Turkey gets Aussie-fied

By Victoria Khroundina | August 31, 2015

From next month until December, events continue as part of the ‘Australia in Turkey 2015’ festival. The biggest celebration of Australian culture in Turkey to date, it aims to enhance social and cultural understanding between the two countries. That it’s being celebrated in the same year as the centenary of the Battle of Gallipoli is no coincidence.

A number of cities are taking part, including Bodrum, Mardin, Izmir, Diyarbakır, Göreme and others in the Black Sea region, but the programme predominantly spans events in Istanbul and Ankara.

‘It is our historical, cultural and community connections that form the foundation of our close relationship with Turkey,’ said the Australian minister for foreign affairs, Julie Bishop, in a press release. ‘It comes at a time when Australia is closely engaged with Turkey on global challenges and in international forums through the MIKTA [Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, Turkey, Australia] initiative and the G20.’

A number of events have already taken place in the first half of the year but there’s a lot to still look forward to. The Gaia Gallery in Galatasaray has opened Neverwhere earlier this month. The works of eight renowned contemporary Australian artists are displayed in a show curated by Vikki Mcinnes and organised in collaboration with the Australian Embassy. And this weekend the Tophane-i Amire has opened Concrete, an exhibition in which 16 Australian and international artists consider the impact of time upon built and monumental form, to mark the centenary of the First World War. It is organised in a collaboration between the Monash University Museum of Art in Melbourne and the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University. There will also be various artist-in-residence programmes, with innovative Australian artists sharing their skills, knowledge and networks with local artists.

As for performance art, this coming weekend (September 4–7), the Melbourne-based Ranters Theatre will stage performances of Song at garaj in Galatasaray. This unique installation aims to be like a performance but removes the stage and transforms the space into an atmospheric listening room filled with songs and the colours, smells and sounds from Australian nature. Tickets can be purchased through Biletix. Later this month Australia’s leading indigenous performing-arts company, Bangarra Dance Theatre, will perform Spirit (main image), a deeply moving programme which includes some of the company’s most iconic pieces. Performances take place at 8:30pm on September 17 and 18 at the Zorlu Performing Arts Centre and are free to attend. Please email festival@dfat.gov.au for an invitation. Australia’s youth circus, Flying Fruit Fly Circus, will do a round of shows in Istanbul, Ankara and Diyarbakır. Shows for Istanbul have been announced and take place on September 18, 19 and 20, also at the Zorlu Performing Arts Centre. Tickets can be purchased through Biletix. Another highlight will be a hypnotising show from the award-winning Melbourne company Strange Fruit, fusing theatre, dance and circus on five-metre-long flexible poles (taking place in Göreme, Istanbul and Ankara). Check here for show times and locations in Istanbul

In film, the world’s largest short-film festival, Tropfest, which was founded in Melbourne, will be held at Babylon in Istanbul, Ankara IF, Eskişehir Peyote and Çanakkale Hayal Kahvesi. Screenings will be followed by concerts by the Australian/Turkish band Bashka, and will take place in November. A number of Australian films will also be screened as part of the SineMardin Film Festival, from October 2 to 9.

The Melbourne Ska Orchestra performs a series of concerts from September 4 to 6 at garaj. After each performance, the Darwin duo Sietta will continue the party (tickets here). Australian musicians will also perform at the Babylon – Australia Music Festival and the Göreme Contemporary Music Festival.

There will also be a number of culinary events. This Friday, the Istanbul-born chef Somer Sivrioglu, who owns the Sydney restaurant Efendy and is the author of the best-selling cookbook Anatolia, will do a book launch and drinks at Homer Kitabevi on Yeni Çarşı Caddesi from 6pm. The Melbourne-based landscape designer Joost Bakker will operate a number of pop-up restaurants, all completely sustainable and waste-free, in Şişhane park for the month of September. ‘Everything will be made from scratch, we’ll use locally sourced produce, including ancient Turkish grains, and we’ll cook over a fire,’ Bakker told the Sydney Morning Herald back in November. ‘I’m most excited about connecting up with some of the best chefs in Istanbul. Together we’ll be collaborating on our interpretation of their food.’ In October SALT Beyoğlu will host Food & Film, a collaboration between the Adelaide Film Festival and Gastronomika. Food-themed Australian short films will be presented with matching Australian food, with interpretation provided by Turkish chefs.

Check this useful Facebook page for updates.

Posted in Contemporary Art, Culinary Arts, Design, Exhibitions, Film, History, Modern Art, Music and Performing Arts, News
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