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Revisiting Mihri Hanım (1885-1954): A Woman Painter in the late Ottoman Empire

A BIAA Online Lecture by Gizem Tongo

June 24, 2021
Thursday, 19:00 – 21:00 (Ankara UTC+3)
The seminar will be held via Zoom, register here for details.

Born in Istanbul in 1885, Mihri was one of the most technically accomplished portraitists of her time, producing vivid and richly coloured portraits of individuals both within and beyond her elite circle that suggest her often female sitters’ agency. Having been instrumental in the foundation of the Academy of Fine Arts in Istanbul (1914), she also served as its first woman director and a painting instructor during the First World War and the Armistice Period.

This talk, drawing on contemporary material from the period (art reviews, interviews, archival documents, and artworks), focuses on her artistic production and active role in the Istanbul art world during the final decade of the Ottoman Empire and explores the reasons—political or otherwise—behind the previous relative neglect of her work in art-historical discourse and museum practice and her recent reinstatement and high profile in Turkish cultural memory.

Dr Gizem Tongo is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow of the British Institute At Ankara (BIAA). The general focus of her research is the cultural history of the late Ottoman Empire and she is particularly interested in the relationship between war and culture during conflict and its aftermath. She has also been involved in co-curating and consulting for exhibitions, including Mihri: A Migrant Painter of Modern Times (2019) at Salt Galata Istanbul.

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