Chelsea’s Central Asian flower show

Gardens of Delight: enchanting suzanis at the Afridi Gallery

By Roger Williams | June 26, 2018

Shabaz Afridi hadn’t quite realised the significance of opening his new gallery on the day of the Brexit referendum. The small advertisement he had placed in the Financial Times appeared following the vote — and as newspapers were being picked over on news broadcasts, the name of the Afridi gallery...
Posted in Islamic Art, Textiles

Karim’s kaleidoscope of musical history

In the finale to the Istanbul Recitals 2017–18 season, Karim Said spun a mesmerising web of music across time

By John Shakespeare Dyson | June 14, 2018

The piano recital by Karim Said at the Sakıp Sabancı Museum (‘The Seed’) in Emirgan, Istanbul, on Tuesday June 12 was preceded by a talk in which the performer described the rationale behind his choice of the works in what was, to be truthful, an extremely unusual programme. Born into...

Istanbul writes herself

How four words on the side of a bus triggered Yeşim Cimcoz’s cure for writer’s block

By Yeşim Cimcoz | June 10, 2018

‘New York Writes Itself.’ Splattered across a city bus, the words roll past me (writes Yeşim Cimcoz, photographed above by Monica Fritz). Maybe that was what started it all. I grab my mobile phone, write in the web address and before me opens a bright yellow website. People all over...
Posted in Literature

The sounds now departing…

A fond farewell to the Istanbul Music Festival

By John Shakespeare Dyson | June 8, 2018

Your reviewer’s final foray into the 46th İKSV İstanbul Music Festival was a concert on the platform of Sirkeci Railway Station on Wednesday, June 6. Featuring the Turkish singer Meral Azizoğlu and the Hungarian ‘Gypsy Fire’ ensemble, the music was preceded by a talk given by the novelist and short...
Posted in Music and Performing Arts, Classical Music

Strings and things

Mischa Maisky and the Franz Liszt Chamber Orhcestra at the Aya İrini – the Istanbul Music Festival reviews (part 4)

By John Shakespeare Dyson | June 6, 2018

The fourth event your reviewer attended during the 46th İKSV İstanbul Music Festival was a concert by the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra and cellist Mischa Maisky at the Aya İrini on Saturday, June 2. This was a feast of ultra-professional string sound – a real string beano, in fact. (Reader...
Posted in Music and Performing Arts, Classical Music


John Shakespeare Dyson was grolloped by his third Istanbul Festival offering: the Filarmonica della Scala and Daniil Trifonov…

By John Shakespeare Dyson | May 29, 2018

Well, now. Your reviewer is still reeling from the pianist’s performance at the concert on Sunday night (Filarmonica della Scala and Daniil Trifonov at the Lütfi Kırdar Concert Hall, May 27) – the third event he attended during the 46th İKSV İstanbul Music Festival. Will he recover in time to...
Posted in Music and Performing Arts, Classical Music

The secret life of Singapore

A visual exploration of the lesser known

By Suraya Yusof | May 29, 2018

A stone's throw away from the bustle of Istiklal Caddesi, the Pera Museum nestles among the ivory façades of Tepebaşı. With its dual focus on historical and contemporary art, the museum has embarked on a series of international collaborations since its inauguration 13 years ago. Memorable shows included Andy Warhol:...
Posted in Contemporary Art, Photography

Into Smaug’s Lair with a horsehair bow: Charlie Siem and the Tekfen Philharmonic

Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances and Tchaikovsky’s cruel challenge: Cornucopia’s Istanbul Festival reviews continue at Aya İrini

By John Shakespeare Dyson | May 27, 2018

I never thought I would ever hear Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D Major played by an old Etonian, let alone in a Byzantine church in İstanbul, but that is exactly what happened on Friday evening (May 25) at the second of the concerts I attended during the 46th İKSV Istanbul...
Posted in Music and Performing Arts, Classical Music

Roll over Rachmaninov… after the mellow langour the fireworks begin

Yekwon Sunwoo and the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra: a heart-warming first night of the Istanbul Festival

By John Shakespeare Dyson | May 24, 2018

The 46th İstanbul Music Festival, organised by the İstanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV), kicked off with a concert at the Lütfi Kırdar Concert Hall last night (Wednesday, May 23). Once again I was prompted to reflect on how far we have come since I first attended a classical...
Posted in Music and Performing Arts, Classical Music

In the grand Italian manner

A new book on the extraordinary story of the great Italian architects of late-Ottoman Istanbul

By Monica Fritz | May 13, 2018

I was first introduced to Turkey on a road trip with Paolo Girardelli back in 1993. Starting from Rome we drove to Istanbul and took the famous Truva ferry to Trabzon in quest of abandoned Georgian churches. Together with other excited friends we climbed the hills and trekked through tea...
Posted in Architecture, Books


Didem Pekün's haunting film elegy

By Julie Witford | May 7, 2018

Two art film directors from Turkey were represented at this year’s Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival in the Scottish Borders: Didem Pekün, with Araf (UK premiere), and Nazlı Dinçel, with Shape of a Surface. Araf follows the diary of a ghostly character, Nayia, who returns to Bosnia for the 22nd...
Posted in Film

Back to the wall: Belkıs Balpınar and the evolution of the modern kilim

By Monica Fritz | May 6, 2018

Are kilims artisan throw rugs or woven art? No one is better placed to answer this than Belkis Balpınar. Former director of the  Vakiflar Carpet and Kilim Museum in Istanbul, she has continued for decades to champion the Turkish flatweave and to raise it, literally, to another dimension. Belkıs Balpınar's...
Posted in Contemporary Art, Textiles

Tweet t’woo

Mika Tajima's digital emotional mesmerizes Monica Fritz

By Monica Fritz | April 23, 2018

Well, who would guess that a visit to the office would be a fun way to spend Children's Day! At weekends, Borusan's offices, housed in the Yusuf Ziya Pasha's Pavillion, morphs into the Bosusan Contemporry Art Gallery, with not a paper clip in sight. The newest exhibitor is the New...

Richard Burton in Damascus

A new exhibition at Orleans House Gallery

By Roger Williams | April 19, 2018

This small painting by Frederic Leighton of Sir Richard Burton’s house in Damascus is one of the delights of a new display about the diplomat and traveller at Orleans House Gallery in west London. The aristocratic Palladian villa now holds the Richmond upon Thames Borough Art Collection, and Burton memorabilia...

Formidable feast

Javier Perianes brings bravura, moodiness and passion to Chopin, Debussy and de Falla at SMM’s concert hall, the Seed

By John Shakespeare Dyson | April 11, 2018

The Spanish pianist Javier Perianes arrived in Istanbul on Tuesday April 10 hotfoot from a lunchtime recital at the Wigmore Hall in London the previous day and is to be heartily congratulated for demonstrating that the lyricism for which he has been justly praised cannot be compromised by being shaken...
Posted in Music and Performing Arts, Classical Music

Sultan’s photos finally published

London Book Fair 2018 round-up

By Roger Williams | April 11, 2018

This photograph of a ferry carrying visitors to Furness Abbey in Cumbria comes from British–Ottoman Relations through the Yıldız Palace Photography Collection, launched at Olympia on the first day of the London Book Fair yesterday. The photographs were collected by Sultan Abdulhamid II (1876–1909) and are published by the Sultan...

Babylon’s Hanging Gardens come to the Penn

A Gala Night celebrates the reopening of the famous Middle East Galleries.

By Roger Williams | April 11, 2018

The Penn Museum in Philadelphia has a Gala Night, billed as An Evening on the Fertile Crescent, on Saturday, April 14 to celebrate the opening of its refurbished Middle East Galleries.  “For one night only," runs the invitation, “experience the celebrated architecture, gardens, and fountains of the Penn Museum, dressed...

Cruel fate

Shipping nightmare for an historic yalı

By John Scott | April 8, 2018

Of all the houses on the Bosphorus that had to be struck by the Vitaspirit, a 74,000-ton, 225 metre cargo ship yesterday afternoon, did it have to be the Hekimbaşı Yalı? And not only that but the most historic part of the house. Every creaking floorboard, every inch of its...
Posted in News

Portrait of an artist: Mike Berg

By Monica Fritz | March 30, 2018

Mike Berg arrived in Istanbul shortly after the 1999 earthquake. However, our conversation started with a passionate description of his ranch and the peacefulness he felt in total silence. Mike Berg, gouache, 2018 A father of four and newly a grandfather, Berg delights in moving between his three worlds, a...
Posted in Contemporary Art, Design

Where feelings fly low

Hale Tanger’s ‘Under’ and other highlights on Alserkal Avenue

By Tim Cornwell | March 24, 2018

The first impression of Under, the Dubai art installation created by the Turkish artist Hale Tenger, and her long-time collaborator musician Serdar Ateşer, is that someone has put a tree in a box. The box in question lies in Alserkal Avenue, a striking but treeless zone of leading Middle Eastern...
Posted in Contemporary Art, Exhibitions
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