In my quest to understand the contemporary social and religious taboos ascribed to the female hair, I trace the various ways in which female hair serves as metaphors in the legends, and myths of ancient Anatolian, and central asian cultures. More importantly, I draw parallels to the ways in which these stories relate to contemporary cultural attitudes and policies that affect women today. One such example is the tragedy of Medusa. A tragedy in which a woman who attracts the attention of her rapist, is punished through horrible disfigurement instead of her aggressor. Indeed her punishment is not unlike the acid attacks that similarly disfigure women who simply say no, or dare to speak out.
In a more refreshing twist, my obsessive curiosity to understand the symbolism of female hair, took me to a surprising discovery in the abstract language of Turkish kilims. In this traditional craft practiced solely by women, the references to female hair often symbolize happiness and celebration. Using the weaver’s own hair, however, expresses her desire for eternal life, or immortality.
Puzzled and even more intrigued than before, my newest body of work that is currently under its early developmental phase, explores this ancient symbolic language through series of paintings and sculptural objects. I employ a variety of modern crafting techniques, tools, and technologies to translate this primeval language into our contemporary time. My goal during this residency is to fully develop this body of work with the hope to introduce my work and to discover a potential audience in the arts community of Berlin.
Her transdisciplinary practice integrates static against time-based, virtual within physical, traditional with new media to evoke the baffling and often bizarre narratives of identity. While Ilknur’s earlier work traced the stereotype of “The Turk” in western art and literature, later work of hers explores the mechanisms of power that enable the formation of hyper-accentuated politicised identities. Her attention now, is further focused on the matter of women’s hair. The artist compares the metaphors used in ancient mythologies to understand contemporary cultural attitudes and religious taboos surrounding the follicles on women’s heads.
Her interest in hair started with the religious Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) rise to power in her native country, Turkey in 2003. Over the next decade, AKP orchestrated a series of violent operations that transformed the secular republic into an increasingly religious dictatorship. While every regressive blow resulted in diminishing civil rights, especially for women, AKP’s publicity arm paid careful attention to forefront images of veiled women celebrating the party’s victories. Ilknur’s newest body of work intercepts this absurd dynamic by exploring the unspoken, censored messages communicated through the symbolism of female hair.
MFA, California Institute of the Arts. Valencia, CA
BA, University of California, Riverside. Riverside, CA
AWARDS, GRANTS & RESIDENCIES
Residency. ChaNorth Artists Residency. Pine Plains, NY
Residency. Visiting artist. The Evergreen State College. Olympia, WA
Residency. K2 Contemporary Art Center. Izmir, Turkey.
Fellowship. Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. University of California, Riverside, CA
Fellowship. Gluck Fellowship Program of the Arts. University of California, Riverside, CA
PROJECTS, PERFORMANCES & SHOWS
The Other Is Not. Evergreen State College. Olympia, Washington.
FAR Bazaar 2017. Cerritos College, Cerritos California.
Sympathetic Resonance: An Evening of Improvised Alchemy. Highways Performance Space and Gallery. Los Angeles, California.
Are We There Yet? Demo launch. University of Gothenburg, Sweden. 2013 [three-person]Chapul San Diego! Mesa College. San Diego, California.
Chapul’LA: An Evening of Art, Music, Food, and Chapulling. Highways Performance Space and Gallery. Los Angeles, California.
Letter To Los Angeles . Collaborative work with Vuslat Demirkoparan. Mulholland Dérive. Los Angeles Road Concerts. Los Angeles, California.
This Never Happened # 2 . Kwartnik. Irvine, California.
7th Berlin Biennale. ArtWiki Project
The Moment of Privacy Has Passed: Sketchbooks by Artists, Architects and Designers. The Usher Gallery. Lincoln, United Kingdom.
This Never Happened. K2 Contemporary Art Center. Izmir, Turkiye.
Untitled Installation. Ozdere Belediyesi Art Gallery. Ozdere, Turkiye.
Corrective Lenses: Challenging Representations of Women of Color in Art. Jock Turcotte Centre, University of Ottawa, Canada.
Improvisations. Open Fist Theater. Hollywood, CA
Collisions and Pileups: Calarts
MFA Graduate Exhibition. The Armory Center for the Arts. Pasadena, CA
Tijen the Turk Leaves Her Barbarian Mark… Mint Gallery. CalArts, Valencia, CA
MFA Mid Residency Exhibition. CalArts, Valencia, CA
Sims Old Town Gallery v2. Stevenson Blanche Gallery. CalArts, Valencia, CA
Sims Old Town Gallery v1. Her Majesty’s Project Space, H.M.P.S. CalArts, Valencia, CA
Untitled 31, 04 Senior Thesis Exhibition. Sweeney Art Gallery, University of California, Riverside, CA
Improvisations. California Museum of Photography. Riverside, CA
Teknika Radica: Powering Up / Powering Down. University of California, San Diego, CA
Showcase Alive. University of California, Riverside, CA
Move, Leave the Meaning to Dry. University of California, Riverside, CA
New Media, New Work. Roy O. Disney Hall. CalArts, Valencia, CA
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