A Dream… but not Yours: Contemporary Art from Turkey

Installation view of a gallery space. On a white wall, it says in big black letters
Feb 12 to May 16, 2010

The National Museum of Women in the Arts presents some of the leading women artists who claim Turkey as their homeland, but whose video art, photography, and painting declare their identity. A Dream…but not Yours: Contemporary Art from Turkey features work by eleven internationally established artists who pose the elemental question “why do so many women seek to conform and adhere to standards set by others, and continue to be judged by their roles as spouse, mother, and keeper of the house?”

Turkey has long been considered a nation with one foot in the East and the other in the West, whose art and design production has permeated and influenced European nations over the past four centuries. Until the 1980s the practice of art was perceived as a luxury in Turkey. The first International Istanbul Biennial in 1987 brought Turkey onto the international art scene and fostered the growth of the commercial art market. Although still limited to traditional arts education in school, art students in Turkey started learning more about contemporary art through newfound access to different forms of art production, meeting international artists, and attending artist residences around the world.

The artists in A Dream…but not Yours come from diverse backgrounds and work in a variety of media, but they all create art in response to outlined gender roles and propose new ways of looking at and imagining the dreams they are supposed to live and those they want to live. In the 21st century, Turkey’s contemporary artists ensconce themselves mentally in global art production, notwithstanding the physical location of their studios.

On a gray carpet floor, framed images of women in golden frames are placed in a large circle. The images of the women are vintage-looking. On the wall behind the circle, a large flower print is installed, that looks like a wallpaper, taking up the whole wall. The images in the golden frames look precious, and their placement in a circle creates a community of women.

Installation view of A Dream... but not Yours: Contemporary Art from Turkey exhibition; Photo by NMWA

Exhibition Sponsors

The presentation of A Dream…but not Yours: Contemporary Art from Turkey at the National Museum of Women in the Arts is generously sponsored by Akbank, DEIK/Turkish-American Business Council, and the Members of NMWA with in-kind support from the Embassy of Turkey.