International Contemporary Masters Volume VII
Seven of my artworks are featured in International Contemporary Masters Volume VII published by World Wide Art Books, Santa Barbara, California, USA. I was very pleased with the quality of the publication.
The artworks selected by the Editors are all from 2008 -9 and I thought I would take this opportunity to blog about what these paintings meant to me when I created them.
These pictures were taken at home in Scotland with one of the featured artworks.
The four images illustrated on the page below are part of my Cyprus Time Bomb Series, painted in 2008. The art works in this series are a commentary on the political circumstances affecting the community of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
The paintings present a range of perspectives on the situation in Northern Cyprus. They reflect my concerns about how such a small community is made a pawn in a much larger political game and the fact that many people seem oblivious to the manipulations behind the scenes. They also question the actions and motives of many of those involved.
I try to express the underlying emotional currents that exist when a community has been denied human rights over a long period of time, and the emotional impact on the lives of ordinary people.
The Fly Is Small But Turns Stomach (Oil / mixed media on board 103.5 x 94.5)
The title of this artwork is a play on a traditional Turkish saying. The message is that even a small fly can transmit disease or create major contamination. I used the fly to represent people with certain ideas; although small in number they can infect the thinking of others or contaminate the situation for a whole community. I wanted to use the metaphor to comment on how powerful nations use certain “small” people to try to manipulate the political situation in Cyprus to their own advantage.
Unhappy Years (Oil /mixed media on board 103.5 x 94.5)
The large green faces in the top corner represent political power brokers at work behind the scenes to pursue their own interests. The hidden faces behind the weave are part of the isolated community in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. They are unhappy because their community is under embargoes, locked in and unable to operate freely in the world. The people watch silently and intently, waiting to see how events unfold. The group of unhappy faces stuck together are those who understand the situation and can see the political machinations but are unable to bring about changes to help the people. When I painted this image I wanted to express my sense of the deep unhappiness lingering in my Turkish Community in Cyprus. I felt we were alone in a sea of confusion and uncertainty with no clear sense of the future and not knowing which way to turn. I could see the political powers at work behind the scenes, working to their own ends. The overall feeling of the artwork reflects a deep sense of the personal unhappiness I have experienced during my life in Cyprus.
Cyprus Puppet Show (Oil / mixed media on board 103.5 x 94.5)
In this painting I wanted to make a comment on the manipulations that go on behind the scenes in the search for a Cyprus Solution. The central image is two donkeys head to head, with several other donkeys on each side, representing the Turkish and Greek communities. The Cyprus donkey is known for its size and strength but it is not an intelligent animal. I used it as a symbol to comment on my feelings about the search for a political solution (ongoing since 1958). The central dark face represents other states intent on achieving their own agendas. They manipulate behind the scenes and make political donkeys of the leaders in Cyprus. The swirling forms around the central image symbolise the tangled web that these others have woven around the island. It consists of a complex range of interests that have become so intertwined that nobody can untangle it. The human faces embedded in the central image represent the people of Cyprus who have a range of different ideas and emotional responses to the situation. They are caught in the middle of the tangle and feel powerless to bring about change. In creating this image I wanted to convey a sense of the depth and emotional complexity of the problems in the Cyprus situation.
Divide The Community (Oil / mixed media on board 103.5 x 94.5)
I painted this image as a symbol of the divide created in the community of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus by the push to achieve a YES vote in the referendum in 2008. I felt that this small community was being used as a pawn in a much larger political game. Each group has different interests and makes representations to the people. This divides the community and pulls it apart so that people don’t know which way to turn.
In the Cyprus Time Bomb series I developed my Turkish Weave technique. I created this new style by researching the forms of old Uygur Turkish writing and experimenting with ways to adapt them into oil painting using the sgrafitto technique. The remaining artworks in the publication were painted in 2009 when I was still experimenting to find my own style. I wanted to develop a Turkish style of painting and had been thinking about how to adapt the forms of Ebru (Turkish marbling using water based paints) into an oil painting technique. The remaining three artworks in the publication are examples of early developments of my Turkish Whirling style, which is based on adapting the forms of marbling using an oil painting technique rather than the traditional water based methods used in Ebru.
Special Face (Oil / mixed media on board 52 x 70 cm)
This painting is part of my Endless Expression Series (2009). I wanted to express a special type of face, one that changes depending on which part is covered or revealed. This face is meant to symbolise the many facets of human nature. It reflects the human ability to conceal what is inside, even from one’s self, and to project very different aspects of self to others, depending on the situation, the relationship and the hidden motivations.
Lust (Oil / mixed media on board 52 x 70 cm)
I created this artwork in 2009 because I was very unhappy about the way I heard many men talk about women. I made the breasts look like something delicious to eat, to symbolise this attitude of treating women like a piece of meat. These men do not think of woman as a human being but as something to be taken, enjoyed and used. The ugly dark face with the tongue is my way of expressing unbridled lust. The yellow portraits all around the torso are meant to represent the different ways that men lust after women and do not show respect for them as people. I am concerned about cultural stereotypes in certain communities that lead half of the population to be treated in this way and to accept the conditioning that comes with the assigned role. A deeper meaning is that it seems that humanity assigns greater value to the outward “masculine” aspects of life, but do not value in the same way the inner “feminine” aspects of our lives. Yet psychologically we crave these inner aspects and the way men express this need is to lust after females in the physical world.
Harmony (Oil / mixed media on board 52 x 70 cm)
This artwork is one of my Joy of Discovery Series (2009), which is an experimental series, painted when I was developing my Turkish Whirling technique. At this stage in my career I was searching to develop my own style that could be recognised as Turkish. I became very happy because I knew that I had found what I was looking for. I created many paintings, each trying to visually express a particular emotion or theme.