There was an exhibition opened in Nurol Art Gallery in Ankara between 9th April-7th May in memory of the collector and artist friend businessman Murat Balkan who deceased last February. The purpose of this exhibition titled “Aşı-nı Paylaş (Share Your Food-Share Your Vaccine)” was to draw attention fair sharing of both the “food” and the “vaccine”.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. MUTLU BAŞKAYA My table open to everyone, you come hungry too, fill before leave.
My table enlivens with chat, you come, add your thought before leave.
My table is plentiful of love, you come, fall in love before leave.
Before everything is deserted at my table, you come, let’s share food before leave.
In memory of Murat Balkan...
Mutlu Başkaya, Kim Yong Moon and Yüksel Önder Maden
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic all around the world social relations between people are restricted and have begun to be carried out remotely. As invitations in restaurants, cafeterias and houses are stopped, theatres, ballet, opera and concert halls, museums and galleries whether left without audience or are continuing their activities with a limited number of audiences. Education, art exhibitions and meetings all around the world are continuing online and real communication is nearly coming to a full stop. Because of the physical isolation being lived through people have begun to lead a monotonous life and their psychologies may get worse. And the way to turn all these negativities to a positive direction again goes through the art. As the artist makes himself/herself more productive in this isolation settings, the art lover becomes more able to be fed by art. Online exhibitions will never sub for real art galleries but makes art more reachable. Exhibitions visited in keeping with pandemic conditions without gathering big masses meaning without making openings, brings the artwork together with the audience and ensures a more proper emotional and intellectual communication between the work and the audience. This way depression that may occur in people can be lessened through art.
Tradition of having a meal with talking and chatting around big tables is common in Turkish and world cultures and it leads the development of tableware designs made of ceramic or porcelain. Various ceramic tableware designs of all cultures in the world have become diversified and richer since the Neolithic era.
It’s also known that Ataturk also tried to bring solutions to his country’s problems at his table by having the opinions of various people; and for this, invited thinkers, authors, science people, politicians, diplomats and his close friends to his table. Ataturk’s foster daughter Sabiha Gokcen described these tables as the places where world and national problems, science, philosophy, art, music and thoughts are shared.
And the tables of Ataturk and the art lover businessman Murat Balkan are the source of inspiration of the “Aşı-nı Paylaş (Share Your Food-Share Your Vaccine)” exhibition and the performance I put forth in here. The similarity between the tables of Ataturk and Murat Balkan is that they were not only the tables gathered to have meal but also the tables where art, science and philosophy were discussed. Deceased in a traffic accident in February, Murat Balkan was a reputable businessman who began his career as a chemistry teacher in TED Ankara College. He was a pioneer and exceptional person who supported science, art and culture and took on the duty as a protector of art. He was dreaming of founding a museum with the works that came out in the painting and sculpting symposiums he organized in Bodrum, Aspat Bay. Losing his life in the cause of this museum has upset all his friends. With faith his daughter Naz and son son Firat would bring his dream to life, we give condolences to his family, all who loves him, artists and art lovers.
Mr. Murat was also interested in ceramic art and watching closely the International Macsabal Symposium, our Hacettepe University Ceramic Department’s event. He has accessioned the pots (macsabal) and chalices of the Korean artist Kim Yong Moon which he met in these symposiums. He also wanted to expand his collection by buying the special plates produced by Kim Yong Moon years ago with different colors inspired from nature. Thus, the idea of the exhibition organized in memory of Murat Balkan came into life. We came together with Kim Yong Moon and the Nurol Art Gallery director Yuksel Onder Maden and planned this exhibition.
Kim Yong Moon lathed 7 plates for the 25 artists who will participate in the exhibition and handed out them unfired. Then artists viewed these plates as canvases and added their own feelings and thoughts. They turned a negative situation into a positive collective art event in the days of pandemic. I would like to send my special regards to Ilhan Marasali, Sercan Filiz, Mehmet Aytepe who contributed their efforts on arranging the works and to all artists who helped.
I on the other hand, made a special performance for this exhibition and prepared a table all made of clay, even the tablecloth. The idea at focus of this exhibition is to draw a social sharing. In a world and in Turkey where pandemic have bolstered up the social inequality, it offers the sharing of both the “food” and the “vaccine”. Corona virus is threatening all the people around the world without making discrimination of country, religion, race but social injustice is making this threat even more bigger for some people. At one side, those who are piling up more vaccines than their population and at the other side, those who have no access to vaccine… At one side those who take advantage of the pandemic and become richer and at the other side those who are left unemployed, with no food… So, we chose art to emphasize this injustice and utter the beauty of sharing what we have. And we’re sure that Murat Balkan would also want a just world blossomed out with science, art and culture.