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We never forgot nor cause to forgot the Teacher Faik who passed away 10 years ago. In the tile exhibition titled "Following in Faik Kirimli's Footsteps" opened in last December, there were the works of 40 artists produced with inspiration from Faik Kirimli's works. Faik Kirimli has trained up tile artists well known by everyone today. And students of his students are lighting the way for the new ones.


Joining the Kirimli family in 1935, Faik Kirimli was the middle of three siblings with his little sister Dilanur and his elder sister Miss Muserref. His mother Miss Gulbeyaz of Circassian origin, was married with his father Mr. Seyit Ahmet. His father with an artistic personality has deceased at a young age. And his grandfather has fallen a martyr in Canakkale.

Faik Kirimli (5) first at left, his mother Gulbeyaz in the middle, his elder sister Muserref (9)

first at right and his little sister Dilanur (3) at the bottom.

Faik Kirimli beginning from his youth.

Teacher Faik was a tall, handsome mister; he has played basketball and lifted weights in his youth... When he was a sculpturer and an engraving artist, he has also contributed to painting with his oil paintings. Having a rich library, Teacher Faik was a good reader and loved movies a lot. He has a very creative, witty, artistic, sensitive, respectful, gentleman personality. According to the information acquired from his nephew (son of his elder sister) Assoc. Prof. Dr. Fedai Barcan, the teacher had a diabetes and hypertension problem and his has lost his hair due to a troublesome period he lived through.

Faik Kirimli has learned the old script later and knows English. He has lived in France with his painter friends for 6 months in 1970s. Also playing the piano, the Teacher was a classical music enthusiast. You can tell his passion for antiques from the paintings he has.

On his piano at his house in Florya.

Teacher Faik has also put his signature to many oil paintings. Many collectors have his works.

Auto portrait, Faik Kirimli, oil paint, 27x35cm.

His oil paintings in his house in Florya.

He started tile art in 70s and turned it into a life style with a promise "I won't give up even if I die" he gave while watching a trailer in a cinema. He has spent a big part of his being for this cause. His first workshop was a stable he rented in Mevlanakapi Istanbul. Many works of the teacher reaching to us, involve various forms, tiles and themes and prove that he had a versatile perspective.

Some of the works of Faik Kirimli.

Teacher says “Tile is a game of fire" and there are articles of him published on this field of art and articles that are written about him. “Istanbul Art of Tile-Making" is a saying belonging to Faik Kirimli. Another one from his words is as follows “When we have the opportunity to survey the Topkapi Palace archive and in particular Nusretiye Archive credentials, we will find numerous credentials that will designate the quantity of our history of tile-art." Teacher's article in this respect, titled "The Istanbul Art of Tile-Making", has been published in the 1982 Art History Yearbook, Issue: XI (pg: 95-111). Another one of his publications titled “Craftsman Tile Masters in Istanbul", takes place in the 16th issue of 1986 Antique Magazine, on pages 22-24. Another of his publications in the same magazine "Iznik Pottery and Genovese Tile Merchants", takes place in the 1987 issue:27, on pages 50-52.

As for the publications about the Teacher Faik; Prof. Dr. Ara Altun has given place Faik Kirimli for the first time in the Masters of Today chapter of his book titled "The Story of Tile and Ceramics in the Ottoman." He has mentioned about the Teacher's contribution to the Turkish Art of Tile-Making between the pages 287-290. The Kucukcekmece Municipality publication titled "Faik Kirimli, His Life and Art" (December 2013 Istanbul), contains information about the teacher with his works and narrations from his friends.

In the article titled "'The Practicer Faik' Turning Tile-Art into a Life Style" in the 4th issue (pg:70-74) of the Handicrafts Magazine, the formation of red color in tile-art was written by Latife Aktan based on the Teacher Faik's narration below:

“Red color was first discovered under the glaze and applied in the 14th century by an artist from Raqqa. And in the Ottomans, a tile-art master from Istanbul finds out the material which forms the red color for the first time in 1530s. This mysterious material was a green-colored salt used in fabric dyeing back then and known by people as zaci kibriz [Ferric Sulphate (FeSO4)]. When this color is spread plane under the glaze like other colors, it's devoured by lead glaze during firing and the color fades away. The master was spreading plenty amount of this color swollen under the glaze. Even though the glaze penetrates into the color during firing, the remaining color after the firing was appearing swollen under the glaze. So the red color of our tile-art becomes swollen of compulsion.”

And other publications; "Postal Code Iznik" in National Geographic Magazine in May 2005, in Skylife Magazine in October 2005, "Lost Tile-Art Beauty" in Art Decor Magazine in September 2000 and in the 43th issue of Atlas Magazine in 1996, "Iznik Tile-Art Red Secret" in November 2006, are containing articles mentioning about Faik Kirimli. News published in papers and internet on the other hand are far too numerous.

While there are various conferences, panels, exhibitions about the teacher held by universities, municipalities and galleries, there is also a master's thesis about him: Kemal Caliskan has completed his master's degree in Dokuz Eylul University Fine Arts Institute Traditional Turkish Arts Old Tile Restorations Art Major, with his thesis titled "Faik Kirimli and Iznik Tiles." It even became a briefing subject in an international symposium. The "VII. International Symposium" has even turned into a publication in 27th June 2013 in Baku. It was Kazim Kucukkoroglu's presentation titled "The Life, Personality and Works of the Practicer Faik, One of the Last Ambassadors of the Turkish Tile-Art."

Teacher's enthusiast to antiques has even made him to write a book about it. The first edition of the book was published in 1996 and the extended edition was published in 2010.

Teacher Faik was stating out that the colors of tile are inspired from jewels and sorting them out as red color from coral, navy blue from lapis, green from emerald, turquoise from turkey stone. The Teacher was aiming to convey knowledge and experience and has shared his tile-making receipts with his students.

The "Tile-Art Plates Exhibition" in Galatasaray in 1976, was comprised of Faik Kirimli works in Ahmet Canakci's collection and has continued for one month.

First edition, 1996 Second edition, 2010

Faik Kirimli works Faik Kirimli receipts I.U. Works test report

exhibition banner. with his own hand-writing

In the end of the durability tests made in Istanbul University for the tile-arts to be used in Kocatepe Mosque, only Faik Kirimli's sample was found succeeding among 5 separate works. Thus, teacher's tile-art studies of long years, have turned out its' results and the rightful success of his endeavors has been officially approved.

The tile-artists trained by Teacher Faik, Esref Eroğlu, Sitki Olcar, Rasih Kocaman, Adil Can, Kazım Kuçukoroglu, Ersin Ocal, Latife Aktan Ozel, Nursen-Guvenc Guven have all pursued The artists have also transferred their knowledge and experiences from the Teacher Faik to their daughters and sons and thanks to them this art is being kept alive.

Our university has given Faik Kirimli's name to one of its' workshops in 2013 and captured a moment of his knowledge to be conveyed to the youth.

Some of the antique dealers and collectors holding the works of Faik Kirimli, are Ahmet Canakci, the Koc Family, Huseyin Kocabas, Suna and Inanc Kirac Foundation and Ibrahim Hakki Yigit.

When it comes to the structures bearing the works of the teacher; he said that he made the turquoise tile-arts of the Bursa Green Tomb and his panel with Ihlas Surah written on which he has hung on Bursa Green Mosque, was later stolen from there.

There is a documentary made about our teacher who has dedicated a big part of his life to tile-art. When the theme of Safranbolu Movie Festival is Cultural Heritage, the film shot is titled "The Man Who Seeks Red". Selim Evci emphasizes about the importance of Teacher Faik in the interview she gave regarding this: “Like they all agreed with each other, all tile-art masters are mentioning a single master. Faik Kirimli. This requires us to chase the master. He was a total Istanbul Gentleman. It was the indication that this master who dedicated his years to tile-art, will guide such big contributions to the national art.” The documentary shows us that Master Sitki has earned a revenue from the tile-arts which Teacher Faik didn't like and threw away and that Prof. Dr. Nurhan Atasoy has once said “Faik Kirimli is the master who bares out the best red closest to coral red today".

There are many definitions for the Teacher Faik; "The name who brings the tile-art from past to future", “The man who uproots the tile-art from history", "The kiln firing Practicer Master Faik" are some of these definitions.

The Practicer Faik signature was in bunting form at first than he has chosen the non-Turkish character.

Covering a big part of his life with tile-art or in other words turning tile-art into a life style, Teacher Faik has trained tile-artists who we all know the names of today. And the students of his students are shedding and will shed a light to the new ones.

Faik Kirimli in Iznik Museum garden. Latife Aktan Ozel and Faik Kirimli.

Some of Faik Kirimli events and reunions.

In the first panel made after the passing away of our teacher, in 21st February 2021, in FSMVU Yenikapı Mevlevihane Campus, his loved ones and friends has mentioned about their experiences with the teacher. The speakers Latife Aktan Ozel, Semih Irtes, Sermet Molu, Fatma San and Remzi Koklu. another panel was held by the Kucukcekmece Municipality one year later. The teacher was considered by his different aspects and conveyed to the audience. Things narrated by Ibrahim Hakki Yigit, Sermet Molu, Erkan Doganay, Semih Irtes, Kazim Kucukkoroglu, Latife Aktan Ozel and Guvenc Guven were watched with interest.

And finally, Faik Kirimli was memorialized by a tile-art exhibition organized by the Pendik Municipality and Fatih Sultan Mehmet Foundation University Fine Arts Faculty. In the exhibition titled "Following on Faik Kirimli's Footsteps" opened in Pendik Municipality Mehmet Akif Ersoy Cultural Center in last December, there were the works of 40 artists inspired from the works of Kirimli. And in the panel organized under the moderatorship of Latife Aktan Ozel in the opening of exhibition, the collector Sermet Molu and the hand-drawn master Semih Irtes were the speakers. They told their experiences thanking to their friendships of many years with Faik Kirimli and talked about the Teacher's artistic personality and works.

(From left to right) Pendik Municipality Cultural Affairs Director Mustafa Kemal Calikci, Mayor Advisor Atilla Ipek, FSMVU Fine Arts Faculty Dean Prof. Erol Kilic, Dr. Latife Aktan Ozel, Sermet Molu, Semih Irtes.

Latife Aktan Ozel and Fatma Batukan Belge with their works.

Sermet Molu (left), Semih Irtes (middle) and Latife Aktan Ozel in the panel.

Even the young ones who didn't have the chance to meet with Faik Kirimli, has created their own works inspiring from the Teacher's works. Our Teacher still continues teaching tile-art. And to me, it's a fortune to get to know him and collect memories. I remeber him with respect and longing.


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