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Melek Celâl: A Forgotten Woman of the Republic

The Many Ways of Melek Celâl

December 26, 2023 – April 28, 2024

Sakıp Sabancı Museum, Sakıp Sabancı Cad 42, Emirgan 34467 Istanbul

The focus of ‘A Forgotten Woman of the Republic’ is Melek Celâl (1896-1976), one of Turkey’s first woman artists. Trained in Istanbul and Paris, she not only produced paintings and sculptures but also wrote books that first brought Turkish folk art and the work of Turkish calligraphers to the attention of Westerners. The house in Moda, Kadıköy (on the Asian side), where she lived with her first husband Celal Sofu Bey, was frequented by the leading artists and writers of the day, including the celebrated poet Yahya Kemal. In 1935 she became the first Turkish woman to mount a solo exhibition. After Celal Sofu Bey’s death she married a German named Dr Lampe and went to live in Munich, where an exhibition of her work – described as ‘essentially realist but with impressionistic tendencies’ – was mounted in 1964. ‘A Forgotten Woman of the Republic: The Many Ways of Melek Celâl’, an exhibition on the life and work of this remarkable lady, is of interest not just for her creations but also as a figure spanning the late Ottoman and early Republican eras. JSD

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Issue 66, December 2023 Turkey’s Centenary Issue
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