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“Art Against Violence!” exhibitions have begun

The first of the exhibitions within the scope of the “Art Against Violence!” project implemented by MaviKalem was held in Büyükada on 25 November, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The exhibition, which was held at Büyükada Taş Mektep on 25-26 November with the cooperation of the Municipality of Adalar and with the venue support provided by the IMM Department of Culture and Arts, was opened with speeches by Erdem Gül, Mayor of Adalar; David Aşgın Walsh, Consul & Second Clerk from the Embassy of Ireland; Filiz Ayla, Director of the Board of MaviKalem; and Meryem Tomak, Member of the Board of MaviKalem – Painter/Sculptor.

In her opening speech, Filiz Ayla, Director of MaviKalem’s Board said: “We wanted to launch this exhibition on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, on the first day of 16 days of activism, because this exhibition consists of workshops with small groups of women on combating violence against women. I would like to thank Consul David Aşgın Walsh from the Embassy of Ireland, Office Manager Hande Özden, Mayor of Adalar Erdem Gül and Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Department of Culture for their support.” In his opening speech, Mayor of Adalar Erdem Gül said “Today we are celebrating 25 November. It is women who will save a country, women are the life”.

Consul & Second Clerk David Aşgın Walsh from the Embassy of Ireland, which is the supporter of the project, said: “The power of words is indisputable, but there are some moments when a form of expression that exceeds the limits of words is required. This is where the language of art comes into play. Visual messages, melodies and movements reach depths that speech cannot reach. These works you see today are not only a sight for the eyes, but also evidence of stories that touch the heart.” MaviKalem Board Member – Painter/Sculptor Meryem Tomak also gave information about the preparation process of the exhibition. Tomak said, “Women told the effects of violence on them and their solutions through their paintings.  The paintings made by women who had never painted in their lives impressed us all. There were some of them who had a tendency to paint, but the most effective for me were the women who painted on violence without ever taking any paper or any paint in their hands before.” The exhibition at Taş Mektep, which was also visited by Arjen Uijterlinde, Consul General of the Netherlands in Istanbul, included 12 large-scale paintings and photographs taken in the workshops organised with the support of Adana Seyhan Municipality, Hatay Defne and Antakya municipalities, Istanbul Avcılar and Esenyurt municipalities and Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality.

Throughout 2023, 129 women participated in 10 different workshops in the project, which aims to keep violence against women on the agenda, support solidarity among women and mediate women’s reactions to violence through art.

The exhibition organised within the scope of the project supported by the Embassy of Turkey in Ireland will be repeated in Adana and Hatay as well as other districts of Istanbul. The web page for the Art Against Violence project can be accessed here:


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