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The family behind the Chalabi Art Gallery has a long history in antiques and art. Paul Chalabi is a fourth-generation antiques dealer selling antique jewellery, silverware and objets d’art at the Grand Bazaar. In the 1990s, his sister Elizabet Chalabi took over an antique shop and gallery that specialised in Ottoman antiques and Orientalist paintings from their father who founded the shop in the 1980s. In 2003, the Chalabi family and another Turkish antique dealer family, the Keskiners, established the Alif Art auction house, and have since become leading auctioneers in the city.
In 2011, the Chalabi Art Gallery was opened to exhibit contemporary art. Today, the space acts as a showroom for lots in the lead-up to Alif Art auctions and as a contemporary art gallery which stages three to four exhibitions per year.
The gallery has a modest roster of Turkish and European contemporary artists, comprising those who work in the more traditional disciplines of painting and photography. There is the French photographer Joanna Andraos; the German painter Martin Kasper; the Turkish painter Sezin Aksoy; and the young Turkish artist Evren Karayel Gökkaya, who paints understated, realistic scenes of Istanbul’s neighbourhoods.
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