Chapter | Human Rights, Memory, Art | 2023

“Human Rights, Memory and Contemporary Artistic Practice in Turkey”

in Curating as Feminist Organizing edited by Elke Krasny and Lara Perry

Author | ENG

Can a curatorial process, looking back at a troubled past through the arts, be a form of taking social responsibility in times of political repression? The Memory and Arts project by Hafıza Merkezi tries to provide one of many possible answers to this question. Researching contemporary art practices dealing with human rights issues in Turkey, the project brought together a selection/archive with more than 400 artworks and organized a series of talks accompanied by a publication as the outcome of interdisciplinary working groups on specified themes. Considering the current political climate and several threats to artistic freedom and freedom of expression in Turkey, human rights organizations and artists merge forces to create alternative civic spaces for memory and reconciliation through art and interdisciplinary discussions. In a geography where human rights violations, state violence and gender-based violence are subject to silence, misinformation or denial, artworks dealing with concepts like loss, testimony and their gendered dimensions assume a role in revealing historical truths and unearthing social traumas. By examining examples from the selection/archive, this chapter presents the ways in which artistic practices can mobilize memory and how artists bear witness to themselves, each other and the community at large.

Ertürk, Eylem. “Human Rights, Memory and Contemporary Artistic Practice in Turkey” in Curating as Feminist Organizing. Edited by Elke Krasny and Lara Perry. pp.109-118. London and New York: Routledge, 2023.

ISBN: 978-1-032-06530-4 (hbk)

ISBN: 978-1-032-06999-9 (pbk)

ISBN: 978-1-003-20493-0 (ebk)

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