Turkish homes, memorable scents and novel topographies

Three 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

Stiff competition

Tickets go on sale for the 35th Istanbul Film Festival, a massive cinematic event

By Emma Harper | March 26, 2016


The IKSV Film Festival is, in one word, immense. Over the course of 11 days, 221 films from 62 countries will be screened. Yet while the size of the event is noteworthy, what separates this film festival from the others organised in Istanbul is its focus on competitions. The seven...
Posted in Film, Music and Performing Arts, News

Earning accolades abroad

‘The Eye of Istanbul’, a documentary on Ara Güler, wins big at the DC Independent Film Festival

By Emma Harper | March 24, 2016


Ara Güler has found himself in the spotlight yet again. Last week it was announced that The Eye of Istanbul, a documentary film about the legendary Armenian-Turkish photographer and the culmination of his retrospective exhibition in Istanbul, won Best of Fest at the DC Independent Film Festival. The screening at...
Posted in Exhibitions, Film, News, Photography

Summer study in Istanbul: 2016 edition

Koç University offers language programmes and courses on the urban environment

By Emma Harper | March 20, 2016


Once summer rolls around, the make-up of Istanbul’s population shifts ever so slightly. While many residents decamp to summer houses and small villages to escape the heat and humidity, the city receives an influx of (mainly foreign) students who enrol in the various summer courses on offer. This year Koç...
Posted in Archaeology, History

Past, present, future

A trio of contemporary art exhibitions in Istanbul examine Turkey throughout time

By Emma Harper | March 17, 2016


Delving into Turkey’s past, present and future is on the docket this month as we explore three exhibitions in Istanbul – truth be told, we like our art with a dash of history. First stop is The Empire Project in Cihangir to see Burhan Kum’s solo show Unofficial (ending April 23)....
Posted in Contemporary Art, Exhibitions, History

All the world’s a stage

Tickets go on sale for the 20th Istanbul Theatre Festival

By Emma Harper | March 11, 2016


The clowns are coming to town, ready to shuffle off this mortal coil. Not that Istanbul is an especially dangerous place for clowns. But when the 20th Theatre Festival takes over the city in May, these particular clowns will have to die, over and over again. Four members of Spymonkey,...
Posted in Music and Performing Arts, News

Spotlight on Istanbul’s street dogs

‘Taşkafa: Stories of the Street’ screening at Somerset House in London

By Emma Harper | March 6, 2016


‘Hundreds of dogs were laying in the streets and enjoying the sun from Pera all the way to Şişli! It is not exactly an attractive sight. These mangy dogs who often exhibit wounds inflicted by their co-sufferers neither move for pedestrians nor for carriages or trams. People usually just step...
Posted in Exhibitions, Film

The story behind the scaffolding

An architectural history of the Narmanlı Han, now under restoration

By Emma Harper | March 2, 2016


Keeping track of Istanbul’s ever-changing cityscape is a full-time job, especially as skyscrapers and mixed-use developments have mushroomed in the past decade. Accompanying the construction boom are questions of how the city’s past should factor into its future growth – what role does historical preservation play in a city obsessed...
Posted in Architecture, History, News

The neighbourhood has changed

In conversation with the artist and cartoonist Cem Dinlenmiş about his exhibition ‘You’ll Know When You See It’ at x-ist

By Emma Harper | February 23, 2016


When it comes to recent developments in Turkey, sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying. One of the best at finding the humour in what would otherwise make you weep is Cem Dinlenmiş, the artist and cartoonist whose weekly ‘Anything Goes’ (‘Her Şey Olur’) column in Penguen pointedly...

The travelling treasures of King Midas

Artefacts from four museums in Turkey are on loan to the ‘The Golden Age of King Midas’ exhibition at Penn Museum

By Emma Harper | February 18, 2016


Travelling to Gordion in 1950, scholars from the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (Penn Museum) couldn’t have foreseen the treasures they would unearth. Seven years later, a team of archaeologists would behold an extraordinary sight inside Tumulus MM (Midas Mound), the largest of Gordion’s man-made burial mounds:...

Stifling the subversive street art of Banksy

‘The Art of Banksy’ exhibition at Global Karaköy takes the artist’s work out of context and packages it for consumers

By Emma Harper | February 11, 2016


A tube train approaches a station, tracks rattling noisily, the blinking headlamps blinding and the heavy metal carriages sending tremors through surrounding structures and human bodies alike. The experience of standing in a station as a train pulls in, an elemental aspect of city living, is difficult to duplicate. Just...
Posted in Contemporary Art, Exhibitions, News, Gezi Protests

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's voracity saw him falling head first into the chocolate river, your desire to see everything could leave...
Posted in Film
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