Elements of Istanbul
Elements of Istanbul is a series of drawings and paintings portraying scenes quintessential to traditional life in Istanbul, and linking them within the theme of the elements: earth, air, water, fire and aether. It is suggested that all of creation, including the human body, is made up of these five essential elements. All together or one at a time, each element performs vital tasks in nature and in our own very bodies and minds, thereby balancing the cycle of the natural world.
The vignettes, objects and people depicted in this series are reminders of the past and defenders of the modern day struggle to keep human connection and tradition alive in an ever expanding city. Each piece, working as the elements do, to perform vital tasks that maintain balance within constant change. They also represent my time in Istanbul as a foreigner. As a resident, yet still an outside observer of the city, I find myself transfixed with small experiences as well as the pure esthetic beauty of everyday life.
Laundry strung across narrow streets, conversations over tea and coffee, swaying baskets full of groceries that have been lowered from high apartment windows, street vendors selling their wares; to me, these moments reflect the soul of Istanbul and its inhabitants’ response to their environment. In this series, I attempt to take these scenes out of their everyday context, allowing the viewer to connect with their personal experiences or memories while at the same time considering how every particle is also connection to the whole.
Elements of Istanbul was born out of my love for observation, tradition and memory. This body of work explores practical solutions in a giant city, beauty in simplicity and my pure fascination with Turkish culture.