Category Archives: The Islands

Pyrgos Island

The Turkish name of this island is Burgazada, and I discussed its etymology in an article about a visit in February of 2014. We stayed there again in October of 2015. During this August of 2016, on our last day on the island, I saw a fellow with the Greek name of the island tattooed on his forearm. Continue reading

Art on Büyükada

This is about a weekend in the islands, and contemporary art.

The Fourteenth Istanbul Biennial (September 5 to November 1, 2015) had exhibits or installations all over Istanbul, and several of these were on Büyükada, the Big Island, which is Πρίγκηπος in Greek. The Big Island is the last of the four islands visited by the ferry from the mainland. For easier access, Ayşe and I stayed on the second island, Burgazada, the night of Friday, October 23, 2015. We caught the ferry from there to Büyükada on Saturday morning. We visited all of the venues of the Biennial on the island. Illustrating this article are photographs from some of these venues.

I supply some information about the artworks from the Biennal guidebook (which can be downloaded as a pdf file). This was the information that we had at the time of visiting. It turns out that there is more information on the web, sometimes a lot more. Some of the works, at least, do not stand very well on their own. One needs to be told what one is looking at. Without this, one may still look and figure that what one is seeing is meaningful to the artist; but that may be all. In this, the works in the Biennial differ from the photographs and paintings of Emine Ceylan (born 1955), which last month (February, 2016) were on display at my university’s Tophane-i Amire Culture and Art Center. I give one example, from an album of my photos from the exhibit:

Emine Ceylan (title and date unknown to me)
Emine Ceylan (title and date unknown to me)

This seems not to be the kind of thing that the big names in art today are interested in doing.

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Istanbul is a crowded, paved city. Consider the graphic below, showing public green space in Istanbul, London, New York, Berlin, Hong Kong, and Paris. The green space of Istanbul is almost invisible.

cities-green Continue reading