In the International Terra-Cotta Symposium organized in Eskisehir for 24 year, "100th Year Republic Monument" is made this year by 24 artists. The opening of this work located in the street bearing the name of Ismet Inonu, is performed after the 100th Year People's March which's organized by Eskisehir Republic Coalition on 29th October.
PROF. BILGEHAN UZUNER
It would be just the right think for the human that's intellectualized, liberalized and modernized by the Republic, to seal and crown his/her loyalty to homeland, thankfulness to his/her founding leader and his/her respect to the Republic with art; and we did so. We have produced about 250 ceramic sculptures to this date in the Terra-Cotta Symposium which I've been organizing for 24 years. I think the chimney-formed monument we did in the name of health care workers in the pandemic period and the 100th Year Monument have a particular value for they're the products of a collective work. The idea of a symposium has made its 24th year since the year of 2000 and the number of symposiums we organized has made it to 16.
In this year of 2023 where we made it to the 100th year of our Republic, we decided together with our President Dr. Ahmet Atac to produce a work of art dedicated to the 100th year. Specific for this situation, we developed the idea of creating a huge work under the Anatolian collective work "Sun of Republic" together with 24 Turkish artists. Together with 24 artist academicians, 30 student assistants and 25 municipal staff, we brought the monumental work into being with a tiring, stressful but productive work between 4th-17th September. I have to express my gladness of organizing and realizing the most meaningful symposium which I felt proudful by the end. Our 100th Year Monument will have its place among the significant examples of the Turkish ceramics history. There's a keystone which I created with Ataturk's relief at the center of the work and this stone holds all the rays of the Republic like a load-bearing arch used in architecture. With this monument where the cultures and traces of artists are stacked like a hand fan with sun rays, I would like to thank to all my artists friends, our dear assistant students, our municipal workers and of course our president Ahmet Atac. May our 100th year of Republic be blessed.
Ahmet Ataç and Bilgehan Uzuner
What did the artists participating in the collective work say?
It was an honor to take part in the 16th Terra-Cotta Symposium dedicated to the 100th Year of the Republic. We bring a monument into being together with the association of many of my artists friends and young students. In the Sun of Republic monument that's designed by Bilgehan Uzuner, I aimed at making a work which would intensify the light, color, impact and the texture of the part I did.
Deniz Onur Erman:
In this precious project which I enjoyed every step of and felt a great of being a part of, I took part with my design which I shaped by looking at and taking inspiration from the cultural inventories of the Phrygia Civilization, one of the Anatolian Civilizations settled on the city of Eskisehir. As every artist begin to exhibit their pieces shaped by their own interpretations, I felt the connective, holistic and healing power of the art. I experienced the joy of creating together. As an artist, what charms me is the thought of being able to reach to future generations with my traces I left on terra-cotta on this monument which we will be presenting to our Father's heritage and to the Republic that I owe our existence to. When all of the parts are finished, fired and assembled at the end of 2 weeks, we couldn't leave before our work for a long time. This monument surprises us with different reflections from the sun at all hours of the day and was representing the lights of our Republic. It was very honoring that it will take part in the urban memory of Eskisehir and to be a part of this.
Dilek Alkan Ozdemir:
Eskisehir is having a successful transformation to be one of the favorite centers of art and culture regionally for quite some time. This success is of course a product of farsighted leaders and devoted works of the intellectual people of the city. One of the most important and long-running of these art activities is the Terra-Cotta Symposium organized by the Tepebasi Municipality. In this monument made and dedicated to our Republic's 100th year, I felt a great honor in taking part in this genuine and collective work with my own work together with my colleague.
These kind of symposiums create a livelier and warmer environment and cultivates the city's soul for they are made together with those living in the city. They give the chance to touch the art for those people from elders to youth. And I believe that those who are touched by art will be those individuals who will have something to say in the future.
Emet Egemen Isik Aslan:
I feel honored to take part in such a meaningful 100th year monument project under the execution of Bilgehan Uzuner and in our Republic's 100th year… As a Turkish woman and artists, I would like to state that I bear this responsibility with pride while building every square meter of it… I take the proper pride of leaving a trace in history through this meaningful project where words become insignificant… I know many more 100th year monuments shaped at the hands of artists will arise in these lands…
While the International Terra-Cotta Symposium is our country's most important symposium in terms of its qualification, it has also turned into an assertive event in global scale by giving nearly 200 ceramic sculptures to the city since 2000. Of course all the works are very important and have a special place. But the symposiums first collective monumental sculpture dedicated to the memory of healthcare workers who lost their lives during the pandemic when humanity was experiencing a very particular period of time, has been a great example of faithfulness.
Again with a common project where 24 academician artists' hearts came together for the 100th year of these beautiful lands we're living in becoming one with civilized values of Republic, our country got a very meaningful and special monument specific to Eskisehir. Taking part in this meaningful project designed to symbolize the values of Republic, has taken its place in my life of art just like other participants. I'm grateful first to our teacher Prof. Bilgehan Uzuner and all those who gave effort from the design to the assembly of this work and up until to its magnificent final state.
M. Candan Gungor
How lucky I'm in this small period of life a human lives that I'm witnessing my Republic's 100th year. I feel a great honor and gladness to be one of the artists having a contribution to the 16th International Terra-Cotta Symposium's ceramic monument project dedicated to the 100th Year of our Republic this year. My gladness even got bigger for having the opportunity to perceptibly reflect my emotions I internalized for the project by shaping a ray of the 'Sun of Republic' ceramic monument. An artist's spiritual satisfaction is above all things. I would like to express my endless thanks to my Teacher Prof. Bilgehan Uzuner who gave me such an opportunity and undertook the project's design and to the organizational board of the symposium.
Republic's light became a work worthy of the name for the 100th year. It's an incarnation of the spirit of unity, being one arising from togetherness. Even though we're different people, we have different thought and beliefs, it's the proof how all these differences turn into an aesthetical image in a harmony. I'm very glad and proud to take part in such a work. May our Republic's Light always shine for our children's future.
Think about a city with big sized ceramic sculptures accompanying your walk in its parks and streets. Huge ceramic sculptures of the artists coming from many nations around the world with their cultures on their backpack, lead the several distinctnesses that make this city special.
Our city is an exemplary city of Republic; our city is green, our city has museums. With its 2nd Symphony Orchestra, City Theatres, three universities, young and dynamic population, developed industry, municipalities supporting and giving opportunity to the art and one of the most prestigious and authentic symposiums of the world, the Terra-Cotta Symposium that continues for 24 years, and now there are two significant collective works deemed as examples of faithfulness within the fund of this symposium which can be considered as an open air museum with nearly 250 works of it. The first is the Health Workers Monument dedicated to the memory of healthcare workers who lost their lives in the pandemic and the other is the monument created by 25 Turkish Ceramic artists dedicated to our Republic's 100th year. A symbol of faithfulness which I take the pride to be even a small part of it and which we fired from the earth and water of this country with the fire of Republic in our hearts…
16th Terra-Cotta Symposium is an environment where 28 intern students from Anadolu, Canakkale, Akdeniz, Konya Selcuk, Marmara, Sakarya and Usak Universities work together with the artists and where old and new experiences are shared. It's a very productive school where learning and producing gain a practical speed, everyone works day and night to the bone and 15 days are experienced like a school-term long, limits are pushed and everyone races against time. This experience lived together, will be the greatest support of the student's future professional life.
Republic Spirit is the spirit of solidarity. So we took our cue from it and worked with its enthusiasm. I feel very glad to be a part in this 100th Year Republic Monument where we artists who isolate in our workshops and create individual works, come together in solidarity and unity and take part with a collective approach and with very distinct voices, colors and styles. When we are gone, the Sun of Republic will be left to new generations… And I hope, like our teacher Bilgehan gathering us up and working in solidarity and enthusiasm to leave a lasting work for the memory of our Republic, generations after us are also going to illuminate the Republic with the same spirit of solidarity and intellectual perspective…
Our Republic's 100th year is the most significant milestone of our history. Protecting this heritage from Ataturk and taking it to a brighter future is possible by adopting the values of our Republic and carrying these values to the future. Executed by my Esteemed Teacher Prof. Bilgehan Uzuner, the 16th International Terra-Cotta Symposium Monument Project has added a great meaning for the 100th Year. It's an honor for me to be a witness and part of this project.
The International Terra-Cotta Symposium, different from last years, made its place in our memories as an event with a high emotional intensity this year. Symposium is already special for its continuity, besides many participant artists taking part in symposium's assistant staff once, is also a factor increasing its value in everyone's heart. This time, artists didn't work on their stand-alone projects but rather became a part of a collective work. We built the parts of a huge sun disk, an arch of which the design was prepared by my esteemed teacher Prof. Bilgehan Uzuner and his team. Ataturk was placed on the keystone of the arch. In this work dedicated to the Republic's 100th Year memory, we once again saw that what unites us and makes us what we are is Ataturk.
While we are creating this sculpture that needs to dry, be fired and assembled with a pace against the technique of ceramics and within a short span of time like two weeks, no one could think about his/her own part only, so we had to act thinking also the whole. Each one of us was a part of the whole. Working with this sense and responsibility… The mood of solidarity, being both separate and special; experiencing to act together by learning how tall-short-high and what color the others are… We were the contributors of a work where we were a part of the chorus.
Upon the polarization and people's habit of revenge with their identities from their beliefs to the geographies they come from and their political views that we have come across in recent years, we remembered one thing: Republic is founded with the sense of 'We'! Art is here today because we're, and it will be kept alive as long as we manage to be we. "We" is a magical word. It's being you, I, him, her… being a team, it's solidarity, being a part of a structure without losing its essence, it's being human!