“TIME IN TURKEY” Exhibition in Athens

Kerim Uras 15.11.2012
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Mr. Mayor, Your Excellencies, Dear Guests,

I welcome you all to what I believe is an exceptional event that will leave a special mark with you in your perceptions of Turkey. This is an exhibition about Turkey through the lens of 25 different world renowned photographers. Ten works of each photographer were selected for the exhibition, thus producing a most comprehensive collection about different aspects and angles of contemporary life and issues in Turkey.

I thank all those who contributed to the making of this exhibition possible, in particular Mr. George Kaminis, the Mayor of the City of Athens, Ms. Angeliki Antonopoulou, President of Technopolis and of course, the Zaman Publishing Group.

The project is part of the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the foundation of the Turkish daily "Zaman". The photographic collection has already been exhibited in London, Vienna, Thessaloniki and Brussels; and today it is in Athens. The exhibition will also travel to important cultural centers such as Paris, Moscow and New York City. It has has been popular with general audiences and has won praise from select photographic circles.

It is my great pleasure to be part of this event which depicts today's Turkey through the eyes of a full range of international artists. As Susan Sontag so astutely observed, "the painter constructs, the photographer discloses.” That is why the exhibition portrays Turkey without equivocation in a straightforward and realistic way.

If we look beyond this nice exhibition, photography has a long history in Turkey. It is actually also a bridge between our two countries. Bahaettin Rahmi Bediz was a Cretan Turk who is generally agreed by historians to be the first Turkish photographer by profession. He started his career in Hanya, Crete in 1895, and went on to open photography studios in İzmir in 1910, in İstanbul in 1915 where he acquired fame, and in Ankara after 1935 where, aside from his private business, he worked as the Chief of Photography Department in Turkish Historical Society. The thousands of photographs (especially portraits) he took during his career have immense historical value. He is still revered also in Crete for having been the first to capture the people and the landscapes of the island. Ara Güler is another name to mention in this context.

Turkey is a great country of many colors, making progress, with high economic growth, at the same time trying to resolve the problems that arise in many modern societies today. Yes, this exhibition is a snapshot in time, from Turkey. On this note, I would like to invite everyone to come to Turkey and experience this diverse and large country with their very own eyes and their very own cameras!

I will speak no more, because these works of art speak much better for themselves. I am happy to welcome the exhibition to Athens, a city of great culture, colour and people and invite you all to enjoy this unique collection about my country.

Thank you.


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