Ukrainian artists's impression of the festival in Turkey (Photos)
«How good the preparation for the festival is! All details are paid attention to: maximum attention to the participants, special uniforms, living conditions, interpreters, transportation, materials and instruments to conduct workshops. Ukrainian masters have got an honorable first place in the large exhibition hall of Caravanserai. Music, conditioners, colors and flavor of southern plants, Turkish cuisine, and most important — smiling kids and grateful eyes of their parents» — this is the first impression of the artist Galina Zgurska, that was addressed to her local newspaper in the Odessa region, while she was staying at the festival in the Turkish town of Büyükçekmece.
In her article, Ms. Galina continues: "But what most rushed into the eyes was the attitude to children. Here people understand that the most important thing is to teach a child, to give him/her knowledge, to cultivate skills. You can only wonder how clearly and consistently municipality and the committee run for the children. Here was the standalone program that included relaxation, nutrition, sports and workshops with foreign masters. Just think – to invite artists from all around the world to teach their children! Who can afford it? Only intelligent and loving persons ... ".
Ukrainian craftsmen held lessons with Turkish children almost every day. All workshops were free and affordable. Items created in the classroom were collected by the municipality in a large exhibition hall, where childrens’ masterpieces were presented as a result of what they’ve learned during the festival.
Not knowing the language, Ukrainian artists were looking for their own methods of communication with restless Turkish kids. One of such methods was invented by Anna Konstantinova: to shush the kids somehow, she began to sing them Ukrainian, Russian and Bulgarian songs. And surprisingly, it's more than worked — children began to sing their own melodies in response. It was a surprisingly interesting song dialogue between these two cultures and generations.
80 craftsmen and apprentices worked in the exhibition hall — Caravanserai. Representatives of various types of handicrafts, different nationalities exchanged their experience, the secrets of mastery and understood each other in different languages, sometimes simply using gestures, facial expressions, eyes and touches.
Jeanne Rossypchuk, ceramist:
"Almost none of the potters spoke English, but they were all on the same wavelength so they understood each other without words. Language is not necessary: material, clay, product and everything is all clear immediately. If someone had a problem, all people were giving recommendations. I have taught them to make ceramic mixed on milk. By the way, for them it was just a shock, they all came to ask that was. So, soon the traditional Turkish ceramics will be made on milk (Jeanne laughs). Milk gives life to ceramics and it starts breathing. For example, now I have gathered some berries, washed them and put in a bowl made of clay on milk. Excessive moisture was absorbed by the bowl and the berries were not spoiled on the second day. That bowl works as an absorbent, picks up excess moisture.
But most of all I liked the pottery that was in the center of Istanbul. I saw it when we went on a tour. There ceramics tradition is strong there. For instance, these huge painted plates: I was shocked by them they are fantastic. By the way, on the Turkish streets filled with souvenirs, there were no Chinese souvenirs, all items were of purely Turkish manufacturers. Their carpets, lots of ceramics, and all made the traditional way, no «China». And at that point I was simply ashamed for our cheap souvenirs in the center of Kyiv. The Turks are selling their carpets and ceramics for apox. 400-500 dollars and it is normally sold. And we have cheep Chinese magnets in the center of Kyiv ".
Maria Kravchuk also shares her impressions. She is a unique master; wherever she went or rode she was carrying a bunch of straw in her bag and wove it on occasion, attracting Turkish masters, who were always willing to learn new meditative activity.
«People liked it and they asked what these products were made of; when Maria said that it was saman and chavdar (çavdar — rye), they said that they did not have rye, only wheat growing. — And most people were truly amazed. That is, I do not know whether they have any craftsmen who weave straw. They just liked my wreaths, flowers.
I was so happy to visit the festival, I felt rested and my body was filled with a kind of joy. I liked their air, water, space, and people. At the beginning I went there with caution, because did not know these people and had never communicated with them ... And these kids! They saw me everywhere, and from a distance they shouted “Mary Abla” (abla — appeal to older women). I welcomed and hugged them.»
Meanwhile Alla Markaryan have found her colleagues in printing. She says Turkish craftsmen carve correct forms, deep at the base, while her husband Volodymyr is making experiments with the form yet.
"In order to beat accurately and for the basis to leave no track, we must press the ornament for two inches down, or more, as do Turkish masters. Volodya knew about it, but while experimenting, he cuts images about 5-7 mm. However, if the image is carved deeper, you can use this form for 300-500 years.
Turkish artists were interested in our paint for printing. They were looking for other, new colors. We use oil art paint, mixing it with linen oil. So they were interested in proportions. We promised to send them this information soon.
As to the organization of the festival, I have not seen anything equal. I have my favorite Jagiellonian Fair in Lublin (Poland), but now it is second favourite place after the Turkish one "
Larysa Telizhenko says this is the second time within her entire exhibition and fair activities, when the festival was organized at a such a high level. Each day the exhibition was visited by Istanbul guests, government and diplomatic delegations:
"All artists’ expenses were paid — it basically shows the attitude and respect both towards them and what they do. Actually it is a part of the business contact, which describes a serious position of the authorities in part of the art in general. The country lies behind the art and it supports it. This is something we do not have in Ukraine, because at each step we must strive for everything.
While communicating with artists I have revealed to myself in a new way such crafts as printing, embroidery. The atmosphere of the festival encouraged to search everywhere; I’ve seen creative people who are doing something, developing their skills, and this gave me strength to discover new talents in myself. "
This year Ukraine was represented by six masters, namely Alla Markaryan (Poltava, dolls; carvings and printings from Vladimir Markaryan), Maria Kravchuk (Volyn, weaving straw), Larysa Telizhenko (Cherkasy region, dolls, towels from Alexandra Telizhenko workshop) Jeanne Rossypchuk (Kyiv, ceramics) and two masters from the Odessa region — Anna Konstantinova (ceramic toy) and Galina Zgurska (souvenir dolls in national costumes), representing Gagauz, Moldovan and Ukrainian Art (Bessarabska culture).
The festival was attended by about 80 artists. Among them there were Turkish masters and artists representing the cultures of Hungary, Georgia, Moldova, Macedonia, Northern Cyprus, the Netherlands, the Republic of Adygea (Russia) and Ukraine.
The 14th International Festival of Culture and Arts was held from June 28 to July 6, 2013 in the town of Bodrum in the province of Istanbul.
Kateryna Kachur, Bogdan Hdal, «Rukotvory»
Special thanks to Galina Zgurska for the opportunity to use excerpts from her review article about the festival.
Last year's report about the festival can be found here.
Translated by Yevhenia Koval