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Creating a New Community: Intercultural Aspects of Creative Practice

In the city of Amsterdam, we have natural clay at the Lutkemeerpolder. During this artist residency program in April/May 2024, my focus was on discovering the social aspects of creative practice within the soil, creating dialogue, exchanging knowledge, and reflecting on healthier consumption models.

 

The Soil Through Our Hands: Connecting with Nature

One of the foundational steps in this process is the discovery and interaction with the soil itself, symbolising a return to our roots and the basics of existence. Air, water, fire, and earth have been considered fundamental elements since ancient times; ceramic is a process where these elements combine in proportional combinations to form a tangible result. By physically working with the natural Lutkemeer clay, participants feel the soil through their hands, listen to its needs, and align their priorities with the earth.  The slow, tactile nature of working with this materia provides a reset, a return to basics, and a space for reflection on human soil relation. This process fosters a deeper connection with the core self, transcending individualistic, self-centred thinking. 

Embracing Diversity: A Source of Enrichment

Diversity, whether cultural or biological, enriches our lives and communities. The challenge lies in balancing diverse cultural heritages with the broader, often dominant, Western paradigms. This balance requires sensitivity and openness to different perspectives and practices. In this context, clay workshops emerge as a powerful tool, erasing geographical boundaries, difference of age, ethnicity, education, and gender. This gives foreground to open up to the approach of a communal mindset, where the focus is on coming together, becoming one with the community, and appreciating the intrinsic value of diversity—both among people and within biodiversity. Through these workshops, a social engagement unfolds, allowing participants to explore possibilities for reconnection and dialogue. 

 

Clay Objects: Reflections of Experience

The clay objects created in these workshops serve as tangible reflections of this journey. They encapsulate the experience and the findings, offering a sensorial understanding of the process. These objects become symbols of the interconnectedness of society and nature. Moreover, they inspire a heightened consciousness in food consumption, reminding participants of the importance of mindful eating and sustainable agricultural practices.

Video by: Deniz Tumanbay
Music credits: What a wonderful world - SebastiAn & Ehla
Genesis II is a series of ceramic tri-dimensional works serving as a visual exploration to bring Mother God representations to life and explore the profound interplay between humans and nature. The aim is to experience how these timeless themes shape our essence and existence. Historical and archaeological heritages convey a new aesthetic of broken parts forming a whole, expressing a desire for a new narrative built from pieces. This visual experience prompts reflection on the potential acceptance of incompleteness and imperfections, with the idea that this perception can have a constructive impact on our consumption models and our general relationship with materials.

During the spring of 2023, my focus shifted to incorporating reference images into the artwork, exploring how images might replace textual insights. I utilized silkscreen frames to replicate detailed photos of the majestic sculpture of Artemis of Ephesus, which I captured during my trip to Turkey in 2022. The overlapping of parts in the image and their repetitive appearance on top of each other serves to highlight the most inspiring forms of the original sculpture, while also providing background information for my ceramic works.
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In Genesis II, I aspire to become a creature deeply connected to nature and intertwined with others, where our physical forms intersect.
 
Drawing inspiration from the principal elements of existence—water, earth, and fire—I choose clay as the perfect material to commence this transformative journey. Clay, like life itself, holds the potential for growth and transformation. It symbolizes the connection to my past, evoking memories of my previous being and igniting a desire for reunion.
 
As I shape the clay, I am reminded of the resilience and strength embodied by women throughout history. This process becomes a celebration of women's empowerment, symbolizing our ability to mold ourselves and create new narratives. 
In this journey, intercultural inclusivity plays a pivotal role. The intersections of cultures and diverse perspectives enrich my newfound form. Drawing from the wisdom and traditions of different backgrounds, I embrace a tapestry of experiences that shape my identity.
 
These sculptures stand as tangible representations of the transformative journey we all embark upon, transcending both personal and geographical boundaries and embracing our shared humanity. They serve as a reminder that rebirth is not limited to one individual but is a collective and universal experience.
 
This is an embark on a profound exploration of self, celebrating the empowerment of women, fostering intercultural connections, and championing inclusivity in all its forms.
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In my sculptural work, I combine elements from various historical periods to address collective humanitarian concerns. By intersecting forms, periods, and geography, I create bodies that go beyond aesthetics, becoming a means of communication.
 
Throughout history, ancient goddesses like Artemis, Isis, Venus, Daphne, and Nike played significant roles in representing women. Their depictions emphasized qualities associated with motherhood, fertility, and healing. 
 
I also explore the connection between women and nature by incorporating animal symbolism. Reflecting on climate change and environmental issues, I challenge our perception of the "Anthropocene" and humanity's relationship with nature. By blurring the boundaries between species, my sculptures transcend divisions.
 
Through my work, I invite viewers to contemplate the interconnectedness between humans and the natural world. My sculptures serve as catalysts for dialogue and reflection, challenging notions of superiority and destructive behavior.