“Ecotherapy” in the fishing villages of Istanbul

Istanbul is, I believe, one of the most magical cities in the world. It is unique as it is the only metropolis in the world to extend into more than one continent. Napolean was apparently very impressed with Istanbul. If all the world were a single state, he said, this city should be its capital Home to nearly twenty million inhabitants, the city has been convulsing for many years now by a population influx, to some degree losing its charm Absorbing new residents each year, areas are being opened to property development by destroying former green reaches, with new districts … Continue reading “Ecotherapy” in the fishing villages of Istanbul

“Dreamers” with Shirin Neshat

I do remember the first time I saw Shirin Neshat’s work at a gallery, a good ten years ago now.   I had just moved to Istanbul.  And I also remember being so emotionally moved.  I remember very vividly the power of those photographs. Veiled women, just their faces, sometimes only eyes, feet or hands showing, inscribed with Persian calligraphy and poetry.  The impact, the dominance, the political message was just so strong.  Her photographs so evocative. The visual language so powerful. And I remember watching on tv the commanding speech She gave at the Crystal Awards ceremony during the World … Continue reading “Dreamers” with Shirin Neshat

Antique Ankara

Ankara has a tender spot in my heart.   Having lived in Turkey’s capital in my elementary school days way back in the late 70s, I have been back every year for the last ten years to meet my childhood friend for a long weekend in August.  We reminisce about the good old times, laugh a lot, gossip a little, shop some and make sure to observe our ritual of spending at least half a day “re-exploring” the winding lanes of Ankara Citadel.   It is our ceremonial procession to commemorate “the” annual reunion.       We try to invade as many … Continue reading Antique Ankara

Fazıl Say’s Mesopotamia Symphony is beyond words

Music is no doubt a universal language and a very powerful at that. It has the potential to evoke a myriad emotions…comfort, solace, jubilance, bliss, joy, sorrow, misery, distress, anguish, grief, heartache and the feelings it stirs can go on and on…but above all it has the power to soothe and feed the soul. There are of course composers one feels closer to, perhaps because of the emotional impact they convey with their music, perhaps because their themes strike closer to heart, perhaps due to the historical context, perhaps due to choice of instruments, the familiarity of the melodies, perhaps … Continue reading Fazıl Say’s Mesopotamia Symphony is beyond words

Tea, that heartwarming drink reflecting Turkish hospitality

Turkey’s love affair with tea goes beyond being just a caffeine vehicle. It is a social lubricant, an inseparable and compassionate companion for many who sip the crimson coloured liquid anywhere and anytime from sunrise to sunset. It is so magical that it has a cooling effect during boiling hot summer days, warming effect during the most frigid winter months, healing powers for the sick, the heartbroken, recharhing powers for the fatigued, relaxing powers for the stressed. That is how extraordinary and hence essential tea is for the Turks. Not only is it magical and addictive, tea is very much … Continue reading Tea, that heartwarming drink reflecting Turkish hospitality

The news blackout in Turkey

My intention today was to finally write the short piece I have promised my friend Marissa on the Poliakoff exhibition I was fortunate enough to catch in Paris at the end of January. However the turn of events unfolding in my beautiful country has forced me to “put pen to paper” on a completely different matter. As of midnight March 20th 2014, Twitter has been blocked by our prime minister. The approximately 10 million users across Turkey are denied access to “tweet”. At a local election campaign rally in Bursa he threatened to “eradicate” Twitter and definitely kept his word, … Continue reading The news blackout in Turkey

That famed street renown for art galleries in Istanbul: Boğazkesen

This afternoon I changed my regular route and decided to stroll from the architecturally enriching, very colourful and except for Sunday mornings, the forever clamorous touristy Istiklal Street down to one of my favourite museums, Istanbul Modern via Boğazkesen Street. Boğazkesen definitely deserves a long account of her stories to be disclosed, all from the history of the current Tomtom Suites, to the presently abandoned home of French nuns of St Joseph’s Orphanage to the myriad art galleries for which Bogazkesen is now well known for. However today she will merely shine through snapshots. Literally translated as “throat slitter” the … Continue reading That famed street renown for art galleries in Istanbul: Boğazkesen

A Rendez-Vous with Nana Mouskouri

Even though I do not remember the first time I heard a song by Nana Mouskouri, or which one it was for that matter, her folksy tunes have been traveling with me throughout my life – from way back when I was in primary school in the 70s, to my boarding school days in the 80s, to college in the early 90s and presently in my car CD collection touring Istanbul. Her multi-languaged repertoire has hence surpassed just being a name on album covers to becoming sountracks reminiscent of my life episodes, bringing into my mind a remark by the … Continue reading A Rendez-Vous with Nana Mouskouri

A short promenade around Istanbul’s irresistable Grand Bazaar

The region between Galata Bridge and Beyazıt is the old market district of the city. As well as being one of the oldest, it is also one of the most architecturally rich and picturesque quarters of Istanbul where the tumultous sreets are full of clamour and commotion with crowds of shoppers hurrying along the maze of streets and sidewalk vendors trying to grab their attention. It is also a part of Istanbul where one is more than likely to come across a typical Turkish Bath which is has kept its authenticity to a degree without becoming too commercialized. Albeit brisk … Continue reading A short promenade around Istanbul’s irresistable Grand Bazaar

Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art – a gem amongst the high rises in Istanbul’s financial hub

Perched on the European side of Istanbul, Maslak is the typical business district with soaring steel buildings, sparse pedestrian traffic during the day, plenty of congestion at rush hour and eyecatching neon lights at night. Hence it was a huge surprise for me to discover a museum embraced by all the towering steel and glass buildings where most of the daily activities revolve around business plans, long meetings, fancy power point presentations, financial figures and lots and lots of coffee breaks. Proje 4L Elgiz Museum of Contemporary art was the treasure trove of the week – thank you TEB private … Continue reading Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art – a gem amongst the high rises in Istanbul’s financial hub