 16, 2015


Artists, it’s time to flex your proposal-writing skills – applications for the Moon and Stars Project winter grants are due on January 31. Founded by The American Turkish Society in 2002, the Moon and Stars Project highlights and supports the best of Turkish arts and culture in the United States,...
Posted in Architecture, Contemporary Art, Literature, Music and Performing Arts

The talented Mr Müren

By Malika Browne | December 11, 2015


If you missed YapıKredi’s exhibition Işte Benim Zeki Müren last year, spare a few minutes for this small show at Mimar Sinan University about the non-musical offerings of Turkey’s Liberace. As well as a rare chance to get inside the marble halls of Zeki Müren’s alma mater on the Bosphorus,...

Pushing the boundaries of funk and jazz

Thundercat at Salon IKSV

By Emma Harper | December 10, 2015


My favourite bassline is, without a doubt, from Jackson 5’s hit song ‘I Want You Back’. It’s a playful, melodic and funky beat that does more than just ground the song – it makes it memorable. Listening to ‘I Want You Back’ on repeat as a kid, I learned for...
Posted in Music and Performing Arts, Jazz

Byzantine boon

By Emma Harper | December 8, 2015


You could say that a Byzantine Studies Research Center at Boğaziçi University has been a long time in the making. Alexander Van Millingen (1814–195), one of the first professors at Robert College, was a renowned scholar of Byzantine Constantinople and well known for his 1899 book Byzantine Constantinople: The Walls...
Posted in Archaeology, History, News

The real Black Russian

Letters to the Editor

By Cornucopia | December 4, 2015


The author Vladimir Alexandrov writes: I read with interest Thomas Roueché’s piece ‘Dancing Until Daybreak’ about Jazz-Age Istanbul in issue 51 of Cornucopia and am pleased that he cited my book, The Black Russian (and also reviewed it in issue 53).  However, I don’t think that the black man in...
Posted in Books, History, Letters to the Editor

Retracing Via Egnatia

The road that helped shaped history

By Roger Williams | December 4, 2015


Ancient Ways, a three-part radio programme by Bettany Hughes, begins on BBC Radio 4 today. The historian traces the Via Egnatia from Rome to Istanbul to show how this vital artery helped shape Europe and the Middle East, spanning the Ancient, Byzantine, Ottoman and modern worlds. This, says the programme...
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