Turkey, Culture

Turkey's largest art fair to continue in Istanbul until Oct 10

16th Contemporary Istanbul gathers art enthusiasts in-person in Turkey's most populous city between Oct 7 and 10

Rabia Iclal Turan   | 08.10.2021
Turkey's largest art fair to continue in Istanbul until Oct 10

ISTANBUL

Art aficionados and collectors have shown great interest in the preview of the 16th Contemporary Istanbul (CI) art fair, one of the leading annual artistic events in Turkey.

Bringing together the world's leading galleries, artists, and art professionals in Turkey's most populous city, the fair this year has a new location overlooking the Golden Horn after a major regeneration project, known as Tersane Istanbul, where the event kicked off on Thursday and is set to continue until Oct. 10.

Held under the main sponsorship of one of Turkey's largest lenders, Akbank, CI is the first art fair in the country to be held in-person since the novel coronavirus pandemic erupted last year. It hosts 58 galleries and cultural institutions, 436 artists, and 1,240 artworks, along with collectors, press, and art lovers, in an area of 9,500 square meters (102,260 square feet) inside the ship Halic Shipyard buildings -- formerly inaccessible to the public -- with an additional 10,000 square meters of outdoor space on the waterfront.

This year's participants are contemporary art galleries from Turkey and many other countries, such as the Istanbul and Dusseldorf-based Anna Laudel, Pi Artworks from Istanbul and London, AB Gallery of Seoul, Bermen Gallery from Johannesburg, Claudia Schmidt in Zurich, and Mohsen Gallery based in Tehran.

"A strong theme of the 16th edition is 'sustainability'; both in terms of the curated exhibitions and the sustainability-driven work of Turkish architects Tabanlioglu Architects to give new life to the Halic Shipyards," the organizers said in a statement.

Ali Gureli, the founder and chairperson of the Contemporary Istanbul Foundation, told reporters this week that the event and its organizers derived their power, joy and motivation from "this great city."

"Now I realize that 16 years ago, when we were discussing what this fair should be called, we were already dreaming about this place, about this location," he said, referring to Tersane Istanbul. "History is here, culture is here, lived experience is here, so here we are at Tersane İstanbul."

"We believe in the future of art and culture in this great city. It's a booming metropolis, and as Contemporary Istanbul, we are very much aware of our responsibilities," he told reporters.

An icon of Istanbul's coastline, the Tersane Istanbul is known as one of the oldest shipyards in the world with over 500 years of history.

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