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For the Ceramics Symposium organized by Uttarayan Art Foundation in India, my artist fellow Madhur Sen and I set out to focus on the reality behind what is visible. Today we wanted to show the unseen side of art, especially ceramic material, against the illusory perceptions created by social media.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mutlu Başkaya

The person is perceived through emotion, thought, behavior and physical structure. Sometimes, how people perceive themselves and how they are perceived from the outside may generate different interpretations. When our logic limits our emotions, we wear completely different expressions... Sometimes we act as we are without limiting ourselves and our emotions are exposed and sometimes we wear masks. Nothing we see has just one face. In order to see what we are looking at and to perceive what we see, we need to know what is real and think deeply that the truth is solely concealed within human being. The work of art also bears these humanoid characteristics. The artwork is formed in the artist’s pattern of emotion, thought, culture, knowledge, and spirit, allowing the audience to have completely different combinations of emotions and thoughts. And the more different the artwork that emerges from the pattern used by the artist when creating the work, the more valuable it is.

Social media services like Facebook and Instagram in which we observe relationships in our era, may not reflect what we see either. What appears in shared memories may not always be real either. Our prejudices about events or circumstances may actually be a mistake... It is these thoughts that form the theme of this symposium, and ceramic material has both visible and invisible side. When I have shared the theme with my fellow Indian artist Madhur Sen, he has thought the theme has similarities to ceramic art like me and he has agreed to collaborate immediately. People who do not know the process of ceramic making may think that ceramic is an easy material. In fact, nothing is what it seems. As the symposium curator and coordinator, we have selected artists from both our countries and around the world working on different topics through this process.

We use ceramic firing techniques to reinforce expression possibilities in art. We have also organized different firing workshops for the works we created at this symposium. In 2012, I had the chance to work and make a paper kiln in the Uttarayan Art Foundation before thanks to my dear friend Madhur Sen. Mr. Dumal, the manager of the foundation at that time was particularly interested in the paper kiln and he provided me with all kinds of possibilities to make this kiln just like in December 2019. In fact, the purpose of my invitation here for the second time was to organize a paper kiln workshop again, but Madhur and I wanted to diversify the firing techniques. While we were leading the firing techniques workshops such as raku, luster, and milk firing in addition to this paper kiln workshop; Hasan Başkırkan led the saggar workshop,

Korean artists Kim Yong Moon and Lee Sungho led the wood firing workshop. I also presented an interactive performance called “Farewell 2” with the participation of the artists. Colored linings were filled inside the clay balls with syringes, perfectly shaped by each invited artist, and their mouths were closed completely. A performance took place and a picture emerged by throwing on the wire boxes that I constructed beforehand. The processes such as throwing clay balls onto the wire cage, their sticking to the wire, falling off the wire, draining of the pigments inside, drying and firing process made the audience participants as well. Thus, the work emerged together with the artist who had planned the performance.

Another collective work was the sculpture “Art for Peace” performed by Korean artist Kim Yong Moon. The “macsabals” (bowls), which each artist performed with his own interpretation were mounted on top of the lattice wires carried by steel carriers. This work was placed in the garden of Uttarayan Art Foundation and it was opened officially. The event was held with great success between 1 December and 15 December 2019, hosted by Mr. Rakesh Agrawal, under the direction of Mr. Purushottam Dhumal, and under the coordination and curatorship of Indian ceramic artist Madhur Sen and myself, at the Uttrayan Art Foundation premises in Baroda, India.

Rakesh Agrawal, a Barodan businessman who is actually a chemical engineer and has made a huge contribution to the Indian economy, founded the Uttarayan Art Foundation on 12 acres of 50 acres of land he bought by the river in 2007. There are workshop areas where five branches of plastic arts are available and this foundation land is full of works that artists produced on site. Two large, one small gas ceramic kiln and one wood firing kiln are located in the ceramic workshop area.While many artists from many different countries have contributed to the development of the collection by participating to stone sculpture symposiums, Rakesh Agrawal has generously opened the doors and opportunities of the foundation to these artists and contributes to the development of art in India and around the world. Agrawal has a collection of roughly 3,000 works which he has created for nearly 23 years with his intense passion for art. This collection includes ceramic works that we artists have donated by bringing them and the works produced on site.

The artists created new works for the foundation using their creativity in the workshop areas built near the river intertwined with nature. The exhibition spaces in which Indian artists’ works were on display in Baroda were visited. Museums, palaces and temples were among the sites visited.

Artists invited to this international symposium were: Acacia Azevedo (Brazil), Aylin Alkan (Turkey), Devesh Upadhay, Elif Aydoğdu Ağatekin (Turkey), G. Reghu, Hasan Başkırkan (Turkey), JyostnaBhatt, Kim Yong Moon (Korea), Kirill Kopylkov, Madhur Sen, Mustafa Ağatekin ( Turkey), Mutlu Başkaya (Turkey), Oya Aşan Yüksel (Turkey), Panthini Thaker, Shampa Shah and Sungho Lee.

The exhibition consisting of artists’ works created during the event has taken place in the art gallery of the Uttarayan Art Foundation in the city center, and the foundation has published and distributed a catalog presenting the works of the artists and themselves to artists.

I would like to thank Mr. Agrawal, the owner of the Uttarayan Art Foundation Museum, and Mr. Dumal, the director of the foundation for the work environment they shared with us, our fellow artist Madhur Sen for his energy and hosting, and to all our artist friends who have accepted our invitation.


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