Yadigâr “memento” Exhibit Celebrating the Textiles and Handicrafts of Southeastern Anatolia, Turkey, to Benefit Earthquake Victims
A special exhibition Yadigâr “memento” – The Textiles and Handicrafts of Southeastern Anatolia, Turkey, will take place from 10 am to 6 pm on Saturday, May 6, 2023, at the Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Santa Monica (1260 18th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90404).
The daylong public exhibit will feature vintage textile arts and handicrafts from Southeastern Anatolia, the area of Turkey recently devastated by the earthquake. The region is located at the top of the fertile crescent where agriculture first began, with recent archeological finds pointing to at least 12,000 years of settlements there. Since its origin, this area has been on multiple trade and migration routes, hosting diverse religions, states, and empires, all of which contribute to its rich tapestry of cultures, arts, and handicrafts. The vintage pieces on display tell the stories that were weaved, threaded, or hammered into them.
Tickets will be available at the door and are available to pre-purchase at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/yadigar-memento-exhibit-of-textile-arts-and-handicrafts-from-se-anatolia-tickets-616272958007 (Prices range from $10 for general admission to $25-$35 for exhibition & lunch, with individual workshops at $30-$35 per session.)
After the devastating earthquake, it has become even more important, and poignant, to display these vintage pieces and artifacts, and preserve these arts.
Event chairperson Vega Sankur comments, “This region has lost many lives, and also lost in the rubble a significant amount of these handmade items and the knowledge and the history they hold. The lives cannot ever be replaced but we can hopefully help revive the arts. It is now vital to preserve this knowledge for the next generations.”
The organization has been raising funds for immediate needs and will continue to do so. A portion of the exhibit’s proceeds will be used to help the artisans to restart their crafts, and to teach new students to learn these arts. The organizers have been working with regional art and crafts institutes (Olgunlasma) and cultural centers (Halk evleri) to understand their needs and pledge to support them however possible.
The exhibit will feature the handicrafts and textile artifacts created using over 30 different techniques, including Antep Embroidery, Mother of Pearl Embossing, Traditional Turkish Leather Handmade Shoes (kosgerlik ve yemenicilik), Woolen Cloth Weaving (Aba Dokumaciligi), Copper Works, Silver Embroidering, Rug Weaving in Gaziantep, Pottery, Embossed Cotton, Beaded Edging, Cross-stitch, Dival-style Metallic Thread Oya Embroidery, Wool Felting, Woodstamp, and Needlepoint. Traditional Turkish tea/coffee and sweets will be offered. The lunch will include specialty dishes from the region.
A highlight of the day will be the special program of four interactive, educational workshops, demonstrating Wool Felting, Pottery, Woodstamp, and Henna. Traditional Turkish food and beverages will be available.
The event’s theme Yadigâr “memento” is expressed in its dramatic logo. Sometimes a story of many words can simply be expressed with a single motif. The “Yadigâr” (memento) logo tells the story of years of traditional handicrafts with the overlap of two distinct motifs; the combination of the “Koçbaşı” (the ram’s head) and “Elibelinde” (hands on hips) motifs overlaid in this logo represents the ultimate power and fertility and motherhood, respectively,” comments event co-chair Nalan Kumlali Atahan.
“The intertwined outside square frames of the two motifs make up eight corners. These corners represent Anatolian values of compassion, guidance, patience, secrecy, generosity, loyalty, gratitude, and righteousness,” adds event co-chair Gulendam Ece.
A special VIP reception on the evening of May 5 will open the event.
Proceeds to benefit the handicraft artisans of Southeastern Anatolia, Turkey, which was the region affected by the recent earthquake. The event is presented by Ataturk Cultural Center, a non-profit chapter of the American Turkish Association of Southern California.
Photos Courtesy of ATASC.
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