Ankara is hosting an exhibition called "Bridges" that features artwork of mutual culture from both sides of the Aegean. Similar motifs painted by the artists from these two neighboring countries invite people on a journey into the mystic world of the Orient.
Works by Turkish painter Hatice Kumbaracı Gürsöz and Greek painter Sophia Kalogeropoulou prove the brotherhood between Greece and Turkey. "As a person who has lived in Turkey for years, I think this exhibition confirms the already-existing sympathy between the two nations," Greek Ambassador to Ankara Fotios J. Xydas said during the opening ceremony last week.
Growing up with tales
Gürsöz, who was awarded with Abdi İpekçi Peace Prize in 1996, said they aimed to create a bridge between the two countries through art. "Because, art tolerates tensions and colors the world."
Indeed, the friendship bridge between Gürsöz and Kalogeropoulou was established through the world of art. "My husband was a Turkish ambassador to Greece. While I was living there, I met with Kalogeropoulou. She was illustrating Queen Scheherazade’s tales and this attracted my attention," Gürsöz said.
"We grew up with these tales. It’s a common culture," Kalogeropoulou said. "I painted Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. When Gürsöz saw, she came and asked if I had ever been to Turkey. I had never been in Turkey until the first ’Bridges’ exhibition in İzmir. However, I had many photographs of Turkey and had an idea about the country," she said.
Kalogeropoulou’s works, which include Oriental figures and magical elements, can be considered as a gate to the vast lands of imagination. Her pictures depicting Scheherazade’s tales, mermaids, flying carpets, innocent dance of Salome and the magical atmosphere of the renowned "A Midsummer Night’s Dream" promise a world of surrealism.
"I want a little escape, that’s why the carpets are flying. One should face reality but also have a little place in her mind to keep her own dreams," Kalogeropoulou said.
While Kalogeropoulou’s works tell tales, Gürsöz’s works reflect different sections from Turkey. A traditional Turkish bride, the Bosphorus, the rural lifestyle and love are the main topics of Gürsöz’s colorful world. Thus, Kalogeropoulou, who tells tales, and Gürsöz, who depicts life, balance each other, creating a microcosm of the real world in the exhibition hall. The exhibition, which was opened in Athens before, can be seen at the State Art and Sculpture Museum until Feb. 28.